Saturday, July 27, 2019

Running in Oslo

Wednesday, July 24: Alborg, Denmark
After leaving Warnemunde, Germany, our cruise ship headed for Alborg, Denmark. We were sailing for the first half of the day, which meant it was impossible to run outside. We could have opted for the treadmill, but neither of us were interested in that and we had planned a few days off on this trip, too.

Alborg (or Aalborg) was fun. We had signed up for a Danish Beer Walking tour, but due to low registration, the excursion was cancelled. This ended up being a good thing because we got our money back and discovered we could easily do the exact same thing on our own for less money.

We paid about $20/each and that got us 6 drink tickets and small souvenir glasses that say "Aalborg Beer Walk" on them. Totally a tourist thing to do, but hey-- we are tourists! There were 8 participating brew pubs of which some were closed at that time of day (2:00). We ended up visiting three different pubs and getting two beers at each. Don't worry- they were small pours in the souvenir glass!

It was a fun way to explore the town while also tasting different beers. One of the brew pubs was an actual brewery that brewed their own beer and that was awesome.

Thursday, July 25: Gothenburg, Sweden
Our next stop was Gothenburg, Sweden. We docked at 8:00am, which meant we couldn't get off the boat until 8:00am. . .  which meant the sun was already really high in the sky. I didn't mind too much; at least I was staying acclimated to the heat!

Gothenburg, Sweden
We didn't really have a plan for where we were going to run in Gothenburg, which I liked. We just followed a running path along the water, and occasionally veered off it into parts of town. We encountered a few steep hills whenever we went away from the water, and wandered into some small residential areas. My favorite part of this run was going through a small park area that was well shaded. Overall, I felt energized and strong. We ran for 75 minutes, as prescribed by my coach, and ended up with 8.5 miles.

The cruise offered a free excursion called "Gothenburg Panorama" which we learned was simply a bus ride around the town. We decided we would rather explore by foot, so off we went! I wasn't overly impressed with Gothenburg, to be honest. It was nice, but there wasn't anything particularly distinguishing about it. We mostly walked through the park along the canal. It was enjoyable, although we were struggling with how hot it was. It's been about 10 degrees above average here for the entire duration of our trip. I don't mind it so much, but I had been expecting highs in the 70's, not highs in the 80's.

There isn't too much else to say about Gothenburg. I would have much preferred to visit Stockholm, which is still on my bucket list, but the cruise didn't travel there. We were hot and tired from walking around in the sun so we returned to our ship at around 4:00. That allowed us to use the ship's free self-service laundry before dinner! What a great amenity, given how long the cruise is and how sweaty the clothing has been getting. Of course, I don't trust my running clothes in those machines with their soap, but we washed pretty much everything else. We then ate dinner, walked around the ship and went to bed. Before we move on to Oslo, here is another photo of the Gothenburg run:

My favorite part of the Gothenburg run

Friday July 26th: Oslo, Norway
We arrived in Oslo on Friday morning. We cruised through the Oslofjord to get there and the views were stunning. The Olsofjord is absolutely gorgeous there we watched from the top deck of the ship as we slowly pulled into the port.

We were able to get off the ship at 8:00am. There was another runner waiting to get off right away too--and he was wearing a Boston Marathon hat! Turns out, this guy had run over 60 marathons, and many of them were Bostons. Given that most people on this cruise are in their 60's and 70's, and the boat only holds 900 passengers, we did not expect to meet another runner, let alone such an avid marathoner!

The three of us started our run together, and we decided it would be best to stick to the waterfront. I love running close to water, and it also makes it easy to find your way back! After about two miles, the other runner told Greg and I to go ahead and he stayed back. Even though it was once again very
Oslo, Norway
sunny and warm, I felt great. For me, 72 degrees usually equals 95-100% humidity, so anything less than that makes 72 feel tolerable. I loved this route. The path was easy to follow, there were plenty of other runners, and the views of the water were beautiful. There were definitely some hills, but nothing too crazy. Once again, we planned for 75 minutes, which ended up being 8.6 miles.

After finishing the run, we showered, had a quick breakfast, and went back out to explore the castle that was literally right next to our cruise ship. Running at 8:00am meant missing the "real" breakfast, which closed at 9:30, but there was a smaller cafe place open that served waffles. Anyway, we explored the castle for a bit, which was super cool, and then got ready for our afternoon excursion: a boat tour of the city.

This boat tour was AMAZING. Seriously the best thing we have done so far on this vacation. It was an old fishing boat built in 1940, which held about 150 passengers. Thankfully, the boat was only half full so there was plenty of space to move around and take photos. There was also a bar on the ship, and two included drink tickets for beer and wine. There was even a cover over part of the boat so we had shade. This was a lifesaver since it was 85 degrees out! Combined with the breeze from moving so quickly, the weather was close to ideal.

