As soon as I got off the plane in Oslo, Norway I knew I was in a way different place than Kyrgyzstan. Everything was different, from the glass jet ways at the beautiful airport, to the cool and rainy weather, to clean and perfect houses, and to so many other thing that would take to long to list….BUT the easiest way to see the different is to pay for anything!!!!! Norway is expensive!!!!! A couple of examples:
1) my taxi ride in Kyrgyzstan was 30 km, at 2:30am, door to door, private, and only cost $8. My ride from the Oslo airport was about the same distance, but was on a train and cost $25 and then you need to figure out how to get where you want to go in the city center!
2) In Kyrgyzstan I got a pizza for two delivered for $5. In Norway a hotdog at 7-11 cost $4-7.
Ok that is enough examples of the price difference. Let me tell you why Norway is worth the expense. Well in a nutshell, because there is so much to see and do, the people are wonderful, and the outdoors are gorgeous. As soon as the train let me off I walked across the street and stared at the opera house (1st photo). This building is awesome for two reasons, first anyone is allowed to walk all over the outside of the building and up the inclined roofs, second the building quite literally is built into the water. I am serious when I tell you that slant atthe water’s edge keeps going! The other thing I did was visit Middelaider Park and see the ruins (these were built in the very late 11th century – 2nd photo) of the few remaining churches from the old city. You see Norway is blessed with lots and lots of trees, so in the olden days everything was built of wood. Can you see where this is going? I promise you, that at some point in the history of any Norwegian town you will hear the phrase “and the town burned down”. Well the fire in 1624 (it burned for 3 days, whoa) made the king move the city a mile or two so it would be closer to the fort and that is why downtown is where it is.
I was lucky and spent my three days with friends and guest I had last New Years. The day after I arrived Kristine, the mom, played tour guide and showed me all kinds of places. We started on the main waterfront (I have a great photo coming out tomorrow) and started walking towards City Hall, which both her and her husband said was just a building, but I want to see where they hand out the Nobel Peace Prize. After seeing this building I whole heartily told both of them it is not JUST a building, but you will have to wait until Tuesday when I will write in depth as to why it is not. The next stop on our walking tour of the city center (Oslo is compact enough that walking is very easy to see everything) was the Royal Palace. Did you know Norway had a King? Well they do and because the Norwegian society is so open and everyone should be equal there was no gate or fence around the palace. I am not kidding! Kristine and I walked up to within 10 feet of the front door and a bit over an arm length from the two guards and had a discussion about how much closer could we get to see our friend Harry (that would be King Harold V to you 🙂 ).
As we walked back to the waterfront we passed the university, parliament, and a local comedy show that airs on TV. Obviously I had no idea who they were, but Kristine got a selfie of us and them and her family went nuts when we got home that night. The fort (3rd photo) was a fort that was built in the early 1300’s and inside it was like being in a park. From there I got us food from the grocery store and we headed to an actual park called Vigeland Sculpture Park, where we had lunch and walked around viewing the sculpture. Most of them had naked kids in them and the most famous one is called Angry Boy, but frankly I do not get why this is the one everyone gravitates towards since there were nicer ones near it. The last thing we did before heading home to have a traditional Norwegian meal of shusi 🙂 was go out to Holmenkollen, which is a famous ski jump (on Wednesday I have a great photo of it publishing). The structure is amazing in style and while we were at the top they tested a zip line (no snow means no ski jumping) with a punching bag. That sucker zoomed out of there and it J U S T keep going. It seemed to take forever and I so wanted to ride it!
The next day I bought the Oslo Pass and got to ride the metro and a ferry boat for free, so I could visit several museums. The first was the Viking Ship Museum (4th photo). Worth it as you get to see 4 actual Viking ships that are 800-1200 years old. These ships were found in burial mounds around the country. They were working ships, but were buried under huge mounds along with the body, wagons, tools, household items, treasure, and more. Another fascinating museum was the Norwegian Folk Museum, which has been around since the mid 1800’s. They have transported 160 building from around the country and from different eras to show life in Norway. On Thursday I will write exclusively about this museum. Two other museum were for boats. The first is the polar ship Fram, which is the last wooden icebreaker and was lived aboard fro three years as the ship was stuck in the ice on purpose to research arctic ice movement. The second, is the Kon Tiki, which was a balsa wood raft built and use to cross the Pacific from Peru by Thor Heyerdahl.
So there you go. Three days in Oslo (of course on Saturday I will be putting out a travel video for you also). What were my favorite things? Well I really like City Hall, the ski jump, Viking ship, and the Folk Museum, but watching group after group of kindergartners walking in lines with their rubber boots and little rain slickers on was fun. They looked like little ducklings.