4 Nov 2007
Saturday morning, having fought and won the dreaded Battle of the Shower* against the boys, we made our way to Oslo for a change of scenery. After parking our little Golf near Aker Brygge, we grabbed our coats and walked up towards Karl Johan Gate. It was a chilly morning, but we didn't feel cold thanks to the sunshine and brisk walking.
Karl Johan (so named after King Karl Johan) is the main thoroughfare in Oslo, connecting the Central Railway Station in one end with the Royal Palace in the other, passing Stortinget (Parliament) and the National Theatre on the way. The lower part of the street is a cobble stoned pedestrian only walkway, and this is where you'll find all the upmarket boutiques that Oslo has to offer. The upper part of the street is a wide boulevard with a park and the National Theatre on one side, the University of Oslo's Faculty of Law on the other, and, at the very end, the Royal Palace.
During the summer, Karl Johan is bustling with people shopping or enjoying a drink or meal at one of the numerous cafes and restaurants lining either side. In the wintertime, the park between the National Theatre and Stortinget is turned into a skating rink, to the amusement of children young and old. The street is truly the heart of the capital, and it is my favourite place to visit in Oslo.
Our boys are particularly fond of playing in the Royal Gardens, but this time around, we decided to walk down towards the Central Railway Station. The street artists scattered along the way provided the necessary amusement to keep the boys going, despite my occasional pit stops into various clothing stores.
Next to the railway station are a couple of newer shopping centres, where we managed to pick up a new pair of indoor running shoes for Christopher. I was shocked to find that he now has bigger feet than me. My feet are on the small side, but having your child outgrow you in anything is nevertheless a milestone. And yet another sign that they are growing up much too quickly.
After a gourmet lunch at McDonald's for our nugget-deprived boys, we leisurely strolled back to the car along the Oslo fjord, passing the infamous City Hall on our way.
As we left Oslo, we happened to see the Color Line cruise ship that we are scheduled to go to Kiel on in a fortnight. The boys were extremely impressed with the sheer size of the ship, and are now looking forward to our mini-getaway.
Sunday morning was yet another crisp but beautifully sunny day, allowing us to meet up with my sister and her boys for a good 7 km trek on forest trails. Christopher has been a good walker for some time, but I am noticing a big change in Benjamin, who now keeps up with his brother and cousins, and does not complain when walking for several hours. I'd forgotten just how pleasant these walks can be without continuous whining and whinging about feeling tired, having sore feet, being cold, hungry or thirsty.
Today's walk took us from Landfalltjernen to Tverken cottage, where we stopped and purchased freshly made waffles from the city-run cottage. And truly, there's nothing like eating waffles and drinking home-made hot chocolate on a lovely fall day.
Compared to last weekend, when I was ready to give my boys away for free, getting out and moving around did wonders for us this weekend. I am still noticing signs of teenageritis in Christopher, but I'm happy to report that the fresh air improved his symptoms somewhat.
I'll sign off with this final piece of happy news. Remember my plans to sneak off with this Object of Absolute Cuteness?
Well, as luck would have it, I no longer need to: Ann and Per have graciously asked Mike and I to be Godparents for baby nephew Emil. We are both honoured and extremely excited! I also believe this grants me rights to access at all times, which will come in handy whenever my children are acting, you know, like 7 and 10 year olds.
*To be addressed at a later date, as I currently do not have the energy required to describe - in sufficient and necessary detail - the amount of persuasion, coaxing, threatening and bribing required to get my children to SHOWER.