Inside Norway: Amazing Oslo
From Copenhagen, Denmark, we boarded an overnight ferry to Oslo, Norway. With a capacity of over 1,700 passengers, it was the biggest boat that we had been on this trip. It offered cabin with shower, duty-free shop, casino, several dining options, and dancing the night away in the nightclub for those who were interested.
We arrived in Norway’s capital of Oslo early in the morning. Once ashore, we boarded the bus to Frogner Park, the city’s largest, that contains Gustav Vigeland’s more than 200 nude sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron It’s been said that he made them without clothes so that they would be timeless and not identified with any era.
Our next stop was Norway’s most popular tourist attraction, the Holmenkollen National Ski Arena for ski jumping and Nordic skiing. It includes a museum presenting over 4,000 years of skiing history as well as a ski simulator that allows the public to vicariously experience downhill skiing and jumping down the slope like a Pro.
Afterwards, we headed downtown for a little sightseeing and visited some famous landmarks including the City Hall where the Annual Nobel Peace Award Ceremony is held.
We also saw some interesting sculptures including that of a prostitute. The man on her left is supposed to be the pimp and the one on her right is the john.
As we walked around, I was surprised to see homeless people and beggars. After all, Norway is one of the richest country in the world. I learned that these folks are either nonresidents coming from other countries or legal residents who live on the streets by choice due to some kind of mental illness or drug addiction. In Norway, all legal residents qualify for welfare and housing assistance if they need it.
On the following day, we took the ferry to the Bygdøy peninsula which is home to several museums featuring Norway’s strong maritime heritage and identity. With a 24-hour Oslo Pass, we got free access to the Viking Ship Museum, Fram Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, and Maritime Museum.
The Viking Ship Museum shows as its main attraction a well-preserved ship and its contents from the Viking Age called the Oseberg named after the farm where it was discovered and excavated. It was built in 810 A.D. The other ancient ships on display are the Gokstand and the Tune.
The Fram Museum tells the story of Norwegian explorations in the Arctic and the Antarctic. It features the fully restored Fram, the first ship used for polar research in the 1890s as well as objects collected from various expeditions.
The Kon-Tiki Museum relives the exploits of Norwegian explorer, Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002), who crossed the Pacific Ocean on the balsawood Kon-Tiki in 1947 from South America. It was followed by other expeditions aimed at proving that long voyages across the open sea was possible during the ancient times.
The Maritime Museum explores the importance of the sea to Norwegian history and culture from the ancient times to the present day. Unfortunately, it was past noon and I was getting tired to see more old boats and marine artifacts. I did manage to visit its environment exhibit related to plastics and other debris picked up from the ocean. It begs the question, “Is it necessary to make plastic items for use only once?” Well, I think you know what the answer is.
At the museum cafeteria, I ordered smoked salmon sandwich. It came open-faced with the salmon and trimmings on top of a slice of bread. Since I never had this kind of sandwich before, it followed that I didn’t know how to handle it. At first, I thought of cutting it in half and putting the halves together like a real American sandwich. But then it’d be too thick to eat. In this instance, having a roving eye saved me from making a mess of myself. Looking around, I learned that it should be eaten with a knife and fork.
After lunch, we had the rest of the afternoon and evening free. I boarded the ferry back to the Oslo harbor. I took advantage of the Oslo Pass and visited the Resistance Museum. It took me some time to find it, but it was well worth it. The museum has a large collection of World War II memorabilia related to Norwegian struggle against Nazi occupation.
As I walked back to the hotel, I stopped at the 7-11 convenience store to grab something to eat for dinner. I found out the cashier and helper happen to be Filipinos and the owner is a Filipino, too. What a small world!
On the following day, we left Oslo and headed northwest to Maihaugen Open-
Air Folk Museum on the way to Elvesæter, a small village in the valley of Bøverdal.