Oslo  |  0 degrees  |  fog

arriving in Oslo

at the airport – all pale wood and clean lines

along the windowed corridor

and emerging from the downward escalators

in small groups we hold up our passports

one by one

and later emerge to collect our baggage

trains this way, tickets for trains, which train express or what ?

machines for tickets

– in a queue

head to express train

it smoothly slides in view and on I get

through Oslo it goes, into cold countryside

and towns – ghostly grey in shrinking fog

there are screens with rolling news

in Paris they’ve stormed a flat

women have blown themselves up

at Oslo Sentralstasjon

am overheated in this fast and modern place

down the escalator and out

into the brittle chill air

ahead is the chic and whitely slanted opera house

about me are men dishevelled,

layered up for outdoor living

but to the left and right again

is the hostel

definitely not chic nor slanted

a man opens the door

handwritten signs point to recepsjon

up a load of spiralling stairs

a get a key, a dark red towel and linen

for the bed

up 2 more flights

past orange rag-rolled walls

a place once grand now carved up

to a room that smells of cold and dirt

twin beds – gritty pale blue lino underfoot.


I head for Karl Johans Gate

the main drag

parliament, cathedral + theatres

can be seen from here

national gallery and marc jacobs

can be seen along the way

Det Kongelige Stottet

(a royal palace)

modest by Buck house standards

sits neat and tidy above of the city

looking out to sea.


lots of shops – could be Brighton

but beggars and christmas lights

line the street.

after pizza, whiskey and a read of

M. Wollstonecrafts’s letters from Norway

I sleep

despite the battered door

outside my room, with a sign that advises

‘all to lock their doors or look

what happens !’