We passed by all of the Oslo landmarks that you can see from the water, and sailed down the Oslofjord and back. A tour guide explained everything over the loud speaker which was nice. It was
Oslo boat tour
so relaxing and beautiful and just perfect! During the boat tour, the guide mentioned that Oslo had an Ice Bar. I had heard about the Ice Bar in Stockholm, and had always wanted to go.

An ice bar is a bar that's made of ice, and it's supposedly 20 degrees to keep everything frozen: the bar, the sculptures, the tables, the seats, etc. After the boat tour, Greg and I headed into the city to check it out. They handed us heavy ponchos and gloves and in we went. Once again, this was a total tourist thing to do, and it's not a place that the locals hang out. But it was cool-- literally! I don't think it was 20 degrees, but it was cold, and the drinks were really good. I had a cocktail that was green, and Greg got a blue cocktail.

We were only in the Ice Bar for about half an hour, and then I got really cold, so we left. We took the scenic walk back to our ship, and I determined that Oslo is now one of my favorite cities. It's so beautiful with fountains everywhere and the architecture is a mix of old and new.

Saturday, July 27th: Oslo
The boat stayed docked in Oslo overnight, which meant we didn't have to wait until 8:00 to start our run. Ironically, this was the only day where my body naturally "slept in" and I didn't wake up until 6:15. I had thought we'd be able to start our run at 6:30, no problem! Anyway, I planned to fill my hand-held water bottle with one of the bottles that they give you as you exit the ship. But at 7:00am, the water bottles aren't available. So I went to the bar nearby, and asked the bartender to refill my bottle. I was (more than) slightly annoyed because before she could fill my bottle, she had to make someone an alcoholic beverage. At 7:00am! I selfishly believed my need for water to be able to start my run was far more important than someone's need to drink alcohol at 7:00am, so I became irked.

One thing I've learned about myself on this trip, which I kind of already knew, is that if I can't get my run started when I want to, I become irritable. I'm like a caged tiger, just raring to go.

The Oslo Opera House: we ran up that roof
Finally we were off. This run was a lot of starting and stopping for multiple reasons. First, my Garmin was acting funky. It's a brand new Garmin, but sometimes the buttons stick, which means it will randomly stop, and I won't even know it. In this case, we wanted to stop and take photos, but I couldn't get my Garmin to stop because of the sticking button. Second, there were a lot of great photo opportunities so we stopped on purpose. Third, we weren't exactly sure where we were going, so we stopped to look at the Google Map and get our bearings.

I hate stopping during my runs, and we probably stopped like 8-10 times. But, it was all for a good cause. We were exploring the city and take photos.

To start, we headed about half a mile from our cruise ship to the Opera House. This is a famous landmark here in Oslo, and we had learned from the boat tour that you could walk up on the roof. So, what did we do? We ran up the very steep roof until we reached the top! Once at the top, we took photos, and then ran back down to the bottom.

After that, it was time to find our planned route, which was up the canal path. Greg read that this was one of the best places in Oslo to run, and that it was flat. LOL! So not flat. The hills were so steep on this path that I had to walk at times. The surface of the ground kept changing: gravel, stone, dirt, concrete, wood, asphalt... pretty much anything you can imagine. I should also mention that it wasn't easy getting to the start of the path. We ended up having to run through a train station because we didn't see any other way to cross the tracks. Definitely an adventure.

Vigeland Park, Oslo
Finally, I told Greg that I was done with that path. It was really beautiful and interesting, but I couldn't handle all the hills and the changing of surfaces, etc. I think we ran about two miles on it, so we definitely experienced it. Fortunately, we stopped at a road that was a straight shot to Vigeland Park, which was also on the list of the top places to run. And we had seen this on a map previously and it looked nice.

We ran about two miles through the city to get to the park, and once we were there, it was totally worth it. Beautiful fountains, sculptures, monuments, flowers, etc. However, it wasn't very large. I would have been happy to run laps around the park, but it was unclear which way to go so we kind of just zig-zagged through the park until we found ourselves running on a gravel trail. The gravel trail became very hilly and all of a sudden we realized we were on a trail, and not in the park. So we stopped again and looked at the Google Map.

We quickly found our way off of the trail, back into the city, and headed for the cruise ship. We ran a total of 10.1 miles and made a huge loop around the city. I had been planning for a little more, but I was ready to be done at that point. I had not anticipated so many hills and it was also quite hot and sunny.

Stay tuned for more as we continue on the cruise up the coast of Norway.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm complaining about hills. I guess you aren't ready for the Mount Washington Road race yet. But consider me a teammate as I assume if you ever decide because that's the way to sucker me into doing it again!! It's a different kind of hard but you'll be able to go down the steps the next day without pain unlike a marathon you ran hard at!! Overall though, I like reading about your vacation and you seem to be handling it well!! :) I love the photos of you running too. You always look incredible!!