norway · Uncategorized

Vikings and Romantic Strolls in Oslo

Originally published on 29 May 2014.

Welcome to Oslo! After getting in late after out train ride last night, we woke to a beautiful, sunny morning in Norway’s capital city!

First up: a run around town! Shocking, I know. We’ll go down to the water, run around some historic sites… or we’ll turn the wrong way and end up in the industrial district… which is what actually happened! Whoops! I slow Steve down when we run together, so even though he wanted to stay with me while we were running in all these foreign countries, slowing him down made me feel bad enough for him that I told him to run free! My phone’s running app has a map on it, so I could find my way back easily. Disaster averted.

And hopefully everyone knows a run necessitates a shower. But let me tell you something about Norwegian hotel showers… they’re messy! Or at least we never figured out how to take a shower unmessily. There’s a glass door that only covers half the length of the tub/shower, and unfortunately, the water went a bit beyond that, especially when it splashed off of me! Sorry I neglected to get a picture. But really, it was just wet. Everywhere.

To the waterfront! as with most history-laden cities, the old stuff is by the water. Who wants to go on a little ferry ride with us? Off to a Scandinavian island paradise!

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We bought Oslo passes for unlimited access to several museums and transportation, including the ferry ride. We decided to go to the Norweigian culture museum first. It’s an open-air museum, so we were glad it was such a beautiful day! The flowers were beautiful, there were exhibits about Norwegian life through the years, including buildings that were hundreds of years old, and my favorite part was the Stave Church, built in the year 1200!

Funny looking, huh? But really cool! All that carving is original, as are the paintings inside! Can you imagine? That’s over 800 years old! And as a special treat, here’s a guy dressed in traditional Norwegian clothes, specific to a nearby town!

He was really nice! And here’s a house with grass and flowers on top for insulation. Very Scandinavian!

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And for something else very Scandinavian, we’re off to the Viking Ship Museum!

So, Vikings are apparently very misunderstood. The museum holds lots of artifacts and even a VERY well-preserved Viking ship, discovered in a yard by some kids in 1879. The serpent’s head above is a replica of the original on the front of the ship. Sometimes the Vikings would send ships off with mummified bodies as a funeral and “burial.” Like the Egyptians, they sent their people off to the afterlife with all they could need–live animals, food, jewels, money, tools, etc. Pretty swanky! So all those ships either ran aground or eventually sank, I suppose. Very interesting stuff!

And now to a more somber, less-expected adventure: the Norwegian holocaust museum. The Holocaust here is part of the reason there is still some animosity between Norway and Sweden today–the Swedes were “neutral but friendly” toward Germany, and they allowed Nazis into Norway. Many Norwegians (Jews and others) were send to Dachau and other concentration camps as a result.

Moving on to happier things, another ferry ride! Next stop, the mainland and the Nobel Peace Museum! Which, unfortunately, was a big fat disappointment. There wasn’t anything really about Nobel himself, and only a small exhibit about the prize winners. Mostly it was about some cause that I can’t even remember now! Oh, and chemical warfare. Those two things took up 90% of the museum. Skip it.

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Next, a romantic stroll around the castle! The castle grounds were quite lovely. The museum was already closed by the time we arrived, but the grounds offered lots to see!

By now we’re getting hungry… Good thing our Oslo pass also includes discounts on restaurants! The one we decided to go to, I think it was called the Christiana, was definitely a tourist restaurant, but the food was delicious! I got a type of fish I’d never heard of the before (Lind, perhaps?), and it was amazing! These Scandinavians really know how to blend flavors without everything getting lost in the sauce, so to speak. Take a look!

The fish is in the foreground with veggies and mashed potatoes, and Steve’s steak frites are in the background. On the dessert plate, from left to right, we have a cookie, the cutest and tiniest cupcake ever, a brownie-hazelnut thing, and passionfruit mousse. Yum!

Time for bed! The sun stays out a while here, but Steve and Whitney don’t! Hungry for more Oslo? Tomorrow we set out in search of… the SCREAM!

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