For our latest installment of MY CITY we took a trip to the other side of the world chatting to Ryan McPhun of The Ruby Suns and Spring Break about his new home town. A man of many talents - he's a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer - the ex-pat Kiwi's latest residence is the chilly city of Oslo, where he tells us about the perks of living in a place surrounded by snow, art and culture.
I was born in California to an American an a Kiwi and lived in Auckland for around ten years. Last year I made the move to Oslo to be with my Norwegian lady. So for now, Oslo is my city.
An American-themed grog lair right near my apartment. The main reason I go here is because it has a beer special from 6-8pm everyday. 3 beers for 100nok ($20NZD) - that's pretty much half price.
This is Gustav Vigeland's crowning achievement. The park is chock full of his sculptures, both psychedelic and traditional, all centred around a giant obelisk comprising tonnes of individual sculptures of different kinds of humans. Also, there's a sculpture of one very angry baby.
Though a bit fancy as far as the dining/drinking establishments are concerned, Tjuvholmen is fascinating because it's essentially a neighbourhood built on stilts above the ocean. Extending out from the Aker Brygge area of Oslo, it's home to some great galleries such as Pushwagner & Haaken and one of the better Norweigen treasure troves, the Astrup Fearnly Modern Art Museum. They've got the MJ & Bubbles sculpture by Jeff Koons! Where this floating burrough meets the sea the architects made sure there was an integrated public swimming area replete with diving boards, step ladders and a sandy beach.
This is Oslo's local ski mountain and it's pretty good too. You can take the metro from Oslo central station almost to the bottom of the slopes.
A little down the mountain is apparently one of the best toboggan runs in the world. This one is about two kilometres long. There are several exposed cliffs along the way if you felt like going for a fly and it's scary how fast you can go. The metro goes right to the top of the track. Photos don't do it justice really - take a look at this video.
Nearby the Korketrekkeren is Norway's newest ski jump that you can see from almost anywhere. Ski jumping is a huge deal in Norway and they've been competing here since 1892. You can take a ski lift to the top of the jump and look down but I could never imagine doing this.
Across the street from Oslo central station, UFF is the best place to go for old Norwegian knit sweaters and 80's ski jackets. I've always enjoyed European op shops and Norway has a very long tradition of knitting with wool using unique patterns. With Oslo winters sometimes getting 30 degrees colder than your average Auckland winter's day, I'd be dead without layers of wool.
Right near my apartment, this little park is on a hill right by the river and is a great place for a picnic in the summer and to shred the rails in winter.
This is actually in Asker, 20 mins west of Oslo, and it's a great place to swim. The city has installed a 3-tiered diving platform at 3, 5 and 10 metres. I'm still too nervous to jump off the highest one.
It's still very hard to get used to the idea of the sea being freezing. Even in documentaries about Antarctica the ocean water is still flowing freely. But in Oslofjord, this isn't the case. The ocean freezes and you can walk and ski on it or just kick it with your boots.
Thanks Ryan - we would love to visit Oslo and experience all it has to offer!