Touring Oslo

We travelled from Stockholm to Oslo on an evening train. The journey took ~4.5 hours and the countryside we passed through was very reminiscent of western Alberta.

Arriving in Oslo, the girls headed off to the airbnb they had reserved and Harv & I walked down Karl Johans Gate to our hotel, the Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz. It seemed like a bit of a trek – but in reality, it was a fairly short walk. We were just tired, it was 9 pm, we were pulling our luggage and of course, there is always the concern that you may not know where you are going…. But we arrived and were very pleased with the hotel. This great first impression continued over our entire stay – what a great hotel! One of my all-time favourites!

The next morning, we were feeling much more energetic and after a great hotel breakfast, and a cappuccino to-go, we met the girls at the Espresso House in the train station for some sightseeing.

As usual, we started with the Rick Steves walking tour. Leaving the station, we encountered the statue of a prowling tiger. This statue reflects Oslo’s nickname of Tigerstaden (Tiger Town) and commemorates the 1000th birthday of Oslo in 2000.

Our first stop was the new Oslo Opera House. This fabulous structure, along the water’s edge, was opened in 2008. A fun aspect is that you are able to walk all over the top of the structure. The Opera House is part of a massive harbour re-development project that will include a new library and national museum.

Our walk took us down Karl Johans Gate, the grand boulevard of the city.

We stopped in at the Oslo Cathedral (Domkirke) which was built in 1697 after the first two cathedrals burned down.

There is a lovely park along Karl Johans Gate, sitting next to the National Theater.

Oslo City Hall is a grand building built in the 1930s and filled with great art. Leading into the building are a number of colourful woodcuts, which show scenes from Greek mythology.

Oslo’s harbourfront redevelopment incorporates the lovely harbour boats and a modern new housing and commercial area. The modern Scandinavian architecture is prominent.

After our walking tour, we took a bus to visit Vigeland Park. This park contains the lifetime work of sculptor Gustav Vigeland, which consists of 192 bronze and granite statue groupings, a total of 600 figures – each nude and unique. Many of them were quite entertaining. It was fun to  wander around on a lovely, sunny afternoon!

To cap off our day, we visited an Ice Bar! Being early in the evening, we had the place all to ourselves and it was a fun and unique experience.

On our second day in Oslo, we took a ferry to the Bygdoy neighbourhood. There are a number of museums located in this area and we visited two of them.

The Viking Ship Museum houses two finely crafted, majestic oak Viking ships dating from the 9th and 10th centuries. The ships were discovered in burial mounds, along with many items reflecting the life of the people of the times.

The Fram Museum holds the Fram, the 125 foot ship that took Norwegian explorers Roand Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen deep into the Arctic and Antarctic, and the Gjoa, the ship that Amundsen used to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage. The history of the exploration into these areas is thoroughly covered and it was very interesting to study this history. The girls decided that Nansen is definitely a superhero for his many accomplishments!

On our return day to Oslo (after our trip to Bergen that I will post about later), Harvey & I wandered about the Akershus Fortress Complex. This park-like complex sits upon Oslo’s fortified old centre and is still a military base. Although there are a few buildings to visit, the main attraction is the the terrific harbour views from the ramparts.

We roamed around the central streets and by some of the other sights including the Royal Palace – the flag was flying, indicating that the King was present.

We left Oslo by train on our Bergen adventure and returned by plane to Oslo’s shiny new airport and to spend another night at the wonderful Thon Rosenkrantz.

Oslo lacks much of the historical charm of Stockholm and other European cities we have been to, but it was an enjoyable city to visit and we are happy to have spent time there.

Next up will be a review of our Norway in a Nutshell journey!



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