My adventure with cheap travel began quite innocently. One night in August, I was taking the PKS Białystok bus from Lodz to Katowice. I saw a boy on the bus who was struggling with the map and couldn’t find out where Katowice has its airport. I helped him get to Pyrzowice, and in return he shared with me information that changed my life forever.
Fate can be surprising and puts different people on our way – initially I did not believe in the information obtained about cheap travel. After a week, I searched the internet out of curiosity – the possibilities opened up. Then I discovered that in less than a month I can fly to Oslo for PLN4 / €1 one way !!!
Having no idea what I’m getting into and not knowing the language, I decided to check if I could do it.
I would add that I had never flown before, so the adrenaline was higher – browsing the internet at night, people’s descriptions, YouTube videos to find out what it felt like to take to the skies for the first time.
When I was “theoretically” prepared to be pressed into the armchair, clogged ears, turbulence and other all “good advice” and patents on September 15, 2010 before midnight I arrived in Gdansk. After a night at the railway station’s catering facilities, at 4 am I checked in at the airport in Gdansk – Rebiechowo to start my adventure.
The security control was quick and efficient – after a while, with the ticket in hand, I checked in at the gate waiting for the flight.
The flight itself – well, it was a bit disappointing (in a positive sense) that there was no dent in the seat, no turbulence, and no clogged ears (as announced by experts on forums and websites).
It was at 6 am, so everyone was asleep – it was a beautiful morning, quiet and really enjoying the journey, and I discovered a sky taxi that takes me to another world in moments.
The plane easily landed at 7:10 at the Oslo Sandefjort Torp airport – 20 minutes before the scheduled landing time. As it turned out later, it was a journey full of small symbols and nuances. I know it sounds trivial, but we humans often don’t notice small signs and symbols and gestures.
The first such symbol for me was the greeting by the flight crew. I am terrified, happy, but also full of uncertainty with eyes like a child looking through a shop window at sweets or toys, and the crew welcoming passengers with the words:
Having passed beautiful islands and the coast in my head, and hearing these words, I thought that one day I would like to come back home, to Norway. It was then that, as if by magic, the thought that I would achieve my life and live in Norway one day was born.
Lost, I got off the plane with a dozen thoughts and questions: What’s next? How next? How it will be?
However, I quickly found the Torp-Ekspressen bus and headed to Oslo. My first night in Oslo was perhaps not very encouraging. In addition (from the takeover, I think) I made an incorrect booking by entering my middle name instead of the last name.
The advantage was the proximity to the town hall and the train station – practically in the center. However, the standard was not great and with time I found cheaper accommodation during my next trips (checked to this day).
The owner, on the other hand, was charming – an elderly man with a Santa’s beard who looked at me from under his glasses and asked me a good morning question:
“You are from Poland mmhhhmm… and what is your dream?”
I replied that I dreamed of living in Norway (remembering my morning resolution). The old man asked me again:
“And what is the obstacle to fulfill them?”
No job, no money and no room here in Norway – I stammered out.
And he said something that I coded for myself:
”No problem boy. We in Norway need hands to work – we’ll give you a job. You will have a job – you will earn decently. If you earn, you will be able to afford it and you will live with dignity.”
This is how the first Norwegian opened my eyes that the world is simpler than we think and everything has a logical whole, only we people confuse everything and find obstacles ourselves.
It was morning and I didn’t have my room ready yet (check-in at the hotel started at 3 pm), the old man surprised me again by showing me the nearest corridor and saying:
“Drop your luggage, your laptop and go for a walk around our city.”
I was scared because my luggage, although modest, was a shame to lose it. However, in this old man there was such confidence and kindness and wisdom in life that I decided to believe him and take a chance. To my surprise, when I returned after 3 p.m., my belongings were untouched, despite the unattended hordes of young tourists passing through the hall. Awesome.
So after checking in, I went to town. I started my journey from the main railway station.
In front of it, there is a tiger monument erected in 2000 on the thousandth anniversary of the founding of Oslo. Where exactly did the tiger come from in the country? It was inspired by the work of the Nobel Prize winner Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, who wrote about the fight between a horse (village) and a tiger (city).
Then, along the main pedestrian street (Karl Johan Gate), I came to the National Theater. The square in front of it with the fountain is the main meeting point (next to the train station – I think).
