Our trip to Norway was significantly shaped by our first three days in Arendal (read about it here) where we spent time with a family from Derek’s Dad’s LDS mission. However, not wanting to waste our precious time in Norway we traveled away from new friends to see more of the country.
We got into Oslo in the afternoon and had plans to meet up with more people Derek’s dad knew so we only had a few hours on our first day. We took some time to walk up to and around the Royal Place and see a bit of the main area of town. The next morning we hopped onto a bus to go out to the museum peninsula (which felt similar to Chicago’s Museum Campus – lots of museums on a slightly removed part of the city with really great views). You can take a boat to get out there, but a bus was our most convenient route, regardless of how fun a boat sounded. I’ve discovered that I am obsessed with open air folk museums (this was number five since we moved here!). So obviously we had to go to Oslo’s. The gem of this cultural history museum is a traditional wooden Stave Church.
The intricate detail on the wooden carvings was so interesting to see. And how dramatically different is this church from the Baroque cathedrals in Rome or Gothic cathedrals in France?
We stopped to see different buildings, almost all wooden, many with sod and grass on the roof (insulation!) like this one.
And this one with a swinging cradle.
Our next stop was the Viking Ship Museum.
It’s a fairly simple museum – three ships, found at different times, used for different purposes, but all from when the Vikings ruled Norway. There was also a section on the things found in the ships. One of the ships was used as a tomb for two Viking women. In my mind Vikings and ships just go together. I mean, the image is so familiar to us, whether from a cartoon or an elementary school history lesson.
See what I mean? Totally familiar, but very interesting to see in real life! [Image source].
From the museum peninsula we took a trikk (tram) over to Frogner Park, or, as it was referred to by some friends who recommended stuff to us before we went, “The Naked People Park.” Ha! They called it that because of the Vigeland Installation, a series of sculptures (yes, nudes) in the park by Gustav Vigeland.
The sculptures were lovely, full of emotion and, in my opinion, devoid of characteristics that would place them into any specific era, ethnic group, or religion. This one was my favorite:
Of course with that many sculptures we had to mimic some.
We also stopped and played a new favorite game of ours, called Run in Circles. It’s pretty self explanatory…
Continuing on from Frogner park we saw the Opera House. It is such a cool building! We walked on the top of the building, and checked out the view of the Oslo fjord. At this point we were just trying to check things off of our list of things we wanted do in Oslo. Our next stop (and thankfully for our feet, last) was the Akershus Fortress at sunset.
While there are a few museums that are part of the fortress, we just walked around the fortified walls and enjoyed the views. And that lovely view concluded our first full-to-the-brim day in Oslo.
We started our second full day at the National Gallery, an as-expected, good, solid, national art museum, with the highlight being The Scream by Norwegian artist Munch.We also saw the changing of the guard at the royal palace
and toured around Oslo’s City Hall, the place where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.
The building reminds me a lot of the Bankside Power Station (home to the Tate Modern museum) in London. They were finished in similar eras I guess. I practiced receiving an award, because obviously getting a Nobel Peace Prize is a realistic possibility for me…
At this point in our day we had a choice. We either had time to go into the Nobel Peace Prize Center (a museum about the history of the Nobel Peace Prize and the people that have won) or take a ferry ride out to Nessoden – the first place Derek’s dad lived when he served his mission in Norway. The weather was lovely and the fjord was inviting, so we hopped on a ferry.
We really just had time to get off the ferry, take a few pictures and get back on to make it back to Oslo, but we got to see these inviting summer houses and some ospreys take flight.
On our way back into the city we stopped at the Historical Museum, free with our Viking Ship Museum tickets,
stopped in a Freia shop to try some Norwegian chocolate,