19 HOURS IN OSLO
You choose where you put your energy. A LOT of things did not go my way on this trip, in fact most of the things I experienced did not go my way. I lost a lot of money on dumb shit due to weather and- I guess my own impulsiveness, but I have to remind myself that it hasn’t all been thattt bad? It’s pretty safe to say Norway has been nothing less than a unique learning experience filled with growth.
Originally, I planned on taking a couple days for myself in the Lofoten Islands after crunching in as many recipes as possible with the photographer at work. I planned to write recipes, plan out my ingredients, cook my dishes, plate them for 2 straight days… Then take a bus from Leknes to Svolvaer, go on an eagle safari, stay at a nice hotel…. wake up, take a ferry, then fly into Oslo from Bodo. I would plan to get into Oslo. Eat at this vegan restaurant called Funky Fresh Cafe, then get a tattoo by an artist that I had dug for. But the weather decided to turn my plans around.
Now this is why I always stress: do not go into any travels with expectations or plans. You’ll often find yourself disappointed.
So because of the storms my eagle safari was canceled… I could go into every negative small built up detail (which I think might benefit my built up emotions) but that is what my therapist is for. So let’s focus on the positives right? I got a cheap flight to Oslo from Leknes, and I slept at my bosses house (She was such a saint! Don’t know how I got so lucky). She drove me to the airport at 5 am and I was in Oslo by 9 am. I was able to check into my hotel early and for free. I managed to take a quick power nap. I stayed at Citybox in Oslo and holy fuck I got soooooo lucky. It was about 500 NOK, I got a room to myself in a clean ass-easy to navigate, centrally located hotel that was about a 5 min walk from Central Station in Oslo. If you find yourself in Oslo for about 24 hours and don’t want to throw down on a hotel… but want something a little nicer than a hostel. Something that’s clean, comfy, and efficient: I can’t recommend Citybox enough!
After my cat nap, I walked to the cafe I was dying to try and found it was closed for renovation. So as I disappointedly, huffed & puffed on a bench outside as I Happy Cow-D my next option. I found two restaurants located in the same centre. So, I made my way to the “Oslo Street Food” centre. Which is a really great attraction if you’re looking for either some food/ hip ambiance/ alcohol(expensive) during the day, or food/ alcohol/ music/ lights/ and people during the night. Vegan options are in numbers, but to be completely honest nothing impressive to a privileged bitch like me. I am also biased because well… I am a plant-based chef. No but all jokes aside, it’s very nice to have two vegan booths in a centre like that. It’s very… trendy.
I sat by myself in a corner with: a beer, mushroom dumplings, and bao buns from a Vegan Asian inspired booth called Silk Road. I wrote a food critique down in my journal and shared my opinions with one of the workers after I demolished both of my dishes. The best thing about the two things I ordered were the buns and the dumpling wrappers but I was disappointed to find out that they don’t even make them themselves. They’re shipped in and frozen.
After I ate I walked towards my tattoo shop, for I HAD BOOKED A TATTOO APPOINTMENT through instagram! I searched something like #tattooartistinNorway or #tattooNorway and came across the perfect artist who would manage to put a piece that fit perfectly between the cracks of my sleeve. His name was Alejo and he tattoos at Dimension Ink in Oslo. GREAT GUY. So easy to talk to, really down to earth, cultured, skilled, and educated. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to get tattooed but we sat down and after talking for about an hour, we even actually came up with an idea. We decided on an eyeball in a flower (which is Ironic because I feel like my pineal gland was involuntarily opened on my travels) on the back of my bicep brachii (back of my arm).
After we finished up, Alejo recommended a couple bars, venues, and restaurants as we walked back to my hotel so I could gift him some seaweed. After talking about seaweed we were both on our way.
Alejo had recommended a pizza joint called Jungel Pizza about 1.5 miles away from the centre where a man
called (Nick, Nathan, John…) makes his own vegan mozzarella. & That it was one of the best he had ever tried. So after Alejo and I had said our goodbyes (until weeeee meetttt agaaiinnnnn) I decided to walk from Oslo S station to Jungel Pizza to judge the cheese for myself.
