When my oldest daughter (now 10) was an infant, I joined a local Moms group to find fellow women who could relate to the throes of new-motherhood. We would meet weekly for play dates and dinners to discuss nursing, baby food and pediatricians, among many other things. I was working part-time and craved this momma time with women in similar life phases. Now, more than 10-years later some of them remain my closest forever friends. One of them, Darcey, shares my wanderlust. She and her husband and two kids move every couple of years through his work and my family makes it a point to try and visit them wherever they are. These days, when we’re together, we’ve shifted our conversations a bit to talking about favorite wines and recipes, what our kids are reading or where we’d like to travel next.
Currently, Darcey and her family are in Warsaw, Poland (we are planning a trip to visit them at Christmas) and I asked Darcey to share a recent trip with her family with us. Earlier this year, they took a family trip to Oslo, Norway. Scandinavia is on my bucket list but until I get over there – this incredible adventure in Norway from the perspective of a good friend will have to suffice! Take it away Darcey!
I am a mom currently staying at home with the kids and dog while we live in Warsaw, Poland. My kids are Margot, 10 and Malcolm, 8. Warsaw is a great jumping off spot for traveling around Europe. My husband had to work for a few days in Oslo, which happened to be during the kids’ fall break. He traveled up first and then we joined him once he was free from work. We were in Oslo for 5 days and 4 nights.
We are lucky to live in a place with relatively cheap flights to Oslo and we had wanted to explore some of Scandanavia – so the timing was perfect. We flew into Oslo’s budget airport (Torp) and then took the train into the city. It takes about 2 hours by train but the countryside is beautiful (the station is tiny and amidst fields) and the train is futuristic – quiet cars, smooth riding, and sleek screens. On our return we went to the main Oslo Airport also by train. Overall, the trip was super easy, nice, clean and they take credit cards everywhere.
We were very spontaneous in our planning. We looked at the list of what there was to do and picked the things that were most appealing to each of us. We like to wander cities but this time we took advantage of the Oslo Pass which includes admission to lots of museums as well as public transportation in the city. With the pass, we could pop into a museum just to see Munch’s The Scream, for example, and then head out and not feel guilty about the admission price. It includes a 1- 3 day membership for all the local museums. The museums and entry spots in Oslo were really unique too.
With our Oslo pass, we visited ancient Viking ships at the Fram Museum, the Holmenkollbakken ski jump, the Kon-Tiki, Munch’s The Scream, the Fram Polar Ice Ship, The Folk Museum and the Norwegian pop music museum, Popsenteret – admittedly Aha! was all I knew!
After our trip when we were talking about what we liked most, no one could decide! It was all so unique. We each had something we really liked the best but there are other parts that we loved too. I loved the Nobel Museum which had interactive exhibits for adults and kids. My son loved the Fram museum which has the actual Arctic exploring ship that kids can climb on and also learn about Arctic exploring. My daughter loved the Folk museum which included old churches, Sami culture and even 1950s gas stations. My husband loved the Rathskeller underground beer hall with a giant fireplace (no food but great beer options!) – clearly there was something for everyone!
The downside of Oslo is the high cost of food, no doubt. For example, my husband got a bagel sandwich, chips and a drink one day for $28. But if you are careful and plan a bit, you can economize. We stayed at a Scandic Hotel- with a micro room but we all fit. The kids had a bunk bed and they served a full buffet breakfast with cereals, yogurts, smoked salmon, delicious breads and more. We would eat a large breakfast at the hotel and then a snack throughout the day followed by a larger dinner.
My best recommendation with kids in Oslo is get The Oslo Pass. It covers admission to most of the museums (all that I’ve mentioned and more!) and other places in the city as well as public transportation. Also, most Norwegians speak English which is helpful too. They usually have allergy listings on food and menus at the restaurants making it family friendly if you or your kids have those concerns. Other recommendations in Oslo are to hike up to the top of the Opera House in the harbor for incredible views, enjoy the many walkable streets that are car-free. In fact, they are aiming to ban cars from the downtown by 2019. That would be really interesting if it happens! We are hoping to go back soon. We’ve heard incredible things about the Norwegian Constitution Day on May 17th and perhaps we’ll make it there someday for that.
If and when we go back, we will try to add on visiting the Fjords and we would go to the modern art museum. We would also plan our dining options a bit better.
Finally, our philosophy on travel with kids is we just go! Our kids have learned over time that travel is fun and easy. They are at great ages and make interesting observations. We have learned recently that for all of us we like to have varied vacations – sometimes tours, sometimes wander, sometimes nature, sometimes cities and museums.
Thanks Darcey! Oslo sounds magical – I can’t wait to get there with my kids some day!
P.S. – Have you taken a trip with your kids that you’d like to share? Are you interested in sharing your experience with us? Let me know! We love to be inspired to travel and take new adventures and share others adventures too! Also, please share this with friends and family and encourage them to reach out!