We arrived back in Oslo in the early afternoon. The bus ride from Gothenburg took about 3 hours, a nice drive through Sweden’s country side. Our hotel, the Hotel Christiania Teater, was located in the city center, close to city hall and the harbor. The room had a luxurious feeling with an orange and gold florentine pattern lining the wall, heated floors in the bathroom and a waterfall shower. Our location provided a lovely view of the city square and the national theater.
We took the tram to Vigeland Park, a large park filled with “Gustav Vigeland’s lifework with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron.” The centerpiece is Monolith, a pillar comprised of 121 figures—visible when you first step into the park. Hundreds of figures lined the paths the spacious park, many in expressive shapes and postures.
We walked back to the hotel just as the rain was starting to fall. In need of a Chinese fix, we went to Honsan for dinner. When you want in the door you feel like you have either walked into a night club or a spa. The lights are blue and purple and the sound of trickling water creates a sense of calm. The plump laughing Buddha makes me smile as I walk to our table seated next to the fish pond which provided entertainment as we awaited our food.
After we felt satisfied and awake, we walked down to the harbor to catch the Bygdøyfergene to the museums. Getting off at the first stop, Dronningen, we trekked through the rain to the Viking Ship Museum, about a 10 minute walk. The Viking ships stood tall and noble in the open space. The dark wood and elegant curves creating dramatic shadows on the walls. Across the atrium space is a room filled with Viking treasures to admire.
When you walk in there is a massive ship, The Fram, whose body was taller than the three levels of the museum! A tour bus had just dropped off a large group of people, so we decided to bypass them and come back to the ship later.
Museum tip: If it’s crowded at the entrance of a museum or exhibit, go to the end and work your way back.
While the ship’s massive scale was impressive in and of itself, the attention to detail throughout the museum was remarkable. The lunch tables were little cabin nooks with pictures on the walls and a window looking out at various moving scenes, such as the Northern Lights. Plopping you right into a cozy little rugged Norwegian setting. There were several interactive games and displays; you could test out your sled-pulling strength, look for the constellations and more—fun for children and adults! Well-composed displays filled the other levels.
We were admiring the ship from the top floor when we saw someone moving from within. We quickly discovered you could board the ship!
I inhaled, breathing in the smell of the old, weathered wood. Inside, each cabin displayed memorabilia of the explorers. There was a kitchen, piano, phonograph, velvet couch and old photographs hanging on the walls. You could start to imagine life on the boat during their polar expeditions.
After we explored the ship, we thought we had seen everything. Then we caught glimpse of a old school horror-style poster that read “must see ice mummy!” The wall looked like a large wooden shipping container, like something you’d see at a Halloween haunted house. We pushed the button to open the door. You walk into a very small space where you push another button. When that door opens you start to feel the cold air. The walls look of ice. The deeper you go, the colder it gets. You see the frozen ice mummies along the walls as you meander through the ice tunnels.
With the rain still falling, we took the ferry back to the city harbor. We walked back towards the hotel, and stopped in at a gallery I had seen the night before.
The artist on exhibit was, Trond Bredesen, whose illustrations can be found on food packaging, book covers, posters, Christmas Coke print ads, board games, you name it. His work was impressive work to say the least and a dream for any graphic artist!
For our last dinner in Oslo, we went to Prima Fila and Italian restaurant around the corner from our hotel. Neither the meal service were that notable, but the pasta did the job.
Norway is an expensive country and Oslo certainly lives up to that, so be aware of pricy dinners, souvenirs and shopping. The harbor is beautiful, take time to walk along the water and admire the ships. The Fram museum is a must! Vigeland park is worth the visit and a perfect place for a picnic if it’s a nice day. Check out the other things I did in Oslo in my first post of the series.
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