29 May 2018

Oslo Wanderings

Oslo has an interesting juxtaposing of new and old, a recently modern city surrounded by sensational nature.  
We travelled by train to Oslo from Trondheim - a six hour gorgeous ride over old gently rounded and snow bound mountains, through green valleys with fields on incredibly steep slopes, beside swiftly moving rivers, and through small cities and towns.  White long rectangular farmhouses creating one side of a square with three red barns dotted the hillsides as did other cabins.
The king's palace.  When we walked by a marching band was performing in front of the statue.  Behind the palace is a large park with sunbathers galore.

The parliament buildings.

The blockhouse 1960's city hall

And the castle that held resistance members and tragically saw their execution during WWII.

A part of the city which was once circumspect is now part of a trendy arts scene and lovely city walk.

This was my sixth visit to Oslo, the first being on a European post-graduation backpacking tour before I even met my 50% Norwegian husband.  I remember being impressed with it then - an amazing park with a crowd doing an aerobics class, buskers lining the main street of lovely old buildings, a king's palace where the public were free to roam on the grounds, an impressive resistance museum with tragic stories, all on a beautiful fjord.  It was too expensive for our very limited budgets so we didn't stay long.  But it made an impression.

When I first came to Oslo in 1982, I was very taken with these statues - 100's of them - in a city park, Frogner Park.  Expressive life cycle scenes of humans in their basic form - no apologies, no excuses.  Fantastic.

A good belly laugh

An angry boy who many have tried to soothe.

The corridor is lined with dancing, stamping, sitting, hugging, fighting statues and so much more.  Pretty amazing.

Then I met and eventually happily married my 50% Norwegian husband.  I was lucky to visit Olso several more times and each time I loved it.  These were family visits with young children and wanderings out and about.  With each visit, Oslo became more sophisticated.

A rich country can afford great ingenuity.  There are no taxes, no parking fees, no tolls,  and free municipal charging for electric cars.  Norway has the greatest number of Teslas per capita over any other nation by far.  This street was lined with charging stations.  Wonderfully progressive!  Learn, Canada.

I hadn't returned for almost 20 years although Peter has visited and Em did an exchange term here.  Now Olso is a world class city with a trendy arts scene, several shopping areas with all the major names in fashion plus Scandinavian highlights, an intriguing and very well-used waterfront (Toronto should take note), interesting modern architecture with more promised.  All these additions but it hasn't lost it's small city feel.  It is surrounded by easily accessible green mountains and the fjord is dotted by lovely green islands.  The castle and 1960's city hall are still part of the low skyline and the king's palace still sits at the head of the main drag and, importantly, the grounds are used as a public park.

A lone cello going into work at the Opera Centre, a beautiful white marble building.

You are warned to climb to the roof at your own risk - slippery when wet - and bikes and skateboards are forbidden.  But sunbathers abound on these white marble slopes.  

Climbing the opera centre slope on a hot day.

We snuck in for a peek just before a performance.  Beautiful wood interior with sloping, shaped balcony railings.

Definitely a city to return to!  Loved it!!  Now the question is, how to get Milly here and when?

Norwegian special for dinner!  White bread, mayonnaise, unpeeled to peeled shrimp (must be fresh) with dill and a squeeze of lemon with a glass of white wine.  Ever since we were in Norway for Em's 5th birthday, she has chosen the meal as her birthday dinner.  Hard to get fresh shrimp in Toronto.

Peter and I took a city bus/ferry to an island a 6-minute ride from the city.  We circumnavigated.  This view was looking down the fjord away from the city.

And this toward the city and opera house.  The mountains are a walk away.

The contemporary arts museum is another modern building on the waterfront.  Better close up, made of glass and wood, it's shape is striking.  It's grounds are swarmed with sunbathers.

There are statues all over Oslo from the traditional male figures  to the fun and modern.

We had such fun touring with these two.  Couldn't have been better.

I think Em thought so too!
And there was more family time!  Family dinners, exploring family.  So fun.  We are grateful!!

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