Oslo is the capital of Norway and its only big city. We left Stockholm and drove
across central Sweden, into Norway and found the campground overlooking the city
all in one day. Norway is not part of the EU and we had to go through customs when
entering the country. A few kilometers from the border the road widened to two lanes. There
was a pair of overhead signs; over the right lane it said "Items to Declare" and
had a arrow pointing to the parking area; over the left lane it said "Nothing to
Declare". That was the customs check, we took the left lane.
We set up camp for three days and bought the "Oslo Card". It gives travel on all
public transportation, museum entrances, discounts on food and drink and other benefits.
Our first day we took the bus to town, walked the tourist/pedestrian/shopping area
downtown and then took the ferry to "Museum Island". On it is the "Maritime Museum",
Kon-Tiki Museum", Fram Museum" and the "Folk Museum".
We started with the Maritime Museum, which was standard about the maritime history
of Norway and went to the Fram Museum. The Fram is a wooden ship built in the late
1800's specifically to go to the polar regions. The design, planking and inner structure
is special for ice pack use. She has been farther north and farther south than any
other surface ship. In the 1890's she was sailed north in an attempt to reach the
north pole. She sailed until she was locked into the ice and than drifted with the
ice pack for three years before being released. She did not make the north pole. Some
other attempts were made too but none got to the pole. Amundsen took it on his expedition
to the south pole in 1911. It is open for touring and has exhibits of the gear and
clothing they took with them. I would not have wanted to spend three years in that
ship, especially without TV football games!
Thor Heyerdahl took a balsa wood raft from South America to the South Sea atolls
to prove that the atolls could have been colonized from the east. It is on display
in the museum. It has a new woven mat cabin and rigging, but is the same raft. It
took them 101 days in 1947 to cross from Peru to Polynesia, another sea voyage I'd
rather not have been on. They crashed onto the reef surrounding the atoll (the raft
didn't steer well at all) but no one was hurt and they rescued their gear and raft.
He also took a voyage across the Atlantic in a Papyrus reed raft to prove it could
be done. The RA raft came apart and sank, so after rescue he built RA II and completed
the voyage in 1970. Another trip I would rather skip. And I do like to sail, but
in more comfort.
The Folk Museum was the last stop that day. It was similar to the others we have
visited with re-constructed buildings and people in costume. This one included this
wonderful Stave Church with its dragonhead roof decorations. Inside were wood carvings
and some fantastic wrought iron door hinges that did not photograph well, no flash
was allowed and these are very dark churches inside.
The Scandinavian countries were converted to Christianity in the 900's to 1100's
and today are mostly Protestant.
One of the main reasons we bought the three-day version of the Oslo Card is that
this card came with a lunch cruise on a sailing ship.
An all-you-can-eat shrimp lunch buffet. Included in our Oslo Card! They did not
make any profit off of us!
When one figures the price of the public transportation we took, including the ferries,
and all the museums we entered, it equaled the card price, this was free!
And as an additional highlight of the day, there was a huge sailboat race that day. Over
1000 boats in many different classes, each class starting at different times but
from the same starting line. This is what it looked like behind the starting line
as boats jockeyed for position. This is my kind of sailing!
The last day was highlighted by going to Vigeland Park. Gustav Vigeland was a sculptor
and artist that became very popular in his home town of Oslo. So popular that in
1921 the city built him a very nice large studio and home from which to work. The
catch was that the city got all current and originals of future works he created. He
worked mostly in bronze and granite but also did wrought iron and woodcuts. The
fountain is 4 men holding up a disk with a wall of water pouring off it. There are
statues around the pool and the maze in the walking area is 3 km. long if one followed
it all the way. This maze is different from most in that it does not end in the
center. One enters on either the far side of the fountain or just to right of my
position and then one exits at the opposite side.
The next several pictures are of his work. He did mostly nude figures and left the
city with hundreds. There are over 200 in this park alone with the obelisk, out
of one solid piece of granite, his crowning achievement.
This one known as "The Tantrum" is on lots of postcards. He is essentially life-size.
Another bronze. Most of the bronzes lined the sides of a bridge over a creek and
The raised area with the obelisk. The area had lots of larger than life-size granite
The obelisk itself is a swirling mass of bodies.
An elderly couple at the base of the obelisk. Each of the figures has emotion and
feeling, often love, sometimes anger, and many others. None are just a static pose.
The four sides of the raised area around the obelisk had wrought iron gates. Two
featured men and two women. I was able to get this picture without a confusing background,
so it is the one you get to see.
Another look at the fountain with one of the bronze sculptures at the edge of the