Christine Spiten’s perfect weekend in Oslo

The co-founder of Blueye Robotics, which developed a pioneering underwater drone for exploration and marine conservation, is a passionate campaigner for the oceans

Christine Spiten in her favourite event space, SALT
Christine Spiten in her favourite event space, SALT | Image: Per-Ivar Nikolaisen

“Oslo is perfect for outdoorsy types like me. I live on a 10m Hallberg-Rassy sailing boat called Viva. On Saturdays, I’ll wake at 7.30am, grab my swimsuit and towel, and walk to the little beach Bygdøy Sjøbad for a morning swim. There are no waves there as it’s protected by small islands that block the wind. Some eager sailors will already be preparing to get out on the fjord, but I just jump in the cold water and float for a while on the surface, immersed in its stillness.

The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History at Bygdøy is five minutes away by bike and has a little farmers’ market by the entrance, where I’ll stop off for vegetables and bread. Back on the boat, I’ll make a bowl of granola and a cup of coffee with honey – my mother is a beekeeper, so this is a favourite. It’s a short bike ride from my boat to the city centre. I’ll pass cows and sheep as I cycle along the marina path towards the National Theatre Station. From there, a metro runs every 15 minutes to Frognerseteren, which is a great starting point for cross-country tracks in winter.

Since last year, I’ve been taking Ziggy, my Australian boyfriend, cross-country skiing there as the slopes are perfect for both beginners and the experienced. When our muscles are sore, we head to the Frognerseteren Café, known for its delicious cinnamon buns and hot cocoa. We might also do the Korketrekkeren, or “corkscrew”, sled run. It’s a bumpy and fun 2km ride down through the forest, ending at one of the metro stations, from where we will be taken back uphill again.

Afterwards, we’ll go for some healthy Asian fusion food at Tunco in Frogner or St Hanshaugen. These restaurants are a dream for those who want to make sustainable choices. Tunco was started by friends who introduced a “meal for meal” concept, meaning that every time you eat there you give a meal to a child in need at a charity project in Kenya. I’ll have a Thai-inspired tofu dish with red curry sauce, topped with peanuts, coriander and lime.

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There are few cities that manage to incorporate nature the way Oslo does, with the fjord bringing an oceanic vibe to the city and the islands, which are easily accessible by ferry from Aker Brygge. My favourite area is around SALT, the pyramidal event space inspired by fishermen’s hesjer – racks used to dry fish. There I can experience everything from Morning Beat discos to art exhibitions and outdoor cinema, sometimes with an aquatic theme. On Saturday evenings they often have musicians and DJs playing and the sauna is open. It houses up to 100 and is the perfect way to start a night – bring swimwear, buy a beer and experience real Norwegian hygge.

Sunday is my sailing day and if it’s nice and windy, I’ll rise at 7am and head off around the beautiful islands. I’ll dock at Aker Brygge, where the Astrup Fearnley Museum is, to visit exhibitions or browse the nearby bookstores and libraries, and have a smoothie breakfast bowl at Café Liebling with my favourite drink, Hot Monkey – hot coconut water with ginger.

I’m no shopper. Living on a boat makes me very conscious about what I buy as I have limited storage space. My solution is Fjong, an enormous shared closet where I go if I want to rent something for a night out or to address a conference. It’s also where I keep my own dresses so others can enjoy them when I don’t need them.

Early evening, I like to get a head start on the week and stop by MESH, where I work when I’m in Oslo. It is a co-working space with a café and events area. If you’re lost in Oslo, this is where you will meet interesting people. I end the weekend at Smalhans: the menu varies with the seasons and it’s great for sharing plates with friends. Then it’s back to the boat and into bed at around 9pm.”

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