Oslo’s islands

The day after I finished seeing the museums of the Bygdoy peninsula I was back on one of the ferries around the inner fjord. However, this time I was headed for the islands, to enjoy the September sunshine (it was at least 20C while I was in Oslo) and the fresh air, and of course the views.

One of the ferries from Oslo docks goes on a quick trip around the inner fjord, calling in at various little island stops as it goes, before returning to the city centre. It’s used by locals, as people do live on the islands, and it’s also used by tourists to visit the Norwegian outdoors.

My first stop was Hovedoya, which is the island closest to the city. The main attraction here, except of the views, is a the ruins of a Cistercian monastery. They’re not big ruins, and completely free. You can have a wander around, and climb the tower for a bird’s eye view of them.

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The other attraction here is of course the countryside. There are numerous paths and walks, leading either deep into the forest, or up the edge of the island for views of the sea and Oslo itself. To be, honest it did get a bit boring just walking by myself in the forest – I don’t know much about trees and plants, so I couldn’t get excited about this tree or that plant, and of course there’s no views in the forest. However, at times I was walking at the edge of the island, sometimes on the beach or on the cliffs, and that was much more enjoyable. The views in the sunshine, with autumnal colours beginning to emerge on the trees, were beautiful, and at times I just sat on a secluded beach, relaxing and taking it all in.

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For lunch I went to the lovely café on the island, and had a bowl of salmon and vegetable pasta, which was freshly made and absolutely delicious.

After that, I headed to another of the islands, Lindoya. When I got off the ferry, I wasn’t really sure which way to go, as there were a couple of options but no real clue as to which was best, so I just followed the road as I pleased. I ended up in a nature reserve, which was lovely. More forest walking, but I found the beaches! They were tiny, little coves really with beautiful views, and completely silent, except for the sounds of birds singing, and the water lapping the rocks and beaches. However, after awhile, the path looked like it was heading into people’s gardens so I turned sadly round and retraced my steps.

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I then continued past the ferry stop and headed into the unknown – well, unknown to me anyway. This meant walking towards the small summer cottages which the island is known for. Some of them really were tiny, but they were all so pretty, with their brightly painted cladding – red, green and yellow – nestled into the trees and narrow roads. No cars are allowed on the island, so it was very quiet, very peaceful, and it so idyllic. A perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon, just strolling nosying at the houses. Most of them seemed empty, I guess by early September summer is over, and the summer houses shut up for the winter.

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Sadly, eventually it was time to head back to the city centre – lovely though it was I didn’t really want to get stranded there, so I had to catch the ferry back.

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