Winter Wonderland

First things first: I apologise if I crash your browser with the amount of photos that I've included in this post. And whilst I'm carrying out warnings, stop scrolling now if you don't find snow aesthetically appealing. Now that I've got my disclaimers out of the way, welcome to my most image-heavy post yet. 

Oslo surprised me. I wasn't expecting to enjoy myself as much as I did during our four days in the Norwegian capital last weekend. A far cry from my usual city breaks, we actually didn't see that much of the city itself, preferring the natural landscapes that surround Oslo: its fjord, forests and mountains. It helped, of course, that everything was coated in a thick and fresh layer of snow.

I can't remember having ever before seen so much snow. Especially on the Sunday, following a fresh fall of snow. I felt like I was in Narnia, walking through the snow-covered trees, my boots sinking deep into the snow beneath my feet. Everything was covered in a sparkling layer of white powder, even the sky was white, full of snow.

Besides photographing everything covered in snow and obsessing over how magical the trees looked, their branches bent over with the weight of the snow, I couldn't stop snapping all of the wooden cabins that I walked past. The traditional A-frame homes on the island and in the mountains in vibrant reds and yellows, and the small boat houses by the water on Malmøya. All of my dreams of a modernist home momentarily flew out of the window as I imagined living by the Norwegian coast in a cosy little yellow cabin.

WHERE WE STAYED

When we booked the trip, I knew from the start that I didn't want to stay in the centre of Oslo and that we needed an Airbnb so that we could have our privacy and be able to cook our own meals. When I stumbled across this little cabin it looked perfect, and it didn't disappoint. The island lies just 3km south of Oslo and is easily reached by an hourly bus that takes just 20 minutes, yet it feels a million miles from the city streets. 

The island of Malmøya is serene, peaceful and picturesque; from the moment the bus drives over the bridge that connects it to the mainland (via two smaller islands), you realise that you've arrived someplace special. I imagine the island would be bustling in the summer months, locals bathing on its many beaches and taking their boats out for a spin, but in winter it was wonderfully quiet.

There are two nature reserves on the island - one behind the solo shop by the bus stop (up a steep icy slope) and the other just down the road from our Airbnb, a path that hugs the coastline. We started our days by walking through the woods and along the beaches, and our evenings wandering around in the dark before retreating to the cabin for wine and board games.

OUR ITINERARY

FRIDAY // Arrived in Oslo. Walked up to the roof of the Opera House. Took the bus to Malmøya, explored the island and got settled in our Airbnb. Went for a night walk down to the beach.

SATURDAY // Walked around the nature reserve on the island. Took the train to Holmenkollen to see the ski jump. Spent the afternoon sledging from Frognerseteren to Midstuen. Ate dinner in the centre of Oslo then took the bus back to our flat for wine and board games.

SUNDAY // Lunch at the food market hall. Back up the mountain on the T1 train to spend the afternoon walking in the snow through the forest. Food in Oslo, then back to our Airbnb.

MONDAY // Walked around the shoreline of the island. Visiting the Fram museum. Took the train to the airport.

WHAT I WORE

If you're planning a trip to Oslo in the winter, you need to be prepared. The mercury only rose as high as 1 degree Celsius the whole time we were there and there were several snow showers. I packed thermal leggings which I wore beneath a normal pair of thick leggings each day, and a thermal top which kept me cosy beneath my two favourite winter jumpers from Toast and Old Harry. I also borrowed a ski jacket from a friend and treated myself to a (faux) furry pair of snow boots - I don't know what I would have done without me! Warm hat and waterproof gloves also essential!

All images, my own