We are in another air bnb, this time renting the entire flat. It’s near the national theater, far enough from the city center to be quiet, but no too far to get to things. We have a micro mini, ity-bitty washing machine, but I am happy to wash our clothing. This should be the last washing I need to do. This place is just like an Ikea flat, you know, “How to live in 100 square meters” or whatever! It is very small, but efficient. We have a little kitchen with all the appliances, just munchkin sized and it’s great to play house again. It’s ours for four nights.
We get an Oslo card and we are rocking public transportation, it’s so easy here. Directions are clear, usually in Norwegian and in English, and everyone who we have spoken to speaks English. I am so giddy that I always thank people for speaking to us in English! It is so clean and pleasant here in Oslo. The old buildings here are well cared for and the modern buildings are stunning. We haven’t run across any loud or disagreeable people. Everyone looks fit. My impression is that 80% of the population look “average”, but about 20% look like Norse gods and goddesses. I stop and just stare at amazing looking young men, seven feet tall, panty-melting blue eyes…ok, maybe I go too far. I have noticed Barry trying not to drool while appreciating some of the Viking shield maiden goddesses. There are some dazzlingly attractive men and women here.
Bygdoy ferry takes us to the Norsk Folkemuseum. It is an open air museum which houses buildings from all over Norway, built at different times. (It’s similar to Musee D’Alsace in France. ) Also interesting exhibits such as folk art and folk dress, and church art are here. The stately and dark Gol Stave Church dates back to around 1200. It has ornate wood carvings throughout the structure and paintings at the alter which are from 1625. There were once about 1,000 stave churches in Norway now only 28 exist. This is an inspiring place to be alone and to feel it’s past.
The rain is picking up, but we walk to the Viking Ship Museum. It houses two funeral ships, one from Oseberg and one from Gokstad. They were built more than 1100 years ago. Though they were very interesting to see and the artifacts that were also on display were amazing, it was hard to imagine those early sailors going to sea in these ships. Nerves of steel!
Now it’s really raining harder, but the Kon-Tiki Museum isn’t toooooo far away. This museum has vessels and exhibits about Thor Heyerdahl. He crossed the Pacific from Peru to French Polynesia in a balsa wood raft, testing a theory that early South American people could have made this voyage and settled in the islands near Tahiti. What I found that astounded me is that he was only 33 when he organized this trip, did little to no testing of the craft, and was afraid of water! He later mounted the Ra I and II expeditions, building rafts of papyrus that were to sail across the Atlantic testing the theory that Egyptians had done the same. Brave adventurer or lucky nut case?
One of the themes of this trip, we are all connected, since ancient times people have moved all over the earth, shared ideas, culture. Just in the Celtic exhibit in Edinburgh, it hits me how similar the stylized animal, winding lines of the Norse art is to the work found in many areas of the world.
When on the ferry today we met some fellow Sacramento folks. Rhonda and Dan from Land Park, a few blocks away are visiting Oslo and are on their way to Edinburgh next! She is a retired middle schoolteacher, he likes old cars. We are doing happy hour next month with our new buddies in Sacramento to compare photos and stories!
It is more expensive here. For example, beers are universally about $11 and we find that dinner at a middle of the road restaurant can easily cost about a hundred dollars. This, combined with the general gluttony of the cruise, we are inclined to cut back on the feasting. Though I did try Fernet branca, a liqueur I’d never tried before and some Hansa beer. Barry enjoyed a plate of ox cheeks too, so we aren’t depriving ourselves much.