The Florence Cathedral is an iconic symbol of the city and one of the main instagrammable sites of the internet. It was designed in 1296 in a Gothic style and remains, to this day, a beautiful white architectural building. We visited Florence on Friday 15th of March 2019. Here are some unedited snapshots
As you can see, the piazza del duomo was filled with locals and tourist. The queue to go inside the cathedral was really long, like almost an hour wait. We only had a full day to explore the city so we opted out for some street food and scenic strolls instead.
At night, the cathedral lit up with this luminous glow. We absolutely loved the highlight and contrast. If we ever have a chance to visit Florence again, we would definitely plan to visit the inside of the Cathedral next time.
Oslo is the capital city of Norway, filled with stunning art and architecture, intertwined beautifully with Mother Nature. We visited Oslo briefly on Tuesday 26th February 2019 before our transit to Hamar (Read HERE), and then flew from Oslo to Tromso (Read HERE) the next day. On Friday 1st of March 2019, we flew back to Oslo and spent 24 hours exploring the city.
For convenience, we stayed at the Scandic Victoria Oslo (HERE). After landing and checking in, we headed out to get McDonalds. One of our minor goals is to eat all the Maccas around the world 😆.
They had the El Maco burger; this had a strong Mexican influence and it tasted like we had dorito chips in the burger. We loved the sweet potato fries option. The sauces were different to Australia (sweet and sour cream). Oslo had a creamy mayo sauce that made our chicken nuggets taste extra fattening.
Afterwards, we headed towards the Nobel Peace Centre and explored there.
This is the building for the Norwegian Parliament. We didn't go inside but the exterior was so beautiful, we couldn't resist taking photos.
We walked towards the shopping departments and luxury goods to browse.
We caught the bus to Frogner Park (Vigeland Park) to see the 200 plus sculptures designed by Gustavc Vigeland, at the largest sculpture park in the world. Read HERE for more.
We loved the architecture here! The bright colours really juxtaposed the bright, white snow and everything looked magical (to us, sunny Australians).
In the afternoon, we struggled to catch the bus back from Frogner Park to the city centre. We went to a local news agency where the clerk, with her broken English, helped us navigate - bless her. After our entire experience of Norway, we have confirmed we find Norwegian people to be one of the nicest, helpful people to encounter in a foreign country (after Japan, of course).
We ended up meeting up with Michael's cousin and had sashimi at Mr. Fish. It was so fulfilling for $30 AUD. The salmon was fresh and soft. If you didn't know, the best salmon in the world are caught in Norway and shipped to Japan.
This was a well spent and really fun day. If we ever give the Scandinavian countries another go, we would love to stop by Oslo again.
Thanks for reading.
Hamar is a small town in Norway, located near Mjosa (largest lake), up north 100 km from Oslo. We visited this quaint and quiet town on Tuesday 26th February 2019 for a night, to visit Michael's family.
After flying in from Amsterdam, we were at Central station in Oslo. The train system was easy to navigate and we were able to purchase the next ride to Hamar. The ride was approx. one and a half hours, costing us $35 AUD each. The train felt like the Japanese shinkansen, but with a bit more rocking.
Once we reached Hamar, Michael's cousin picked us up to his family home where his aunt served us a traditional Vietnamese dish. It reminded us of home because at this point in our travel, we had been deprived of Asian cuisine for 2.5 weeks. We missed the fresh herbs and umami flavours.
After catching up with Michael's cousin, they took us to the supermarket to stock up on packaged soups and snacks, and then drove us to see Vikingskipet.
This is a indoor sports and event venue, holding up to 20,000 spectators. The stadium was designed to replicate an overturned viking ship. In person, we felt small standing next to this huge stadium. Here are some bird eye perspectives from google.
It was a very short and sweet trip to Hamar. Michael had a nostalgic night and we would love to visit again. Thanks for reading.