We looooove an on-the-ground perspective, especially somewhere as uber-cool as Olso, so we’ve chatted to gorgeous Mel Ong who moved from sunny Perth to Norway’s capital with her talented photographer boyfriend, Sean. Mel has told us everything there is to know about the vibrant, green city…from the locals’ penchant for brown cheese on waffles and also world-class sushi (who would have thought!?!), to the city’s most stunning settings to photograph.
Thanks a ton for chatting to us Mel! So, how did you end up in Oslo?
I was lucky enough to move to Oslo for work. As a born and bred Perth girl, it was crazy and exciting to pack up my life and head over to the other side of the world. I can now say I’ve experienced a proper winter!
What four words would you use to describe the city?
Charming, nature, skiing and koselig (the Norwegian word which is a mixture of cosy, quaint, comforting).
What do you love about it?
Oslo is a very walkable city and you can pretty much get anywhere by foot. If walking isn’t for you, there are city bikes available or the public transport system is great as the trams, buses and trains run frequently. I also love that nature is at your doorstep. You can take the train 30 minutes out of the city into the woods, where you can cross-country ski or do the toboggan run in winter, or hike in the summer.
Where to eat:
1. Solsiden Restaurant – The best and freshest seafood platter I’ve had. Hands down. It’s only open in the summer but it has a lovely view of the fjord and the sunset if you’re having dinner!
2. Alex Sushi – I was surprised at the number of sushi restaurants in Oslo. Norwegians love sushi. Alex Sushi is one of the best in Oslo so if you love fresh sashimi, I’d recommend it.
3. Åpent bakeri in Frogner – The best kanebolle (cinnamon scrolls), fruit loaf and homemade strawberry jam (which is free when dining in, mind you!). This bakery is always busy on the weekends and popular with the locals in the area.
4. Frognerseteren Restaurant – Five words. Norwegian waffles with brown cheese!
5. Kolonihagen in Frogner – Nordic cuisine where the concept is to use fresh seasonal produce. The restaurant is really cosy and beautifully designed.
Above images of Kolonihagen in Frogner: Mel Ong
Where to shop:
1. Bogstadveien – Really popular shopping street and a great walk to the Royal Palace.
2. Paleet – http://www.paleet.no – Fashion, food and lifestyle rolled into one.
3. Steen & Strøm
What to snap:
1. The view of Oslo from Frognersteren and Holmenkollen. The ski jump was used in the 1952 Winter Olympics.
2. Oslo Opera house
3. Vigeland park
4. Aker Brygge
Your best three pieces of advice for visitors?
1. Don’t bother with cash. Oslo is pretty much a cashless city so it’s rare that anyone pays with cash.
2. Be prepared for the prices. Oslo is expensive. One piece of advice I was given when I first moved to Oslo was not to convert back into Aussie dollars – if a meal is less than 120 NOK, you have yourself a bargain (this does not include beer!)
3. Buy an all day pass and take the train up into the woods. If it’s winter, go tobogganing at Frognerseteren and get a waffle after. If it’s summer, go hiking. You’ll love it.