“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast”. Those are the words of John Gunther, and he certainly struck a weekend nerve. If your hotel doesn’t offer breakfast, or that Airbnb-kitchen doesn’t look too appealing, why not head over to Liebling at Grünerløkka to kick-start your day?
Sadly, for all you John Gunther-followers out there, Oslo is neither a breakfast nor a brunch-sort of town. Libeling, thanks heavens, is a sweet exception to the rule. Here they offer Berlin-inspired plates, generously filled with bread, cheeses and cuts, as well as cereal and yoghurt. But if your Saturday had you sipping one too many cocktails, twerking one too many Miley Cyrus’ – you might just want to order a Harry Klein. In homage to Derrick, the Harry Klein dishes up a perfect little hangover cure; a paracetamol, a cup of black coffee with free refill, a glass of water and four tunes on the jukebox.
Grünerløkka used to be an old working-class neighbourhood, now perfectly gentrified. In other words, there is no shortage of things to explore once you’ve downed that early morning fuel. You can take a stroll along the river, Akerselva, or head down to Birkelunden in search for vintage treasures at the weekly second-hand market – a true Grünerløkka institution.
After scouting the various stalls, smelling the dew of old mothballs, cashing out for an authentic Catherine Holm louts bowl, perhaps it’s time for something more contemporary?
Grünerløkka, or Løkka to locals, is crowded with small boutiques, some of which stay open a few precious hours on Sunday afternoons. Some even illegally so, as shops are not allowed to open unless they are of a certain size or cater to tourists, and tourists alone. But why not leisurely stroll down the streets of Thorvald Meyers Gate and Markveien in order to be pleasantly surprised? You can always people-watch for inspiration, or stop by the infamous Tim Wendelboe for the best areopress of your trip. Or life.
The newly opened Lush Dive is a beautifully inspiring stationary store, a small gem not to be missed by any visiting paper lover. In this day in age, people who dare to dive head first into paper deserve your applause.
Other noteworthy shops in the area are Babel, stocking women’s apparel from international designers like Ganni and Isabel Marant, and Dapper – where hipsters rejoice to find all their grooming needs catered to.
Once you have killed your crave for shopping, or rather maximised that credit card, you might just find your tummy rumbling once more.
Jump on a tram to Frogner, have a quick stroll around the Vigelandspark, while gazing in amazement at the 200+ sculptures of naked men and women that have made this park so famous. The sculptures were all crafted by Gustav Vigeland back in 1939-ish, and they might even make you change your mind on the timid nature of Norwegian people and society.
Now, new reflections in hand, find your way to Frognerveien 33, pop into the backyard and treat yourself to an organic Sunday buffet at Oslo’s cosiest café slash restaurant. The interiors are divine, but the bread is particularly spectacular – so make sure you buy a loaf to take home.
Still hungry? Hungry for culture perhaps? It’s time for a visit to the Astrup Fearnly Museum of Modern Art located down by the Oslo Fjord, at Tjuvholmen to be more precise. Designed by no other than Renzo Piano, the museum is an architectural masterpiece in its own right. Once inside you’ll find one of Norway’s most extensive private collections displaying works by the likes of Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.
Surrounding the museum is a small sculpture park and an even smaller beach – perfect for leisurely summer days. You’ll also be able to spot the islands of the Oslo Fjord, which are all just a short ferry-ride away.
After having had a look at the sculptures, keep walking along the waterfront until you reach Oslo’s iconic Opera House. In wintertime, at this time of day, you should be able to watch the early sunset from the roof, a park in its own right.
The building was designed by world-renowned architects at Snøhetta, and although it created some controversy upon its 2008 completion, once completed – it was fully adopted by locals and visitors alike, creating a brand new social, urban space that is about so much more than the world-class performances staged inside.
Tiered after that long walk? You should head back to your hotel or Airbnb for a breather, before getting excited, and rightfully so, for your upcoming meal at Pjoltergeist.
The small basement restaurant can be difficult to find, but once there – you might never want to leave. If a table is waiting with your name on it, you’ll need to order the full menu, also known as the zuper pakki, but it’s also possible to just show up, take a seat at the bar and order à la carte.
Defining Pjoltergeist can be difficult, but those who try usually end up with something along the lines of “Icelandic inspired Korean”.
You should also take notice of the tableware, which is half the fun. Being all Moomin, it speaks straight to the heart of your inner child. For the moment, however, and until Christmas time, Moomin has gone on a much-deserved vacation. But not to worry, Anette Krogstad, a local ceramics maker, has teamed up with Pjoltergeist to serve you just right while Moomin rests up on a beach in the Bahamas somewhere.
Although the menu changes on a regular basis, a familiar highlight is the tatoyaki; sweet, yet savoury Japanese snacks topped with bonito flakes. Yum. And to go with? An enticing collection of all natural wines. Orange, anyone?
Once filled up on tatoyaki, and slightly buzzed from that natural wine, find your way to Blå just in time for the infamous Frank Znort Quartet. The quartet makes a promise to fuck up your Mondays, which is not only totally worth it, but the best way to end your Oslo weekend away. Frank Znort have been doing their thing every single Sunday since 1998. And that thing? Jazz, punk and a whole lot of fun. There’s nothing quite like it, and an Oslo experience you need to try for yourself.
Suddenly Oslo isn’t so quiet anymore.