The Karl Johan Gate pedestrian street crowns Bellevuehøyden Hill with the classicist royal palace (Det Kongelige Slott) – the seat of Harald V of Norway’s King and Queen Sonja.
On May 17, there is a parade in front of him on the occasion of the Norwegian holiday, then the Norwegians come to worship their king, and the King with his family greets guests from the palace balcony.
It is worth buying the Oslo 24 city card before visiting – the above was valid 24 hours from the moment of validation and entitles you to visit all museums (unrealistic in one day, of course, but everyone will find something for themselves) as well as travel by public transport within the city and the surrounding area ( including inter-island ships), and entitles you to discounts at restaurants and other facilities or shopping.
Due to my passion for geography and the world, I took my first steps towards the Bygdøy peninsula. This is where there is a real treat for crazy people like me. But more on that in a moment.
I went there by water tram, free of charge at that time as part of the Oslo 24 card. Today I know that it is already separately ticketed because of the interest. You can also get to the peninsula by bus number 30 (from the train station or the theater).
It’s a fantastic and magical place – great for me. I moved to the world of the real traveler Thor Heyerdahl. Fantastic history and adventure, and entering this museum you involuntarily become a participant in his trip.
He was a traveler and biologist (this year marks the 100th anniversary of his birth). Inspired by a legend told by one of the natives on Fatu Hiva. She said that the people of Polynesia once lived overseas. The leader who was to lead the people was Kon-Tiki or Illa-Tiki, translating Sun-Tiki or Fire-Tiki.
He was the leader of the Incas from Lake Titicaca, and after fighting the leader of Cari, he was forced to flee with his people across the ocean. Heyerdahl noticed the similarities in the statues of Peru and Easter Island, and the dialect of the Polynesians, which was similar to the peoples living in Peru. His theory was ridiculed and he sought the support of scientists in vain. One of them told him “Excellent, please try to make a trip from Peru to the islands of the Pacific Ocean on a balsa raft one day!” And so in 1947 such a boat trip took place across the Pacific Ocean.
From the Kon-Tiki museum, I went to the nearby Fram Polar Museum. The museum houses the Fram polar ship, which used Amundsen to capture Antarctica. Walking on its decks – it is really impressive.
The museum’s terrace offers a beautiful view of the Oslofjord.
The third museum I visited was the Viking Ship Museum. Tourists are greeted by one of the three surviving boats – the boat from Gokstad (in front of which I am standing) dating back to the 9th century AD. . There are two more boats beyond it: from Oseberg and from Tune.
The last museum I visited was the folk museum and the open-air museum (Folkemuseum). There are over 150 buildings from all over the country, mainly from the 17th – 19th centuries. There is also a stave church from the town of Gol (Gol Stavkirke) from 1212.
Three museums took my memory all day long and made a great impression on me (especially Kon-Tiki).
After the museum part, in the afternoon I went on a cruise (free as part of the Oslo 24 card) on the Oslofjord, especially as the weather was good.
On the last day, I went to the northern, mountainous part of the city to the Holmenkollen district. I reached the famous Norwegian hill.
At the end of the last day of my stay, I visited the most famous park in the city – Vigeland Park. There are 212 sculptures in the park representing 600 figures. The idea of creating a park and sculptures was born in 1097. The whole thing is crowned with a monolith with 121 characters.
Finally, I would like to add that during my first visit I closely watched the people of Oslo, their behavior, style and way of life.
The above photo collage shows that it is not a nation of snobs and gloomy people – as it was commonly said. Yes, they have a big opinion about themselves and a lot of self-confidence, sometimes even contempt for others, but at least I think they know their worth and that’s how I perceive it. They spend a lot of time with their families on walks, not in shopping centers (as we do here), but in parks and museums.
Generally the weather was mild and sunny (not rainy and gloomy as they have) and people are smiling and enjoying life. They probably have their problems (because who in the world does not have them?), But they do not show it on the outside and it does not reflect on the streets and in contacts with others.
I would like to add that after returning to the country it was difficult for me to find myself in the gray reality, the first thing I did was sign up for a Norwegian course and I started planning another trip, which took place in December, but that’s another story …