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Published: June 15th 2012
Tuesday 12th June 2012
After a good night's sleep we were on our way to the railway station by 0700, we wanting to be early for the 0758 departure so that we could pick up some food for lunch on the way. Fred and Lorraine arrived soon after and right on 0758 the train departed for Oslo.
The first section wasn't very interesting in that we only caught glimpses of the river, lakes and valleys we passed through as the train entered one tunnel after another. This improved about 2 hours into our journey and the route took us through green heavily wooded forests, passed rushing rivers, tumbling waterfalls, still lakes and other interesting scenery. There was still snow on the tops of mountains and at one stage we had thick snow all around us. When we stopped in a town in the middle of this we noticed we were at an altitude of 1222 metres above sea level. (info in given in train)
On arrival at Oslo we made our way to the Tourist Information centre where a very helpful young lady assisted us by ringing someone at the apartment where we would be staying
A white world outside at high altitudes.
We were glad to be inside the train when we saw this landscape!
to confirm our arrival which was reuired by the Chateau Apartments and we bought our tram tickets.
The tram section went as planned, it was only for just over 1 km to the stop and after a short walk we were there.
Then the fun started! Chateau Apartments are obviously a newly opened renovated building run by incompetents! There was a line of people at the office waiting for service, their computer wasn't accepting any credit cards or even printing out receipts! We later found out that this woman was new on staff and still learning.
When we finally got to our apartment we found that there was only 1 bathroom, not two as stated on our confirmation sheet. Fred and Rags went to reception to request a move only to be told that it wasn't available. They accused the manager of false advertising on the website, Bookings.com etc. They told her this was not good enough, she said she couldn't do anything about it, Rags insisted she ring the manager (who we were earlier told wasn't available) and Rags ended up having a heated conversation with her. After she insisted she could do nothing and Rags
Wheel of Life
This is the main theme of the park.
threatening to go to another hotel and making her pay for it she offered a 15%!d(MISSING)iscount. Rags inegotiated 20%!a(MISSING)nd this is the rate we settled on, somewhat reluctantly on her part. A bit of fun really on our part as we can share the bathroom, the discount paying for a meal.
Dinner was some food we bought at a nearby supermarket and the evening was spent talking over a couple of drinks and the heated meals. Most of us had an early night, giving Judy some quiet time to get some work done. Rags had an headache and he hopes this isn't the start of something – being sick on holidays is not a good thing.
Wednesday 13th June 2012
Had a great day today, Oslo isn't a bad place after all, in fact it could be a place to spend a week or so. The morning started with us setting off just after 0900, leaving Fred and Lorraine still unsighted which meant we had had the bathroom to oursleves after all! Rags felt much better and improved during the day. It was also still and almost sunny, making for pleasant strolling.
purchasing our all day transport pass (75NOK each from a 7-11) we caught the tram to Vigeland Park an 80 acre area functioning as a public park as well as a sculpture park. Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) was a renowned sculptor and did several commissions for the city who in 1924 gave him the exclusive use of the park on the proviso that all his work was willed to the city on his death.
The Wheel of Life sculptures in the park depict human life from birth through to death, there being 214 sculptures and 758 figures all modelled in full size or more. Most of the works, larger than life, have some connection with the cycle of life.
Almost two hours later we left the park, we could easily have stayed longer but there were other things to see! The harbour area was near the Aker Bridge, a small historical bridge over a river near the wharf. Here we found Wayne's Coffee where we first had a coffee at before finding some seating near the water in the sunshine where we ate the sandwiches we had brought for lunch. This area is still being developed with very plush
apartments being built there with expensive shopping below.It reminded us of East Perth, although there is more high rise here.
Just around the bay was the Akershus Slott a fort dating back to the Vikings. This fort was used as a fort, gaol, and now a museum and its history was described in pictures along the wall (with English translations). Outside the fort we had views over the main part of the harbour as well as a couple of huge cruise liners visiting the city.
Nearby was the Forsvarsmuseet, the Norwegian armed forces museum. This had displays of weapons from the Vikings to the Cold War period as well as the present conflicts where the UN is involved. We thought it would be a 'walk in, walk out' type of museum but we became engrossed in the displays. These were excellent and included all manner of antiquities including various Viking swords, chain mail and the like, moving through to feature real tanks, helicopters and various sorts of canon, depth charges, bombs and the like. Most was very well done with good information in English. There was a whole section on the Cold War but no English information here.
Judy in the APC. Be crowded with 6 or more men with full gear.
After leaving here we were also fortunate to catch the changing of the guard ceremony at 1.30. From here we waved off the huge Eurodam ocean liner that we had seen earlier. We had spoken to a couple earlier who told us they had to be back at the ship for 1.30, and they were disappointed they only had half a day in Oslo when they felt it needed longer, sure did!
Rather than taking a tram we walked through some streets, coming to one of the main malls in Oslo. Besides the shops (most having "Sales”) we mixed with large crowds from the cruise ships and were entertained by the 'living statues' who seemed to be on every corner if there wasn't a beggar. Here, we checked out some suitcases Judy had seen yesterday, the one she was using has developing a faulty zip and she has dreams of all her clothes falling out in an airport. They were the Samsonite brand and well discounted but we held off buying one until after we had been to the Tourist Information centre for tomorrow's rail tickets to the airport.
The all-day transport ticket was again put to
Lion statue in city
We read about about this being made by a prisoner in the fort many years ago.
use, taking the newly acquired case back to the apartment and giving our legs a well-needed rest. After coffee and last night's leftover pizza we felt refreshed enough to go out again, this time the Oslo Radhous (City Hall) where there are motifs of Norwegian history,culture and working life displayed. The Nobel Peace Prize is also awarded here.
Sure enough, when we got there it was closed for renovations and setting up for the Nobel celebrations. Every town and city, both here and in the Netherlands seem to have something being done to them!
We did walk up the hill from here to see the Royal Palace, it too was undergoing what looked like roof restoration. It was set in beautiful grounds open to the public all year round. Royalty weren't present obviously, as there was little security, just a few soldiers walking up and down and a couple of police cars on the road in.
Continuing on we came across Parliament house, an impressive building surrounded by some very impressive hotels. These we guess, are for the politicians when they are in town.
By now our feet were getting sore so we returned to the
mall we previously walked through to the Central Railway station and caught the tram back to our room. Here we found Fred and Lorraine back from their day and over a drink and a few nibbles had fun exchanging experiences.
As we have a flight to catch tomorrow we said our farewells to Fred and Lorraine as we intend leaving the apartment at 0700. Our flight isn't until 1040 but what with having to be there about 2 hours beforehand, having to catch a tram to Central Station and then catching a train the 50 or so kms to the airport, we don't want to put ourselves under un-necessary stress.
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