Published: July 14th 2007July 14th 2007
Although I had been to Oslo once before, more than a decade ago, Meghan and I managed to see and experience so much that I felt I was visiting an utterly new city. On day one, between thundering downpours, we explored central Oslo on and around Karl Johans Gate, the main drag (the axis between the central train station and the palace). A particular highlight was seeing Edvard Munch's "The Scream" in person. But it was the second day, Meghan's first full one in Norway, that was the grand tour. With an absolutely beautiful sunny day awaiting us (a whole new world after the rain of the day before), we ventured first to the RÃ¥dhus to see its dramatic interior murals and then over to the Akershus Slott (Castle) with its panoramic views of the harbor. Next, we crossed by ferry to the idyllic peninsula of BygdÃ¸y, only ten minutes but a world away from the city. Here we undertook a marathon of museum hopping, starting with the extensive Norwegian Folk Museum with its buildings from all over Norway (including an amazing stave church - one of the things that first drew me to Norway when I was in elementary
school. I love the pagan mysticism exuding from these early Christian structures). Next we went to the Viking Ship Museum. I must admit that I am glad I got to see the Roskilde museum first, as it provided an excellent overview of "normal" Viking sea craft. But here were examples of truly magnificent burial ships. The Oseberg ship, the most famous of the trio on display, took my breath away with its intricate carving and gentle curves -- and its massive size. If these two museums were not enough, we walked through the quiet neighborhoods to yet another one, a sort of pilgrimage to the man who got me into travel and adventure in the first place: Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki Museum. I first read the story of the Kon-Tiki when I was in third grade if I remember correctly. And thus began my dreams of traveling the world.
Thoroughly exhausted from tourist trekking across the width and breadth of Oslo, we took a train up into the mountains surrounding the city and ensconced ourselves on the deck of the hunting-lodge-esque Frognerseteren Restaurant. With a cup of coffee in hand and the most decadent slice of apple-cake you can imagine,
we relaxed in the sun, watching the light reflect off the length of the Oslo Fjord and the distant city. All was right with the world.
Back to terra firma, with still hours of daylight to go at 8pm, we topped off the grand tour with a stroll in Vigeland Park. This was one place I had seen on my previous trip, but I was equally moved this time by the statues -- they exhibit every stage of life from birth to death and everything in between. The stone and bronze emote a rich humanity that is hard to describe. And Meghan felt it as well. She couldn't stop taking photos.
Unable to face returning to our bunks on the MS Innvik just yet, we decided to traverse the neighborhood of Frogner down to city center and have a sandwich on the harbor front. Our feet were aching after such a long, full day, but we were very happy.
There are more photos below