Norway is a great country for walking, whether it’s for an hour, a day or a week. And you don’t have to go far from the big towns to find a delightful route of any length. Above Oslo for instance, you have Nordmarka – a vast, forested terrain with a huge number of walking trails in the summer and cross country ski trails in the winter.
Buy a good map, pack your rucksack and take the T-bane up past Holmenkollen Ski Jump to Frognerseteren (perhaps stopping on the way to admire the jumpers’ daring). Then set off in your chosen direction. We decided to make a three day trip of it, staying at Kikutstua (www.kikutstua.no) for two nights' half board with lunch pack. DNT (www.turistforeningen.no) has accommodation up there too.
In summer enjoy the fruits of the forest – wild strawberries in late June or bilberries in July. In autumn enjoy the wild fungus - if you dare. And if the weather is hot, as it is surprisingly often in the Scandinavian summer, take frequent dips in the many lakes you pass en route. We must have swum seven or eight times on our short trip, and we scarcely saw a soul. That’s why we love the Nordic countries.
The setting for the Norwegian Wood rock festival in Oslo, Norway is absolutely perfect for live music. It takes place in a natural amphitheatre in parkland in Frognerbadet ("the Frogner Baths"). Only 8000 tickets are sold for each day of the festival, and thanks to the grassy slopes of the amphitheatre, every person has a tremendous view of the stage. Even up the back you feel like you're at an intimate show. The lineup is often conservative - this year it's Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and The Eagles, with the lone rebellious figure of Patti Smith. Past highlights have included Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, the Foo Fighters and Iggy Pop. Frognerbadet is also right next to the astounding Vigeland's park - 80 acres of amazing sculpture by Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland.
Was here last Friday with some friends and was eating the King prawns and topped it off with some paela and a nice bottle of wine.
To our surprise, at around 11pm in the evening the place went all salsa. The local salsa club came here and danced their socks off. Quite an experience.
Truly recommend it.
Take the bus out to Frognerseteren where you'll find marked trails leading to Tryvannstua refuge, Ullevalseter refuge, and then on to Sognsvann (about 18km in all). Dark pine forests alternate with trembling delicate silver birch; there are secret ponds in the forest, lakes, marshes full of lurid green moss, where your boots squelch as you tread; tracks that scramble over pine roots and rock, and lakeside trails. The major trails are well marked, though you take minor paths at your peril - I walked an extra 3 or 4 kilometres in a circle at one point! From Sognsvann, you can take the railway back to the centre of town in just 15 minutes.
Frogneseteren station, reached by bus (train line under repair) from Majorstuen.
Google map: tinyurl.com/33chyvb
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