This is our busiest day in Oslo before we head out on the train tomorrow to Bergen. First on the list is walking to the The Vigeland Park it is the world's largest sculpture park made by a single artist.
We managed to negotiate the route with only a wee bit of help from some locals. Just before the park I spot a cycling shop. I promised Sean I would find him a Norwegian jersey or something close. The lovely man working there fills my shopping bag full of what every he can find and we set off. I forget to ask for the VAT paperwork and have lost the chance to claim the 25% back at the airport.
The Vigeland park is amazing beyond our expectations. When you enter the park through some intricate iron gates you then cross over a bridge. It is really the most incredible spot and I am not able to come up with enough adjectives to describe it, nor take enough photos to give a visual. So you will just have to believe me when I say OMG.!!
The sculptures are nudes in various celebrations of life. Women men and children. For me the most poignant moment is watching a group of young school children draw and interact with the works on the bridge. They are each studying one of the pieces and drawing what they see. I love this as you can see how a countries' education system is teaching art appreciation at all ages with out the stigma that our Canadian system would have. Plus they have on this season's nordic skiing hats from their club and I really want one! Sharon and I love this park and would have spent the entire day with a picnic and enjoyed the massive space.
But like I said, today is a busy one. So we set off to find the subway which is easy and is marked with a T. We are asked by a couple if the trains goes to the Munch museum and we assure them that it does. Once we arrive at the station we make sure our tourist friends get off and we set off in the direction of the Munch museum to see the works of Edvard Munch and most notably the Scream. Today's exhibition is the combined works of Jorn and Munch . After enjoying the exhibition we arrive back at the front not having seen the Scream. So I say we have to go back maybe we missed a room. I inquire with one of the employees that informs us that it is resting and will be on display again in a few weeks. Oh no I can't come all this way and not see it. But I remember my very art informed friend Pam told me there are 4 or 5 versions. So one must be well rested I will find that one so I add that to our list of things to do.
Sharon and I keep the Norwegian economy going with our purchase in the gift shop and set off. It is now raining and we want to make our way back to the waterfront. Sharon is looking after the map so we still have one and we figure out our route. Oslo is really easy to navigate but what makes it super easy is everyone speaks English. I love that every time you ask someone if your on the right course they can give you perfect instructions. There have been times I have been lost in places like France when I ask in French for directions everyone shrugs their shoulders with an "I don't understand". I like Oslo, they don't shrug here! We have tickets to performance at the Opera house tonight and need to find its location whilst we are strolling plus we need to eat. We do find the Opera house, it is a wonderful piece of architecture. The whole area around the Opera house is a construction zone and we are not quite sure how will get through it all but decide to worry about that later. For now we need food and seem to be having trouble finding it. Finally the Scotsman is the answer to our hunger pains.....
After a good nights sleep we are greeted with a lovely breakfast that our host has laid out for us. We have yet to be introduced to Gaby and her partner Ole, hopefully we will meet up with them tonight.
We are armed with a map and a plan, well a loose plan and I managed to lose the map within a few minutes of walking towards the town center.
It does not take us long to walk to Karl Johans Gate the main shopping street in Oslo.
We find ourselves at what we think must be the Royal Palace, but since someone lost the map we can’t be sure…We make our way down to the waterfront as if we know were we’re going and enjoy the view. This area is all new or revitalized, there are new condos that have a place to park your boat instead of your car. They really are taking this no car thing to a whole new level
There is one thing that is making me not want to go inside the shops and that is the view. No, not the vista, but every single male that walks by us is jaw dropping gorgeous. They are all fit and dressed beautifully. The shoes; I just love the shoes! No one is wearing pajama pants or camo trousers. This place is a utopia of perfectness and I can’t seem to find a flaw. After an exhausting session of people watching we decide on a spot for lunch, mostly because the restaurant offers beautiful seafood and the outdoor viewing station means we can sit and admire the passing view.
This is when it happened, my bubble has burst, the flaw. Damn, it was going so well. The horrid smell while we are eating is cigarette smoke. You can smoke in the outdoor section of the restaurants. Yuck! I hate smoke with my shrimp! Oh well, at least no one is wearing pajama pants!
Time for a little culture, so we head over to Astrup Fearnley museum . Modern art is a favourite of mine and this museum has some amazing works. There are quite a few Damien Hirst pieces which include God Alone Knows and Cancer. Sharon and I both really like the Anselm Kiefer works.
They are very powerful and make you think.The rest of our day is spent walking and talking. We happen by the Nobel Peace Center and then go on to the City Hall. This is an amazing building and quickly becomes our go to landmark, as you can see it’s twin towers from many locations.
Really the whole city is like an outdoor museum. There are sculptures everywhere. The buildings are like iced cakes with intricate icing around the windows and doors. There really are no tourists around, there is just us and we blend in well, because I lost the map. The Autumn weather is perfect! There are still flowers in the gardens and Heather has replaced the summer annuals in the planters. It is time to search out a restaurant so we head back to our neighbourhood. After checking out what was on offer we decide on Schroders. Sharon would like to eat at a restaurant that serves Reindeer. She doesn’t need to eat the Reindeer, it just needs to be on the menu. This spot checks the box. We think we have chosen wisely as it is busy with locals and the size of the portions are large. The menu is what we think of as Norwegian comfort food. I decide on the wienerschnitzel and Sharon has the steamed trout.
As I admire the decor which is very homey I notice some framed newspaper chippings. They are written of course in Norwegian except for the name Harry Hole. Turns out that this is the fictional eating spot of a very popular crime novel, starring Harry Hole, by Jo Nesbo. We head back to the flat hoping to meet up with our hosts and we do. Gaby and Ole are wonderful and the perfect couple to have a coffee and a chat with. They are our gateway to Oslo. Gaby works in the travel industry and Ole has a Art Gallery in the south called Soli Brug. They are able to answer all our questions and give us loads of advise for our day out tomorrow.