So once again… I sat alone with my diary, but this time was faced with a whole ass steaming vegan pizza. Now my intentions WERE NOT to demolish a smollll pizza. I wanted to snack on a couple slices and head back to home base where I could finish my pizza late night. But the flavors, dough, and texture were tooo good. Each bite had me dreaming for another. Nathan, Nick or John, shared some of his beer with me as we talked about seaweed, the Lofoten Islands, and his slow rise dough. I could have talked to him forever but he had to jet. So once again I was alone in a booth (alongside a new tattoo) with my stimulated tastebuds. After daydreaming about what his mozzarella would have tasted like, I planned out my next move.
A 1.5 mile walk back to the centre in the cold with a full belly and Patsy Cline in my ear… I arrived ready to attacking my itinerary. A drink at a bar, another drink/ vegan meal from a burger joint in the Street Food Centre, finished off with a couple beers and some arcade games at a 3 story bar had me prepared for a journey back to the states. I was supposed to go to a death metal concert but after all of my disappointments I was really just trying to eat my emotions and sit in solitude. So. That. IS. Just. What. I. Did.
I sat with a Campfire Old Fashion and a spicy hummus burger on a bench by side like a trillion people with, guess…. my diary. And after my first bite/sip, I instantly regretted kicking the decadent rosemary pesto out of my tongue. My beyond patty was under cooked, my hummus was actually just roasted and blended red bell pepper, and my old fashion tasted like a glass of fireball with two dried limes and some boujee looking cherries. The only reason I got it was to try some Norwegian vegan cheese that was made by a company up north. The cheese was excellent.
You could tell there was a lot of gluten in it, but I enjoyed the way it cooled with the “hummus”. Maybe some nice crispy potato wedges with the hummus and cheese on top could have saved this lil experience, but all in all Not. Worth. Ruining. My. Pizza.
With about 7 hours until I would have to leave for the airport to return to the states, I figured staying up all night to sleep on my flight was the name of the game. So I went to an arcade bar (TILT) bought a pilsner and scoped out my arena. I people watched for 30 minutes before I touched my first game. The people in Norway are breathtaking. I couldn’t figure out how people flirted or who thought who was attractive because everyone was perfectly sculpted and proportionate. After flipping through my idea of my image in my head and reflecting one all of the people I have been and which version of myself would have thrived in Norway the best, I chugged the rest of my beer, bought another and got some tokens. Ready to slay some Pac-Man and Terminator. Hours past after the same beer, reflection, people watching, and games cycle resurfaced a couple times, I was ready to walk back to my hotel. I allowed myself to get lost. Staring at all the drunk people circulating through their same routine. I went down ally ways and streets observing and collecting thoughts. Bought a couple falafels, and ventured home. After packing and setting up for my journey home I collected about 45 minutes of sleep and then was on my way.
I am not even going to get into my TERRIBLE experience on my journey back home. But I managed to buy three vegan sandwiches and some snacks for my flight. Which was COMPLETELY crucial for me. Eleven hours of a baby slapping my headrest, four glasses of white wine, a sleeping pill, three sandwiches, two movies, four pisses, and two shits later… I landed at LAX. Crawling through customs and sprinting through the baggage claim, I finally made it outside. Greeted by pollution and angry drivers, I finally made it back to my greasy hometown.
Los Angeles, how I’ve
hated you missed you.
Traveling is such a humbling experience. You go back to your bubble, share your stories, and then everyone commends you while you simultaneously step up their opinionated “cool” ladder schemes… but the people you meet along the way of your travels fuel a fire and serve as an aggressive reminder that you are NOT SHIT. I travel to ground myself and I thrive outside of my comfort zone. For some odd reason my communication skills on this trip were slightly non existent. My opinions and perspective on life/interests were not translating very well. I’m not sure if it was the lack of sunlight, my diet, my identity, my weird sleeping schedule, or my lack of protein… but as I grow I start to really define my interests in things and people. & Frankly, I am really enjoying the journey.
Cheers to the women I am & the women I am becoming.
The world is my oyster.