Attention! I have a news alert pulled from the file of ‘No Sh!t, Sherlock’.
Scandinavia is cold.
Shocking, no? And it’s not just in the winter, but in the spring, and I suspect, summer too. However, there is hope and her name is Sweden- she brings sunshine and 60F (15C) temperatures.
With my northern heritage, you would think I would have a tougher constitution when it comes to dealing with cold weather. You would also think as an adult, I could separate my surroundings from how I feel about a city. Nope, turns out both of these things radically impact how I feel about a place.
For example, I’m in love with Stockholm. Why? Because I adore the Sodermalm studio where we are staying, and its sunny, relaxed open space seems to mirror the city, the people and my attitude. But do I really love it or am I being swayed by the warm temps and cute apartment? Would I love it as much if it was 45F (7C) and we were staying in a basement?
I’m wondering out loud because while I enjoyed Oslo, my overall feeling for the city was slightly muted due to the cold temperatures and less-than-ideal accommodation.
We decided to rent a room vs. an apartment as it was half the price of what we paid in Copenhagen, and since it was only for three days, it felt relatively low risk. Plus, before the trip started, we agreed to push outside our comfort zone by trying different types of accommodation, such as rented rooms, hostels, housesits and voluntourism.
While our host and the apartment were both very nice, the shared living spaces (especially the bathroom) proved fairly uncomfortable for both Perry and I. *Top Tip* when using the bathroom with a stranger in the next room, please, no audible groaning. I don’t care what you ate last night.
As a result of our discomfort, we left the apartment first thing in the morning and didn’t return until after dinner, spending lots of money eating every meal out and generally running ourselves ragged.
I read once that life begins at the end of your comfort zone and if that is the case, consider me born again after Oslo.
Objectively, I should love Oslo- it’s a beautiful city- modern, vibrant and clean. Also, I’ve got the whole Norwegian heritage thing going on and when I saw lefse in the store, do you think I knew what to do with it? You betcha! I had butter & sugar lefse rolls to drink with my coffee on the train ride to Stockholm. I’m made for Norway!
I want a do-over. In July. Mom, you game?
The lesson learned is that while having our own apartment appears more expensive, we spend less money on food (and less overall) by buying groceries. And I don’t like sharing a bathroom with random Norwegian dudes. Sue me.
It happened in Copenhagen, too. We stayed in a cute apartment in the cool-hip-artsy-edgy area near the city center, and this attitude benefitted other parts of the city whether they deserved it or not. Objectively, Christiania is too dirty hippie to be hip and Orestad is too suburban mainstream to be edgy, yet I somehow glossed over this in my mental post-visit recap of Copenhagen = cool-hip-artsy-edgy. But true to the temperature linkage, the chilly winds also gave the city a slightly impersonal and cold feeling.
I hope I’m not going to be this literal for the entire trip.
The good news with all this cold weather is that it provides the perfect excuse to have hot chocolate.
Shout out to the friendly Danish folks at DFDS Ferries- our overnight cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo was great fun! Mom, tell Dad I ate the herring on the smorgasbord and I actually liked it.
Only one minor mishap so far- I hurt my ankle after missing a step off the bike lane in Copenhagen (the sidewalk, bike lane and traffic lanes are all on slightly different elevations) and it still isn’t back to normal. Probably because we are averaging nearly 10 miles of walking per day (the only way I can eat all this bread) and I’m too obsessed with my daily mileage to rest it.
Next blog post: Copenhagen Redux