Oslo, Norway (5.18.10 – 5.21.10)

My plane got into London Stansted a little after 5PM, and it was almost 8PM by the time I got back to Balham. I switched my things to my bigger backpack and repacked for the next month and a half. I got to spend a little time with my aunt and cousins, but at 11:15, I took off on the underground to get to the bus station so that I could head back to the airport. My flight to Oslo was early in the morning, so I had to spend the night in the airport once more; I’m getting very good at sleeping on that air-vent. A little after 8AM, my flight left for Oslo Rygge, which is a Ryan Air airport that is not even remotely part of the city in the name. In this case, it was a little over an hour outside of Oslo. I took the bus into the city, and then had to figure out the tram system so that I could get to my host’s house. Espen, my host, and I met at about 1PM, and walked around the city for a while, before he had to leave for an appointment. I continued to explore, and I walked back to the center. Oslo is beautiful, and it’s quite remarkable to see a city that appears to have been dropped in the forest; Oslo is surrounded by water and trees… it seems not to belong. Though Oslo is a pleasant city, with magnificent surroundings, there isn’t that much to see there. I walked down the main drag, which is lined with overpriced shops, and leads past theater houses, and official looking old buildings. It leads to the Palace, where I watched the changing of the guard; it was unimpressive. I think maybe these guards were in training, because they couldn’t stay in formation, and kept looking at one another and chatting, when they should have been facing forward, listening to commands. After watching the comical spectacle, I went and sat in the park for a while to read. Once Espen was done with work for the day, I met him back at his place, and then we went  out to meet a couple of his friends for a beer.
On Thursday, I set out to see the Opera house, which is in the city center, and sits right on the edge of the water; it’s a beautiful white, modern building, with sharp lines that lend to a truly unique appearance. Afterwards, I headed to the National Museum, which houses, among other works, large collections of Norwegian artists, such as J.C. Dahl, Hans Dahl, and Eduard Munch. They had Munch’s ‘The Scream,’ which I WISH I could have gotten a picture with, because you and I both know that it would have been ridiculous and amazing. To my dismay, no photos were allowed in the museum. I spent the rest of the day wandering small streets, and again, reading in the park. Once Espen was done with work, we met up and went to a free local concert, but arrived too late to see anybody perform; we settled on drinking beer.
On Friday, I set off to see the Vigeland park, which was absolutely fantastic. The park grounds are huge, and the bridge that leads to the central area of work is lined with sculptures. The sculptures are exclusively of people; they are never clothed, and always in strange positions. I loved it. I’ve chosen some of my favorites for you to see, which you can find below. After the park, I took a bus into the forest; in the winter this is where people go skiing, and it lends a magnificent view over the city. I then decided to head to Bygdøy, which is an area of Oslo that is supposed to have some nice beaches. It took me quite a while to get out there, and before I had a chance to see anything, it was time to head back to Espen’s so that I could pick up my bag and go to the train station to catch my night train to Bødo.

The Royal Palace in Oslo

The uninspiring changing of the guard at the Royal Palace

The Oslo opera house

A marching band that I happened upon while walking the streets of Oslo

A neat wall mural in Oslo (they’re everywhere in Eastern Europe)

Vigeland Park

The following are some of my favorite statues from the Vigeland Park

The view over Oslo from the forest

next up… Bødo!

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