Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First time in Scandinavia

For the first time hubby and I traveled far without the boys. The first time we left them was when we traveled to Kota Kinabalu back in 2009. I didn't feel bad because I knew, if anything *knock on wood* we should be able to rush back home.
But this time, the thought of flying across the world made me nervous. I was excited but at the same time worried sick to the point of getting off the flight when we were in KLIA before takeoff. LOL! But once airborne I knew there's no turning back. Might as well embrace this trip and enjoy it.
Which I did. *grin*
 I have been talking about traveling and exploring the world with hubby but when the time came I was a nervous wreck.
Our boys like staying over at their grandparent's house and I take comfort in the fact that they're in safe hands of my parents in law and GOD the almighty.

So anyways, we landed in Schiphol airport, Amsterdam after 13hr flight non-stop. And took a connecting flight to Oslo. We arrived Oslo 2hours later. The moment we stepped out of Gardermoen airport we felt the winter chill. It was -6°C. We quickly jumped into the Airport Express Train (Flytoget). The winter 'preview' was short, but we were prepared of what was to come later as we alight the train in Oslo. As we got out of the train station my eyes got watery, my nose felt cold and I could see vapour each time I breathe out. Drastic climate change for us. KL was so hot and dry when we left. It's always hot before Chinese New Year.

I got excited when I saw snow. Haha! But the longer we stayed outdoor the colder it got. My fingers felt numb. And I wore thick winter gloves, thermal top and bottom but I felt cold right up to my bones. (It doesn't help that I lost 2kilos prior to the trip). I had 4 layers of long sleeved t-shirts under my jacket but when the wind blew it was as if I had nothing on. We felt a lot better 2 days later. Maybe our body got acclimatised to the climate.

Oslo babeh! Whooo hoooo!

First stop, McD's.
This McDonald's is next to the Oslo Central  Station
(It's a train Station like KL Sentral)
I read that Oslo is the world's most expensive city. It's true!
We ordered 1 McChicken, 1 Filet o-fish, 1 large fries and 1 hot cocoa and it was Norwegian Kroner 140 about Euro19 (MYR78). LOL! We've never spent this much at McD's before. Just imagine fine dining in Oslo. *faints*

Cozy room in the city overlooking the errr...city? LOL!

Thawing my frozen hands.

Aperitif at the rooftop of Blu Radison hotel with the group.
Since we don't drink alcoholic beverages,  I ordered plain water.
When my water arrived it was cold.  But I drank it anyways, I was thirsty.
So yeah, I was cold inside and out.
Smart hubby ordered coffee. Lucky him.

 We took a tram from the city to Ekeberg.
And we walked up to Ekeberg Restaurant.
I wasn't wearing the proper pair of boots.
The bottom of my boots weren't gripping the ground aka the snow. Nak gaya punya pasal lah.
So I was struggling and partly slipping while hanging on to hubby. The worst part was that he wore his office shoes and it had no grip either. *smirk*
So we were clinging to each other but at the same
time keeping our cool.

Tadaaa! We made it!
Magnificent view of Oslo city.


The next day we took a train to Karlstad, Sweden. The journey took 3hrs.
Hubby had to attend a seminar and an awards dinner in Karlstad at the
Karlstad CCC (Congress Culture Centre.)

My very first real train ride. I've never been on one besides
airport express train, MRT (Singapore), MTR (HK), etc.
It was fun! :D And I loved the view.

Almost there.

Our hotel. It's spacious, 2 heaters but ain't warm enough for me.

Hello! Ikea. Um..I mean Sweden. 
Karlstad, Sweden.

While hubby was busy in the seminar, I explored Karlstad town. Just me, myself and my camera.
The town was pretty small. But I kinda like it there.
Aren't like here. Here, we have traffic jams, crowded malls, etc.

Slut spurt? Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Tsk tsk... shame on you. It means final sale in Sweden.
In Oslo I saw SluttSalg sign on the shop window. Salg means sale. So I guess sluttsalg means final sale in Norwegian.

Jalan-jalan seorang diri. 
No other sound other than my own footsteps crushing the snow.
It got a lil dark so I walked back to the hotel. 

 Gala Awards Dinner with the rest. Yes, I was invited :D

neon and glow sticks performance next to our table.

With Tony and his team from Madrid.
We didn't stay on for the after party because we were so sleepy.
It was 5am in Malaysia. LOL!

View from our hotel room at 5am. Woke up for morning prayer and I couldn't sleep. I decided to snap some pics.
It was so peaceful, so quiet at night/early morning as I watched snow falling from the sky, it swirls in the air and some softly landed on the banister outside our window.
So beautiful. I suddenly felt sad thinking of the boys. I want them to see what I'm seeing.
And I kept picturing them sleeping in their warm beds. But it was daytime back home. LOL!
I missed them so much at night. Not so much during the day though.
Maybe because my mind was pretty preoccupied. Hehe!

So yeah, we missed the bus to the train station and we also missed the chartered train back to Oslo.
The bus arrived at our hotel at 10:30am but we got down at 10:35am.
We played in the snow outside the hotel while waiting for the 'bus'.
We thought the bus was late. Actually we were late. LOL!
They're so punctual. Darn it!
The friendly hotel front office lady called for a cab.

When we got to the train station, we were already late. We missed the chartered train. But we were so lucky. 
Although we missed our chartered train, we were allowed to ride on this train back to
Oslo for free. Somehow the company called and said that there might be some who missed the chartered train back to Oslo. I don't think we were the only ones who were late. Most of them stayed up for the awards after-party. We left because we were too sleepy.

Karl Johans Gate is one busy street on Saturdays.

Karl Johans Gate is the main street. It stretches from Oslo Central Station (train station) right up to 
the Royal Palace. It's a happening street. But the street is dead on Sundays. Why? Because unlike here, shops are closed every Sunday. Their economy is so strong that they can afford to close shops on one of the weekend. Imagine that! LMAO! Work-life balance. I was kicking myself in the butt for not shopping the day before.

Sluttsalg! Final sale

 at the Royal Palace

MashaAllah! This is one HUGE dog!

 me and my friend troll

It's snowing! 
Before the trip I told hubby I wish it would snow. I've seen on tv
but I've yet to experience it. Alhamdulillah, glad it snowed on our last night in Oslo.

The next day. 
A Sunday. 
As you can see, the street is clear and shops are all closed.

The Oslo Opera House in the background

Enjoying our last day in Oslo. 

At the National Gallery.


 Scream by Edvard Munch

On FlytoGet.
The airport express train.
Goodbye Oslo!