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Cafe Culture
By Trish Smith
11 October 2010

Thick Blankets of Fog and Fur

My flight arrived into Oslo from Bangkok at about 7.30am on September 13th. The middle of September is the very beginning of autumn, but the city was waking up to a thick blanket of fog. I know that this particular climate isn’t for everyone, and a random survey of my friends would confirm my suspicion that most people would prefer a holiday in the tropics rather than somewhere so close to the Arctic Circle, but I could not have been happier to step out of that airport and into the fresh, chilly, foggy air. I had been in Oslo for less than half an hour and already I was in love.

After I checked into my hotel (yay! My room was already available!) I put on an extra layer of clothes, wrapped a scarf around my neck, and headed out in search of some breakfast. Chilly mornings call for an enormous mug of coffee and a sinfully delicious and sticky pastry. I found both at a cafe/bakery just around the corner on Karl Johans Gate:


The United Bakeries cafe has tables outside and at that time of the morning they were bathed in warm sunshine. I sat outside with my coffee and pastry and settled in for a spot of people-watching.

The United Bakeries cafe

Karl Johan’s Gate is the main street through Oslo, stretching from the Royal Palace to Central Station. My hotel was about two blocks away at the Palace end so no matter where I wandered in the city I could always find my way back home. If, like me, you are also prone to getting lost or even just disorientated, I suggest you look for a hotel located somewhere along this central thoroughfare. The fact that the street is lined with lovely shops and cafes is just a handy little bonus.

 Karl Johan’s Gate

It is lovely to wander around Oslo – the city is fairly easy to navigate if you have a map and a sense of direction. I had a map. Fortunately the people responsible for erecting street signs have done so on every corner; usually the sign is located on the wall of a building. When you’ve had enough of wandering you can just stop and be fairly certain that you’re within a few steps of another cafe.

Here’s something I saw a lot of:

Chairs and tables outside with blankets provided for cold knees. It’s clever ideas like these that allow the locals to enjoy their coffee outside well into the cooler months.

This cafe took the knees-on-blankets thing to the next level:

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Keywords: Fresh, lost, Love, lovely, Warm, Oslo

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