Journals from Bø, Norway Spring '12
This Saturday, the 24th of March, Tiffany, Ellen and I went to Oslo for the day! The title comes from Tiffany's inability to speak well after 4 hours of sleep and combining "Oslo" and "awesome".
We started the day at 4:40am when we met to walk to the train station and get on the 5:04 train. I think we all at least half slept most of the way to Oslo. Our first stop in Oslo was the opera house, partly because it is right next to the station and because nothing is open at 7:30am. The opera house is on the waterfront and the design was based on icebergs. Tiffany said she noticed my pace speed up when I saw a large body of water. Guess that's how you know I grew up on a peninsula. We climbed around on the building and then decided to head off to our next destination: Vigleland Park.
Ellen and I were so glad to have Tiffany with her past experiences and tour book with us. Without her we probably would've ended up on the wrong tram or something. We decided to buy day passes for the buses and trams, though it turned out that no one ever really checked them. Anyway, we got on the 12 and got off at the park. I was so excited! It was even more amazing than I imagined. Gustav Vigeland is a sculpture who lived from 1869 to 1943. The 80-acre park has 214 sculptures made of more than 758 figures. The main themes are the relationship between lovers and the relationship between parents and their children. It was really hard not to photograph every single one because they all strongly portray an emotion which makes them intriguing and relatable. I'm glad that we went there so early when it was only us and some joggers, because I'm sure that by the afternoon it was packed. I hope to go pack in late Spring or early Summer when the flowers are in bloom.
Next we rode the tram back to Central Station where we started our walking tour led by Tiffany. We walked a little ways down a pedestrian street before stopping at the church. The church was an interesting mix of old/ornate and modern/colorful. The altar and apse were ornately decorated, while the ceiling was boldly colorful and painted in a more modern, less detailed style. The stained glass, which was done by Gustav Vigeland's youngest brother, was also very colorful. There was a small photography exhibit inside the church as a tribute to the significance the church gained after the terrorist attacks in Norway last year.
We continued our walk, stopping briefly to see the parliament building and national theater, in the direction of the National Gallery. The museum was fun for all of us as we are all fans of art museums. The main attraction is the Munch room which features "Scream". It was fun to see it in person, but I also enjoyed seeing more of his work and getting more familiar with his style. The rest of the museum had rooms of other Norwegian art presented thematically or chronologically. There was also some work by foreign artists including some Monet and Picasso. I think we all liked the Dahl room the best because his landscapes are amazing.
While we were in the museum, the rest of Oslo was waking up. When we walked out the streets were packed! It was ridiculous. I guess being there so early in the morning made me forget that Oslo is indeed a city. We got coffee and did some quality people watching in the sun in a square by the church. There was a bunch of screaming over on the other end of the square so we went to check it out, hoping something exciting was happening but it turned out to just be a bunch of teen girls who had gathered in an attempt to get their favorite band to come to Norway. So off to the the waterfront we went!
At the waterfront we stopped into city hall, which has a huge painted room. Apparently there were a lot of weddings going on that day; we saw at least three wedding parties and almost had rice thrown at us as we left the building. Then we roamed around the old fortress and just enjoyed the sun and the view. Our day was coming to an end, but we decided that we had enough time for one more free activity so we hopped back on the extremely crowded tram and went to the Vigeland museum. We were all very happy with this decision! It explained the artist's process and also had many of the plaster models of the statues at the park and some models of the park's features. Then it was back to the train station to grab some food for the 5:11pm train back to Bø.
Oslo is not my favorite city, but I did enjoy the day a lot and would love to go back. The architecture isn't particularly fascinating but the parks and squares make up for that (meaning that I should only go in the Spring and Summer). Overall I would recommend it and hope that some day I can bring my family there.