A few months ago Matt was trawling the Ryanair website for cheap flights and found a good deal going to Oslo so we decided to have a short break there after my Nepal elective.

Well I’m currently sat in a hotel room in Oslo watching the newsreaders tell us to stay indoors and avoid crowds!

We arrived here yesterday, after a typical Ryanair flight, and discovered that the hotel is literally in the centre of the city, which was useful. The hotel is the blue dot on the image below:


This morning we went to the Nobel Peace Museum (ironic now, yes) which was really interesting, and we followed it up with a wander round the military fort and museum, where there was a medal parade to honour troops who had just returned from Afghanistan (may be ironic, yet to be confirmed).

As it was pissing it down all day, and as things here are so expensive, we decided to retire to the hotel room afterwards to dry off and eat cheap (for Norway) sandwiches from the 7-11. We sat indoors waiting for the rain to stop, and shortly after it did, we heard a huge crack/bang and the whole room shook. My first thought was that we had been hit by lightning so I leapt up to the window to find out. While I was stood there looking out, a plume of smoke and what looked like confetti started to rise from the area to my right. I then figured it was either a cannon blast at the army barracks, possibly related to the earlier parade, or maybe a controlled explosion at the building site nearby.

We decided to head outside and find out what had happened, but within a minute of leaving the hotel it was evident that this was no ordinary event. The first sign of trouble was the smashed glass everywhere. The blast had blown out windows all over the city and glass was falling from upper stories above our heads.




Getting closer, crowds were gathering and the emergency services were racing all over the place; some to the site of the blast, some to deal with injuries relating to the falling glass. As we got even closer, I spoke to a policeman who was setting up a cordon and he told me “We think it’s a bomb.” which was incredibly unsettling, as up until that point I assumed it was a gas main or something more benign.


We hung around for a short while, taking in the chaos and trying to think of what we should do next. Injured people were being carried through the crowds, covered in blood. Emergency workers ran up the road, and ambulances constantly ferried people away from the scene.

Even the clock tower next to the site sustained damage to it.


As it was now apparent that this was a malicious attack, we decided to head back to the hotel where I could get wifi access and find out more information. The BBC picked it up about 10 minutes after we got back, and I spoke to the receptionist to ask whether incidents like this were rare. She was really shaken and told me that this kind of thing never happens in Norway, which I had suspected.

We sat in our room and listened to the sirens and the sound of glass smashing. It’s been a surreal evening. News is still coming in about a shooting about 35 miles away. It doesn’t seem real, I wish it wasn’t. Welcome to the club, Norway.

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