For one day in Oslo we tried to see as many things as we could. Here are some of the highlights.
The Oslo opera house is a crazy sloping building that lets you walk up the roof all the way to the top to give you some unique views of the harbour. It is built into the water in such a way that makes it look like it is actually rising out of the waterfront.
Oslo is a major port for cruise ships – here is one from the Costa line (yes, of the sinking Costa Concordia fame!) – as well as for ferries that transport people, cars and trucks to Copenhagen and Fredrikshaven in Denmark and Kiel in Germany.
At the Norwegian Folksmuset, we saw this Stave Church, which is a traditional Norwegian wooden church of the middle ages. Apparently these types of timber-frame construction churches used to be popular all over northern Europe but the only surviving ones these days are found in Norway. This particular one is in an open air museum where the Norwegian state has brought houses and buildings of historical and cultural significance from all over the country together into a single park to showcase the country’s cultural history from the 16th century to the present day
Here’s another of the museum’s old buildings.
One of my favourite stops of the day was the Viking Ship Museum. The boat in this photo is the Oseberg Ship, a viking burial ship built around 820 AD and used as a burial ship for a powerful woman and her maidservant in 834. It was found in a large burial mound where it had been buried to transport its rich owner to the realm of the dead, along with three elaborate sledges, a wagon, five carved animal heads and five beds, much of which is on display at the museum.
The remains of two women found in one of the Viking ships on display at the museum.
This is Norway’s parliament building, where 40 per cent of the representatives are women.
This is NOT the hotel we stayed at while in Oslo – but it is where Nobel laureates are put up when they are in town to receive their awards. The day we were there, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was in Oslo to finally accept her Nobel Peace Prize, which she had originally been awarded in 1991. At the time she was under house arrest in Burma and wasn’t released until 2010. During her speech a couple of days ago, she said she had always said her first trip abroad when she was released would be to Norway.
This is Karl Johan Gate, the main pedestrian zone in downtown Oslo. It is lined with shops and restaurants – but I haven’t yet sufficiently adjusted to the high prices of everything to indulge in too much shopping! Karl Johan was the king of Norway and Sweden during the time of its union with Sweden at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, although both countries maintained separate constitutions. Norway marks its national holiday – like our Canada Day – on May 27 to commemorate the signing of their constitution on that day in 1814. Norway became an independent monarchy with its own king in 1905.