Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Readers:  another post in our activity.  To read the adventure in the order of the events click HERE for the Day by Day Trip Report. To see all the photos go HERE

Vikings await . . . 

Oslo is the smallest of European Capitals but it has its fair share of sidewalks, museums, and notable structures.

Today was the Oslo City Tour, a 5-hour bus (on and off) tour of highlights of the City and surrounds.  We like the city tours.  City tours anchor the traveler in the spaces and directions; they show off the best of the city; they give hints about sights you'd like to explore in more detail.

Oslo Clarion Royal Christiania Hotel

Oslo City Hall

But first we had to find the gathering place, where the tour begins.  We'd had hints and pointings from Tore (Consul to the Seychelles) but this morning we were on our own.  We knew we had to get to City Hall and we knew that City Hall is off the main drag -- Karl Johans Gate (gate = street.)  We found our way to KJG and walked and strolled, doing a bit of window shopping on the "pedestrian" street.   "Pedestrian" street means no cars, but at 9 am it still translates into "delivery trucks allowed."  We dodged a few.

Corners and cut-throughs, a park and some close calls with a bus or two.  A stroll past the wharf and some 'discussion' about the building we very much wanted to be City Hall. Using time-honored navigation, we decided the west side was opposite the rising of the morning sun.  Sheer brilliance, don't you think?

An English-speaking bus driver confirmed the location when we finally arrived.  And within 15 minutes our bus had arrived, one of many coming and going from that "west side of City Hall' location.  (Factoid:  we learned at the Fram museum that the plaza is named for one of Norway's finest polar explorers.)

After the ride around down town;
"On the left side" and "on the right side" we saw:
Opera House
The Grand Hotel
Summer home of the Royal Family
Farm belonging to the Royal Family (royal cows, royal goats and  royal horses).
Old Oslo, was called Christiania til 1925, which was rebuilt after a fire, in the 16th century.

The Sculpture park was very moving. 

Gustav Vigenland sculpture park, an homage to man/woman relationships and child/parent relationships, all by the sculptor.

From the park, we drove up to the Hollmenkollen, a giant ski jump which was built for the 1952 Olympics and rebuilt many times. It is very beautiful and made my head swim just to look at it. Wait until you see the will want to turn and run!!! 

We had the privilege to see folks doing "zip line" across the slope. Most of their skiing is "cross country" as they don't have high mountains. Within 30 minutes of Oslo there  27,000m of groomed trails. It is said that Norwegians are born with ski's on their feet.

The tour ended with visits to three fabulous museums:  The Viking Museum; The Fram Museum, and the Kon Tiki museum. We would return to any of them for a longer visit and in-depth examination of facts and relics.  Fascinating art forms from the Vikings and the courage and the endurance demonstrated by all Polar explorers. 

Kon Tiki 

We ate lunch along the way, filling ourselves with treats we'd packed from the fabulous breakfaxt buffet. 

Breakfast: Pepper herring, fish pudding, pickled herring
orange marmalade, fried rice, boiled egg

Lunch: packed from breakfast buffett

Expensive food remains a theme, well, truthfully expensive everything is a better whay to characterize the theme.  Fridge magnets are $8.00 US.  Ouch!

Back at the hotel we took care of some logistics -- having our big bags portered to Bergen so we don't have to haul them.  Then a trip to scope out the track from where we think our train is departing.

We've organized baggage and photos and reviewed our day and checked weather for tomorrow.  NExt stop:  bed and a book.  we are both reading "Meet Me in Malmo" (which takes place in Sweden but still...)