Thursday, September 3, 2015

Oslo: The Finale

     For the final stop of my trip I spent one day in Oslo, Norway. Unfortunately I couldn't stay longer, so I did not have as much time to explore as I did in other cities. Rather than being discouraged, I tried to use the short time frame as motivation to accomplish as much as possible. Similar to how it was in all my other locations, the first stop after check in was food. I found lots of great options, but decided to settle on a small fish market and eatery named Fiskeriet. Nordic cuisine is nearly entirely based on their abundance of fish, so I thought it was necessary to see their version of. I chose to order the fish and chips, and the Taste of Norway. The fish and chips was self explanatory, but differed from the British version as it was paired with creamy dill dipping sauce. The Taste of Norway was a fish platter, served with local grain breads, that consisted of three different smoked fishes. Both were great, but I especially enjoyed the meaty fish and delicious batter inside the fish and chips. After my quick meal, it was off to explore the city. 
     Norway is known for few things internationally, but one of the things that is most renowned is its creation and harboring of the Black Metal music scene. Black metal can be considered the "heaviest" of all rock music, due to its persona and lyrics. The music itself is unrecognized by popular culture, however its mark on history is unforgotten. In the early 1990's when the genre came about, many extremists took the anti-religious lyrics to the next level and began burning churches across Scandinavia. This destroyed or damaged many historic churches, causing a huge concern worldwide. Since, many responsible have been been jailed or killed, so much of the tension has dissipated. I'm not a fan of this music myself, however I find the history and conflict fascinating. One band in particular, Mayhem, seem to stick out as the outright leaders. In the early 90's heyday, they were highly revered and drove Black Metal forward. One band member, Euronymous, owned a record store in Oslo named Helvete. After Euronymous' murder, Helvete was closed permanently. However, a few years later a fan and supporter opened Neseblod Records in the same location. I thought there wasn't a better place to observe in the culture, so I made my way to the side of town it was located. Once inside, I began looking at the mountains of records and merchandise available. I didn't know much of the music, so the t-shirts interested me more than the vinyl. I searched tirelessly through the racks, hoping for a standout gem. The whole place seemed to have a stigma, so I didn't bother the disinterested shop employee until I had a question. In the most attractive rack, I found a few very interesting Mayhem shirts. I asked the clerk the price, as none was listed on any. He lightly began joking they were pretty expensive, as they were originals. Of course I managed to fixate on the most expensive area of the store, but regardless I had him call to ask the price. Fortunately, our ideas of expensive for a t-shirt didn't match up, so the beloved black long sleeve was mine. Leaving happily, I next decided it was time to see the other allure of Oslo, the breathtaking nature. 
     I headed out for the mountains, taking a roughly thirty minute train to the top. I didn't really know where I was headed, so I just began wandering along whatever path looked most appealing. Eventually, after a nice dose of nature, I randomly found myself at the Winter Olympic ski slope. Its scale was absolutely massive, so I stopped to marvel for a few. I was high up, but at the bottom I noticed a small structure that looked like a trampoline. I thought it was too random not to jump on, so I made my way down the massive staircase to the bottom. Out of breath, I arrived at the trampoline and hopped on in. I bounced around for a few minutes, and even managed to front flip, something I was scared to do when I was younger. Once I defeated childhood, I noticed an abundance of rain clouds in the sky and thought it was a good time to leave. I made my way out of the forest after some time, and even stumbled upon one of the burned churches in the process. By this time it was a Friday and the sun was setting, so I thought it fit to check out some of the nightlife. I found where the majority of bars and such were, then proceeded to find a restaurant nearby for a pit stop first. I decided on a tapas restaurant, which was an odd choice but had good reviews. I ordered an array of small plates, none of which were necessarily that great. Either way at least I was full, so it was on to the next place. I walked up and down a few streets peeping in bars, all of which weren't lively in the slightest. I wasn't looking for a rave or anything, but some kind of a pulse seemed necessary for my last night. As a personal last resort, I decided on a beer tavern. Beer is never my drink of choice, however with my close proximity to the beer capitals it seemed like a better option than usual. Once I arrived, I was glad I came. The bar itself was underground, and was a small cavern with a brewery attached. They offered house brews, as well as other beers from around Europe. I spoke with the waitress before ordering due to my novice, and she explained an interesting type of beer called Lambic. The Lambic she suggested for me was brewed with cherries, so I was immediately down. I was happy to find at first sip it was delicious, and almost something so different it was not beer at all. I enjoyed two bottles, trying the one brewed with black currant next, while relaxing in the pleasant underground setting. After I was finished, it seemed as if Oslo might not have much more to offer, so I decided to go back to the hotel and get some rest before my early flight. Norway proved to be a peaceful ending to what was one of the most enjoyable and interesting trips of my life. 

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