Today an interview with Kaja Marie Lereng Kvernbakken, Spotter for our recently launched Oslo cityblog.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
When I was 4, three very important things happened in my life: I learned how to knit, how to read and write and started cooking.
Today I’m a knitwear designer by day and a writer at heart: Apart from writing for Spotted by Locals and taking various assignments as a freelancer, I’m currently working on my first novel. It is rewarding and nerve wrecking all at the same time. My day-job is one of the funnest anyone could ever find. It’s creative at the same time as I feel I’m doing a good deed, since the company I’m working for has built a children’s school in the Andes, and part of our revenue is given to this school in order to run it.
When I’m not knitting or writing, I love to focus on food: I eat it, shop it, cook it or read about it. I’ve even been told that I talk about it in my sleep!
How do you like being a Spotter?
I love being a Spotter. Friends from other places have told me that they like staying with me when they are here because they always get to see new places and discover new sides to this city. When I started writing I first focused on finding all my favourite restaurants, but as I had a harder look at Oslo and my life here, I discovered that there is so many other things to see and do that are also worth sharing.
My favorite Spotter story is the one about how I came to be one: Last year I was doing an Interrail through Europe with my 14 years old sister, and before leaving a friend told me we should check out Spotted by locals in order to discover nice places to visit on our journey. I did, and I loved it, but I discovered that there was no Oslo-blog and started bullying you guys about it. Now, here we are, one year later: Oslo-blog live, and me a Spotter!
Because it is green and beautiful, there are lots of things to do, no matter if you’re the urban type or if you’re a nature lover.
If you can: Go to Blå on a Sunday night and experience the Frank Znort Quartet. It is fun, and there are lovely people there from all over there world.
Also you should try getting to one of the viewpoints, like Vallhallveien/Ekeberg.
I’m no fan of our main street, Karl Johan, go there to see the castle, but try getting to other parts of the city to do your shopping or to grab a meal.
Which prejudices about Oslo are true?
Oslo is quite expensive. Food, clothes, well almost anything will set you back more than it will any other place. Still there are both restaurants and shops that are worth the extra money.
Which ones are not?
Norwegians aren’t that rich: Yes, when we take our money abroad they are, luckily for us, worth quite a lot. But with the price levels we have in Norway, and in Oslo, eating out is expensive for us as well.
What do you know about Oslo that no tourist will know?
My favorite viewpoint over Oslo. Hidden away at the top of a little park, not far from where I live.
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Oslo at this moment?
There are several popular areas in Oslo, depending a bit on what kind of person you are. Grünerløkka has been up and coming for years now, with a high density of restaurants, one-of-a-kind shops and lately a new hight tech digital cinema. Close to Grünerløkka, Torshov, Grønland and Gamlebyen are also on the rise.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
A perfect day for me would be to go for a picnic on Hovedøya. I would stop by Hotel Havanna for Sandwiches or ingredients for a barbecue, and then get on a boat to find the blue water and the warmth of the sun.
Check out all Kaja Marie’s articles and the other interviews with our Spotters.