Gabriel’s Trilogy, Part I: Hello Oslo

“You know, our blog’s name might be an issue if we decide to have a kid”, said Jules. “Oh, don’t worry, we can always change it to Jules Verne Times Three”, I retorted. “Plus, no sane kid would ever want to have a blog together with his parents. It would be like having a family Facebook account”. As it is often the case, I had misjudged the matter entirely. Changing the blog’s name is a confusing affair, and babies don’t say much.

We decided to interpret his silence as an indication that he doesn’t mind being part of the blog (to be reassessed after he turns into an obnoxious teenager). Luck would have it that Jules Verne – the writer, not the bloggers – had a middle name: Gabriel. That settled the matter: Jules (the mother), Gabriel (the son) and Verne (the father) will continue to travel the world and write about it.

Gabriel’s maiden voyage was a one-week trip to Norway. Over this trilogy we’ll talk about the good, the bad, and the snotty of travelling with a six-month old blogger.

First challenge: packing. It quickly became apparent that our trusty backpacks wouldn’t cut it, so out came the trolleys up to this point reserved for business trips. Despite weighting ten times less than I do, Gabriel hoarded a trolley for his exclusive use, leaving Jules and I to share the remaining one.

We flew from Lisbon to Olso, a four-hour affair that went surprisingly well. After our fair share of flights next to babies capable of crying non-stop through multiple time zones, we were worried. But Gabriel, apart from a few excited squeals, didn’t utter a sound during the entire flight. One hand stuffed with food, the other one grasping his favourite toy, plus two inquisitive big eyes looking at everything. The candy that we had brought to bribe fellow passengers never left the bag.

I had been to Oslo twice before, but never for leisure. As we slowly walked through Oslo’s streets, both due to the weight of the trolleys and our lack of hurry, we appreciated how serene the city is. The whole town seemed to be out, quietly enjoying the sunny Saturday morning. The setting immediately reminded us of Copenhagen.

Gabriel enjoyed our walks too, provided they didn’t interfere with his routines. Accustomed to wandering the whole day with no strict schedule, this took us some getting used to. After a couple of botched experiments, Jules and I figured out the furthest we could get away from our rented apartment before having to hurry back for the next snack or nap. It wasn’t a terribly large radius, but fortunately the apartment was centrally located.

One of the landmarks within that safe zone was Oslo’s Opera House. Quietly sitting at the shoreline, dressed in white granite and Carrara marble, it looks like the virtuous sister of the Black Diamond, Copenhagen’s somewhat menacing looking Royal Library.

Norway and Denmark’s kinship goes well beyond an affection for striking architecture. Up till 1814, both countries were part of a personal union that shared a monarch and centralised many governing functions in Copenhagen.  Oslo – mostly built from wood at the time – was destroyed by fire in multiple instances, which further explains why most of the city’s landmarks are very recent. The University is from 1813, the Vigeland Park from 1927, and the City Hall from 1950.

Nevertheless, amidst the flurry of contemporary landmarks and tall yellow cranes labouring over new buildings, there are still glimpses of the old days. One of the oldest surviving buildings – just within reach of Gabriel’s operating radius –  is the Akershus Fortress, a 13th century medieval castle that protected the city during countless sieges. Strategically located on a hill overlooking the port, it was often targeted by foreign forces – particularly the Swedes – in an attempt to control the region’s maritime trade.

Gabriel seemed to enjoy his first incursion into foreign lands, provided his hierarchy of needs was strictly met: first comes food, then comes sleep, and only then comes travel. If he follows the footsteps of his parents, things won’t change much with age.

On the second part of this trilogy we’ll talk about our road trip from Oslo to Trondheim. The landscapes were breath-taking, but were sometimes accompanied by Gabriel’s equally breath-taking soundtrack.

 

Verne*

 

 

 

 

 

 

71 thoughts on “Gabriel’s Trilogy, Part I: Hello Oslo

  1. And so it begins … I wish you a lifetime of wonderful travels with your little guy. We started ours early and with the exception of one kid who rebelled briefly against leaving the country too often, they have all ended up being avid travelers themselves. And speaking of teen years, those were our favorite travel years with them (I know, hard to believe), but we loved that sweet spot of partial independence and burgeoning thoughts on the world around them.

    (I hope this trip of yours was a while ago; in some photos you appear to be wearing heavy coats … hope it was not really that cold in the summer!)

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    1. Thank you! Good point on the teen years, hopefully he won’t be as obnoxious as I was 🙂

      Indeed, we took this trip in May. The weather is Olso was hit and miss, but it got really cold once we hit the mountains. Plenty of snowy landscapes coming up in Parti II -Verne

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  2. It sounds as if you are off to a family lifetime of happy travels. We lived in England for two years and traveled with our son when he was eight months old until he was two. Our daughters were 10 and 13 when we moved back to the states, so at least they were independent and helpful. Good luck!

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  3. Wow. Oslo was touched by us 20 years from the day exactly in July. And it sure has changed a lot with all that shiny stuff called skyscrapers! Oooh yes Trondheim – we were there in April, when most of the town was still asleep we guess! We are sure the Trondheim adventure you had would be more fun than ours!

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      1. Absolutely! Can you believe that I just left Europe after living in Norway for 2 years and even though we took 12 international trips in that time we didn’t visit your beautiful country? Italian heritage just kept pulling us back to Italy.

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  4. Sounds like Gabriel has already enjoyed traveling, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as both of his parents carry the wanderlust genes. 🙂 Love the blue skies over Oslo, and your photos beautifully captured the city’s peaceful ambiance.

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  5. Ohh, either I missed the small print or Gabriel was until now the best-kept blogging secret. 😉 I’m so glad the first trip was a success and am looking forward to next ones, as does he, I’m sure. Excellent images, name solution and smiles. Much love and joy to all three.

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    1. Thanks for reading Laurie! As I write this, Gabriel is keeping to his priorities: after breakfast and a mid-morning nap, he’s now exploring the living room’s carpet 🙂 -Verne

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  6. Keep on taking Gabriel on your travels. We took our kids at six weeks, three months, six months etc. They both grew up to be good travelers. The longest trip was seven months around Australia in a campervan with daughter age 2 and son age 4. Wonderful memories. Travelling with children may need a bit more planning but it is well worth it.

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  7. Congratulations and welcome to the best adventure of your life! I’m here in the other side of that tremendous experience saying that traveling with kids, whether young or old, opens doors like you wouldn’t believe and enriches your life & travel experiences ten fold. Happy travels! I look forward to more posts.

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