Las Chicas are eager to visit Norway for the first time. Another leg on the Interrail pass proves to be a little less about comfort, as NSB (Norges Statsbaner or Norwegian State Railways) changes us, unannounced, to a bus. Some three hours later we land in Oslo, drag our bags through the train station and are greeted by one of many sculptures to come.
An ultramodern city full of amazing art, architecture, great food, masses of water and forest, and only one full day to explore. So we make the best of the remaining afternoon hours because the sun isn’t setting before 10, and take a stroll through the city nearby.
We don’t go far before we encounter one of the many trendy pop-up restaurants for dinner. Beer, sweet potatoes fries and Thai curry will do the trick.
After dinner we continue on our walk, past fountains and flowers.
the Parliament building, called the Storting or Stortinget in Norwegian meaning the “great assembly”,
and onto the Royal Palace.
Behind the palace we find water and mushroom-like creations that amuse us.
We also enjoy some of the local street art.
“The Priest” by street artist Dolk, who we discovered in Malmo.
The art of a local eatery close to the hotel.
After a short sleep, we head out into Oslo. We have many great tips from the Visit Oslo website. Architecture and outdoor sculpture parks should keep us busy for the better part of the day.
First to Frogner Park, where the Vigeland Sculpture Park is located. We join multitudes of tourists at the entrance to see the 200+ sculptures. Gustav Vigeland created these wonders over a period of only 20 years from 1924-1943 and donated them to the city of Oslo; the land was donated free to display this collection. The theme is focused on family and the human condition.
Some pieces are a bit startling, like the series depicting the struggle between reptile and human. With the exception of the one embracing a woman, it appears the lizard is battling with or consuming the human. One source suggests the reptile represents evil and reflects the struggle of the human condition.
Onto the lighter side, here are a few of our favorites.
The fountain, originally designed for the outside entrance of the Norwegian Parliament building.
The Wheel of Life, a sundial positioned at the very end of an 850-meter axis.
The Monolith, 14.12-meter high, a symbolic sculpture consisting of 121 intertwined human figures.
Next stop, Oslo’s waterfront and the Aker Brygge Wharf, previously an old shipyard. The boardwalk is full of many fabulous restaurants, but we choose gelato for our noontime refreshment,
while enjoying the SUPs in the harbor.
We head to the Astrup Fearnley Museum, designed by starchitect Renzo Piano.
Surrounded by water and the second sculpture park of the day, Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park, we opt for outside art and bypass the inside collection.
Onto the Oslo Opera House, with a few local sights on the way.
It’s a bit warm to take advantage of this sauna boat.
A favorite, the olfactory history moment.
Oslo Opera House, home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, designed by a local architecture firm and the recipient of many awards.
Many interesting features,
with great rooftop views,
including the ever-present cranes dotting the city and building the future Oslo.
Onward we test the pedestrian bridge,
with its interesting views of the Barcode district, 12 buildings designed to resemble a barcode.
Evening is quickly approaching and the third sculpture park awaits us. Another trip on Oslo’s impressive transit takes us to the bottom of the park, with many surprises ahead.
Shortly after entering the park we encounter sculptures by some well known artists:
Auguste Rodin’s “Cariatide Tombee Á Lúrne”
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, “Venus Vistrix”
Salvador Dalí, “Venus de Milo Aux Tiroirs”
What a special evening this turns out to be. We amble up hills and around bends to discover other unexpected treasures. The park is open 24/7, with little or no apparent security. It’s an amazing collection.
Sarah Sze, “Still Life with Landscape”
Dan Graham, “Pavillion”
Louise Bourgeois, “The Couple”
Hilde Maehlum, “Konkavt Ansikt” (translated, Concave Face)
Sean Henry, “Walking Woman”
In addition to art, we explore archeology.
Steinsetning – Stone Circle
This megalithic structure, once likely 7 stones now 4, was not excavated.
Skålgroper – Cup Marks
These cup-shaped indentations are the most common form of rock art in Norway, dating back to the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age. The natural setting enhances the beauty of everything around us.
But one last surprise.
Fujiko Nakaya, “Pathfinder #18700 Oslo”
© Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds, 2018