Thursday 13 August Oslo, Norway

This morning we woke to a beautiful day – the sun was shining and the sky was blue and we had docked in Oslo. Today is Changeover Day – the Fjords and Fairytales cruise finishes, the passengers who are not continuing to do the next cruise disembark, and the Best of the Baltics Cruise starts this afternoon. Levi, our wonderful cabin stewardess will move our clothes etc to our new cabin on Deck 3 while we are out on a full day tour of Oslo.
After breakfast, we said goodbye to the passengers who were not continuing with us. We boarded a bus, with the other 27 passengers who will be continuing, and we enjoyed a full day tour of the fascinating city of Oslo, which is the capital of Norway and has a population of 650,000. Oslo is said to be “the Viking city, the culture city, the winter capital, the city of rolling green hills and the capital city of Norway.” Central Oslo is surrounded by forests and there is a rule that 2/3 of Oslo ‘s area must stay as forest. Oslo is Europe’s fastest growing capital.
We were taken for a drive through the city, with our local guide, Aksel, pointing out various interesting buildings along the way. We saw the Fortress, which is the only medieval building left after the city burnt down 17 times. We stopped for a photo stop opposite the Opera House, which is an interesting building that you can walk up onto the roof. We were driven past the Cathedral, the Railway Station, the National Gallery, the University, the Palace to name a few.
We saw the Western Bay with lots of Tall Ships and the Gallery of Contemporary Art and then we were taken out to the outskirts of Oslo, through one of the residential areas and climbed up the hill, 350m above sea level, to Holmenkollen, to the Ski Jump, which is the icon of Ski Jumping since 1982. Holmenkollen is the only steel ski jump in the world and it has a permanent wind protection as an integrated part of the inrun construction. The total length of the inrun is 96.5m, the steepest point is 36 and the height of the takeoff is 3m. The K Point of the downhill slope is 120m, its steepest point is 35.7, the width of the landing slope is 25.2m. and there are 250 steps to the top.
Oslo hosts the World Cup every March, in Cross Country, Nordic Ski Jumping and Nordic combined. They have also hosted the Championships five times, with the last one being in 2011. And, of course, they hosted the Winter Olympics in 1952. From the lookout, we walked to a viewing platform that we could look up to the top of the tall ski jump and also down to the city of Oslo, including the two arms of Oslo Fjord. While we were there, we also saw some roller skiers, who were in training for the season.
From there we drove to Viegeland Sculpture Park, which is over 80 acres and has 212 sculptures that were designed by Gustav Viegeland in granit and bronze. The Park is the main tourist destination and there are three main sections:
The first section was called the Monolith Plateau, which had one central sculpture 70metres high with 121 separate people in it. Around the base, there were approximately 100 sculptures depicting the circle of life, starting with childhood, working through the various phases to old age.
The second section was The Fountain, which had groups of sculptures in each corner depicting, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age.
On our way to the next section, we passed through a beautiful rose garden whith different varieties and colours. The third section was the bridge which had granite columns on the four corners of the bridge and several interesting sculptures, two of which we found quite interesting – the Angry Boy and the Quiet Girl.
Near the bottom gates, there was a statue of Gustav Viegeland, who was born in 1869 and died in 1943. The park is very popular with the locals is there is a large parkland area, as well as a pool and garden areas, is free and open 24/7.
We re-boarded the bus and were taken to the centre of the City where we had lunch opposite City Hall.
After lunch, we were taken to the Viking Ship Museum, which has three original Viking ships. Two of them are in extremely good condition, having been buried in clay, which helped to preserve them.
The first Viking ship we saw was the Oseberg ship, which was built in 820 and was buried approximately 1000 years ago. The ship would have had 30 oarsmen, a captain and a lookout.
The second ship was the Gokstad ship, built in 870 and it had no decorations carved into the woodwork – it would have been made to sail fast and long.
The third ship was the Tune ship, which was damaged as it had not been buried in clay so was not in very good condition.
We saw the Burial chamber and the small boats from the Gokstad ship as well as a highly decorated sled found in the Oseberg ship. There was also a section with artifacts from the ships.
After a most enjoyable day exploring Oslo, we were returned to our ship at 3.00pm to have afternoon tea with the new passengers and met up with our friends, Tony and Carol and then got settled into our new room.
As arranged, our wonderful cabin steward has moved our suitcases and clothes to our cabin for the second part of our cruise, called “Best of the Baltics” – we are now in cabin 348 on the starboard side of the ship so that we can see, from our cabin, the coastline of the countries around the Baltic Sea that we will be visiting.
After the mandatory life-boat drill, we had Welcome drinks, a Welcome briefing and then dinner – where we met up with Tony and Carol and some new passengers for an enjoyable night chatting and laughing.

2 Responses to “Thursday 13 August Oslo, Norway”

  1. Katharine says:

    The opera house looks like it might slide into the water!

  2. sandy says:

    Katharine, I thought the same thing! It certainly was an interesting looking building! 🙂 xo

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