Day 9: Travel day back to the US of A #scandinavia

Sadly, I couldn’t sleep because I am really looking forward to coming home. Looking at my alarm clock, I realize I need to be getting ready in 30 minutes to catch the flypassarna bus from central station to Arlanda airport. That’s a 40 minute adventure. Hopefully all goes well and smooth from here. I don’t think I can take anymore ups and downs (this entire trip has been a roller coaster: changed/delayed flights, missed opera, more delayed flights, running to make a connection, lost baggage, etc). So, looking forward to starting the journey home!


Overall thoughts:
– Travel to Oslo and Stockholm during the Christmas season can be difficult bc a lot of the museums, shops, and restaurants will be closed. They take their Christmas and New Years very seriously and are often celebrating the holidays with family.  I felt that businesses were open a bit more in Copenhagen, Denmark — so maybe do the Christmas holidays here (it’s a fantastic city!).
– Now knowing this, I would travel to Oslo and Stockholm in the summer…not the winter.
– I would keep Oslo at a 2 day stay (max). Decrease Kirkenes to a full day stay or day and a half.  Seeing the northern lights is apparently hit or miss.  Increase Stockholm stay to at least 3 days (this city was incredible!).
– if you’re a foodie, you will love Stockholm!!


Day 2: Oslo, Norway #oslo #norway #opera

Chicago to Frankfurt (8hours).

An 8 hour layover in Frankfurt!  What does one do?  Well, Google knows all these days:

  • How to enjoy an 8 hour layover in Frankfurt
  • Explore Frankfurt Airport on a layover
  • Walk across the Alte Brucke going to Sachsenhausen and visit the Deutsche Ordenskirche (Teutonic Order of Knights Church) located next to the Ikon Museum. Built in 1309 and suffering very little damage in the war, this church has some beautiful frescos in its baptism chapel dating from the early 1400’s, as well as some wonderful old altars along the walls. Interesting wall friezes of the life of St. Elizabeth and the story of St.George slaying the dragon.
  • Go view the massive scale model of Frankfurt located in the atrium of the Planungsdezernat Amt. This is in the same building as the Judengasse Museum located on Kurt Schumacher Str. Great idea to orient yourself where everything is in the city. Open weekdays, 9-5
  • View the Joerge Ratgeb frescos in the Karmeliter Cloister / City Archives, which are open weekdays from 08:30-17:00, a big plus, is that they are free. Located on Bethmann strasse, right around the corner from the Römer.
  • Ride to the top of the Main Tower, open until 19:00 on weekdays. Fabulous view day or night!
  • Visit the Palmengarten, which is open weekdays from 09:00-16:00 Feb.and from 09:00-18:00 Oct.
  • The Frankfurt Zoo is open 7 days a week.
  • You can visit the Goethe House after 14:00 on Mondays.
  • Senckenberg Natural History Museum – Great dinosaurs, fascinating for the kids, but adults will enjoy it too.
  • The Geld Museum (Money Museum) is open on Mondays from 10:00-17:00 and it’s free.
  • Go swimming at Rebstock Bad or one of the other great pools in Frankfurt, like Panorama Bad, or the Taunus Therme at the Nordwest Zentrum Mall.
  • Stroll through the Klein Markt Halle and see what kind of samples are available for tasting and get some great fruit and veggie photos.
  • The Kaiserdom, Liebfrauen Church and the Alte Nikolai are always open
  • Visit the neighborhood of Hoechst, which has a multitude of lovely half-timbered houses as well as the Bolangaro Palace, Hoechste Schloss and the Justinus Church – built in 850
  • Window shop around all the galleries that fill the neighborhood around the Kaiserdom.
  • Explore the neighborhoods of Bornheim, Bockenheim, Sachsenhausen, Nordend, and Westend. You will be amazed and pleasantly surprised at all the old architecture that is here in Frankfurt, a city that according to many guide books “was completely destroyed”. Streets to look for – Berger Strasse, Schweizer Strasse, Oeder Weg, Leipziger Strasse
  • Walk through the I.G.Farben building, which is part of the University campus. Amazing 1930’s architecture & once the biggest building in Europe, this was headquarters for the American Military after the war. Eisenhower had his office here. Ride the Pater Noster for a fun and unusual experience.
  • Visit the Grueneburg Park next door to the I.G. Farben building and the Palmengarten. Nestled in the trees is a lovely Greek Orthodox church which almost looks like a jewel sitting there. Nearby is the Korean Pavilion.

