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Published: September 16th 2019
I'm not sure a group of people have ever been so happy to disembark a ship. We met up with our group and made the short walk to our hotel. I'm pretty sure I've said it before but Steve and Linda pick the best hotels. Always centrally located and easy to find once you've been out and about because they are near a major point of interest. In Paris, we were near Luxembourg Gardens. In Copenhagen, we were just 2 blocks from the Nyhavn canal and here, in Oslo, we are near the harbor and the Opera House. Again, we are able to walk to numerous attractions or jump right on public transportation close to the hotel.
It is too early to check in so we stow our bags and hop on the tram to Vigeland Sculpture Park. If you know anything about me or remember back to Paris and the Rodin museum, I'm not really a fan of sculpture. However, just like in Paris, I'll give anything a chance and there is a large park as well. What's not to enjoy?!
As we enter the park, I notice how crowded it is....with Asian tourists. Now, the only reason I'm bothered by this is because Asians are crazed when it comes to taking pictures. Not only do they really fit the stereotype but, in 2019, they have full on photo shoots. Same person, same shot, 60 different poses. Seriously. Young and old alike. There is also that ONE person who is COMPLETELY oblivious to anyone else that might want to get a picture of the same thing. They will stand there, scrolling through their camera roll, contemplating the meaning of life, rocking back and forth of their heels, all while you'd just like a quick photo without them in it. It sends me over the edge.
The park is set up so that the sculpture is down through the middle of the park. Wide open expansive sections of paths and trees are on either side. There are huge flower beds in between the areas of sculpture and that helps ease the crowding of tourists. While everyone else rushes to the sculpture, Mom and I stop to smell the roses. Literally.
We slowly make our way to the showpiece in the center of the park, focusing instead on iron gates and flowers we can't identify. As the crowd continues on to the back half of the sculptures, we turn around and head back the way we came. I had noticed a cafe and hoped we might be able to take a tea break.
After our tea and fresh baked goods, we return to the entrance where we have an agreed upon meeting time. I ask where a restroom is and am told that it is down at the end of the building and you have to pay 15kr. That's essentially $1.50USD. To. Go. To. The. Bathroom. Well, I can either pee down my leg or pay so I dig out the money and head to the bathroom. This is my first bathroom experience in Norway. Toilets in Denmark were free and super clean. This bathroom, while looking clean, smelled like an alley in Paris. Old pee. Gross. I don't really mind paying but you'd think for the money, they'd do something about that odor.
We head back to the hotel to check into our rooms and get ready for our walking tour of the city. Our guide for the afternoon, Stian (I'm guessing at the spelling) is a very large Norwegian. Off we go toward the Opera House.
The Opera House is right on the harbor and built to resemble an iceberg.....a glacier? I can't remember. It's white Italian marble.....the whole building. It is an amazing showpiece for the city AND you can walk all the way around and up to the roof for a wonderful view of the harbor.
As we are standing there, Stian is telling us about the building next to the Opera House. It is the Munch museum. Google Edvard Munch. You'll know what I'm talking about. Anyway, as we are standing there, just down in front of the museum, is a little building. I'm trying to figure out if I really just saw a man strip down to his birthday suit. I can clearly see ass cheeks.
"Is that a naked man?"
Stian, "Yes, those are floating saunas." **looks at him over my reading glasses**
Every woman, "Where are you looking?"
So who's coming to Oslo with me to rent a floating sauna?!
We continue our walk to Akershus fortress. The oldest parts were built in 1100. The entire area is fascinating. Right on the harbor, it has defended the city for almost a millennia. How cool is that? For you Disney folks, Akershus is not just the restaurant at the Norwegian pavilion at EPCOT. It's the whole building! Who knew?!
Stian shows us the National Theater, the Royal Palace, Oslo Cathedral and the Parliament. He tells us about prominent Norwegians (all of whom I would nod my head about if I heard those names again) but all of their names escape me except for Ibsen. Google him. Henrik Ibsen.
The most important information Stian imparts on us is the fact that Nestle once sued Norwegian Chocolate maker, Freia, over their Kwik Lunsj candy bar, stating that they had copied the Kit Kat. Freia proved in court that the Kwik Lunsj (pronounced Quick Lunch) predated the Kit Kat and was allowed to continue making them. Well, you don't need to mention a chocolate comparision to my mother, before you know it, we were stopping at the Freia store to buy a couple. She says they are delicious and better than a Kit Kat. Other members of our group concur. We bought 3 more to bring home to share. We don't have any left. We will have to buy more. I'm hoping they last til we get home. I might have to buy them in secret!
After the tour, we were all free to head to dinner. Most people were sticking close to the hotel since we had already walked a good distance today. Mom and I decided to tack on another 6000 steps and head to a new food hall we had seen on maps. We decided on burgers and fries as it was the first restaurant we came to and we knew that the whole area shut down rather early (8pm).
By the time we got back to the hotel, we had logged over 20,000 steps. Weary and a little sore we headed to the room to decompress, read and blog. Time is flying and I'm super excited for the museums tomorrow!
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