Wanna hear the story of how an Outdoor Research Transcendent Sweater, a pair of Vibram Fivefingers CVT Hemps, and a pair of Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Gloves literally saved my skin in Norway? Good. I’d love to tell the tale.
I’ve always known I had Norwegian heritage. So when I found out there was a direct ticket from Oslo to Norway for $170, I gladly booked it and then another to Oslo to fly then home from Europe a few weeks before Christmas. I’d never been to Oslo, so when our plane touched down on the frozen Norwegian ground, I was beside myself with the adventure of the new experience.
But I was also beside myself with the cold. 20-degrees cold.
I hadn’t been planning on spending time that far north in Europe, but luckily the Transcendent Sweater and Power Stretch Gloves were the critical warmth I needed. The gloves aren't thick, but they have excellent dexterity and they gave me enough warmth to be comfortable. As for the sweater (which is actually a jacket), it warmed my core just right. Even though I wasn’t ready for the cold, that clothing was. And it freed me up for the magic.
From that moment, that’s precisely what it was—as if the magical land from Frozen were real, unfolding around me. The snow landed consistently like layers of blankets slowly floating to the ground. Such was the white cover all over. Christmas decorations adorned buildings, creating streets lit up at night by the holiday cheer, highlighted by the white blanket everywhere.
Christmas music, meanwhile, danced out of speakers all over the city.
Music was everywhere, including from the gorgeous concert halls. Life in musical form. While people moved about the beautiful landscape that was, while covered in white, still beautifully green. The plants with remaining leaves looking regal in the shimmering light. Not to mention the luminant greenhouses with plants from all over the world. Everything beautiful, everything a part of a larger symphony of the place.
When I was looking for a restaurant to have dinner, I followed the music into a 150-year old bazar surrounding a 300-year old cathedral downtown. As I came to rest in the warm, dark leather booth, I realized that this country was particularly special to me. There was something I couldn’t put my finger on, but I loved it so very dearly.
On the contrary, there was something I could put my finger on, the delightful Oslo food. Soups, fish, hot chocolate, and one of my personal favorites, croissants with strawberry jam. They obviously didn’t event the croissant in Norway, but they hold their strawberries in high regard. They are so good. And their jams remade the croissant for me—amazing; better even than chocolate and almond.
But besides their local fare, there are many healthy restaurants that have sprung up in the old city, including some of my favorites Nordvegan, The Green Kitchen, Peloton, and Heimatt Løkka. These helped make it easy to eat healthy while abroad.
The food was not the only thing that I found delicious there, the people are as well. Not in an inappropriate way, but I simply, deeply enjoyed them. I’ve heard people say Norwegians can be cold of demeanor, but I didn’t really notice that. I found them to be appropriately warm to outsiders. They actually helped make me feel like I was home.
The only thing that I didn't have like I did at home was a good place to workout. Usually I do so in parks and running on the streets, which were covered in ice and snow most of the time I was there. But then I remembered that I packed my CVT Hemps. They performed the job admirably. My feet were warm enough even though I had to run through the snow at times. And the grip on them was fantastic when the road got slick.
Returning from my run, it had been solidified: Norway indeed had everything I needed to feel at home. And while I could continue telling you more about this incredible 1,000-year-old city, I'll be honest with you, I’d like to keep he rest to myself. Plus, I’d like you to go see for yourself.