There’s a massive snow storm going on in Frankfurt right now – so I nixed the plans on going into the city.  However, I did find an airport shower where they offered hotel, soap, and shampoo.  That was all I needed to renew.  Now, I just need a nap followed by a light meal with some wine.

18:00p — Gonna miss the Barber of Seville Opera

9:45A 19:15p arrival to OSL

Now what? Oslo Pass

Activities in Oslo City Centre today

Top 12 Things to do in Oslo

18:00 Oslo opera: Barber of Seville in ItalianTripAdvisor Opera Reviews

Day 1: Brief Scandinavian Tour #Oslo #norway #kirkenes #stockholm #sweden #travel #delays

Today (Friday, Dec 26), I’m postcall and heading out to Oslo, Norway!  Holiday days off are hard to come by in my field.  Usually, I try to schedule a Christmas/NYE holiday getaway to someplace cold where there’s a great Christmas spirit (Sorry San Diego, sometimes you’re just too warm and perfect all the time!).  I definitely want to catch the northern lights on this getaway.  First up, a ridiculously long flight that will get me into Oslo, Norway at 9:45a 7:00pm Saturday.  I believe they’re 9 hours ahead of west coast time with only 6 hours of daylight!

9:00A West coast time → 9:45A 7:00p OSL

1st roadblock of the trip: My flight from SAN to LAX was delayed an hour due to weather.  That’s a real stinker because that delay was enough to make me miss my second leg from LAX to EWR… and EWR to OSL.  Now, I go to Chicago…then Frankfurt (why the 8 hour layover?? why???)…then Oslo… but about 10 hours later and missing the opera I booked.  With all my travels, this is the first speed bump I have encountered.  I have to say it’s frustrating…however, by the numbers, I was long overdue for this type of mayhem.  Rolling with the punches…(but no one said I had to be happy about it!)…especially since I’m a tired (postcall), hungry, hormonal gal nonetheless. I could use some good karma today.

11:00a UA1563 SAN –> Chicago O’hare 17:10

18:00p UA907 Chicago –> Frankfurt 9:35a

17:15p UA9144 Frankfurt –> Oslo 19:15p

This map nicely displays the layout of my trip.  First I fly to Oslo, Norway for a couple of days.  Then, it’s off to Kirkenes, Norway (the Arctic Circle and a great place to see the norther lights).  I didn’t realize how close Kirkenes is to Russia!  The last leg is to Stockholm, Sweden for a couple of days.

Day 3: Oslo, Norway

Oslo Activities

Woke up around 9:30a… Had a really delicious breakfast spread at the hotel (who does caviar in a tube for breakfast? Sophistication!). Took the 30 bus from the central station to the Maritime and Fram museums. Both are excellent in content and interaction. Highlights include engines, remote controlled boats, bean bag chairs, and helicopter panoramic video at the Maritime museum. The Fram museum basically documented the exploration of Antarctica. After 4 hours of museums (decided to skip Kon-tiki museum and Viking museum), took the 30 bus to the sculpture garden. It was beautiful, especially in the snow.

Amazon Prime Video: Passport to Norway

Vigelund Sculpture Park

Oslo Vinter Park

After the park, took the 30 bus back to Oslo central station and grabbed a bite to eat at Pepe’s pizza. Took a forever long walks round downtown Oslo and there are minimal restaurants. This is a shock to me being that this is the capital city. However, after a longer than average wait for the pizza… The wine and thin crust melted my troubles and hangry-ness away.

Now, back to the hotel for some early zzzzzz’s and an early morning departure to Kirkenes, Norway. #79 of 100 best restaurants (closed until jan 5) 😦