July 2019


Four Fabulous Days in Oslo!

Me with the Guard.I spent last weekend in Oslo – my first time in Norway – driven to visit by an article I read in The Guardian at the end of March: “Norway’s Kon-Tiki museum to return thousands of Easter Island artefacts.

Given that it is easier for me to visit Oslo than Chile, I decided I needed to make time for Oslo – which ended up being last weekend.

Seriously, I picked the most perfect weekend to visit Oslo: it was warm, it was sunny, it was pleasant. In most respects, it was an advertisement that I ought to move to Oslo. The only thing I would change about my weekend in Oslo is the hotel – I managed to pick one with a dynamite location, but a flaw so obnoxious and annoying that I would be hard pressed to ever recommend anybody stay at it.

In fact, I had such a good time in Oslo, I would be happy to go back – although my wallet will probably prevent me from doing so in the near future: I paid 10€ for a small beer at a restaurant Friday evening.

Kon-Tiki Raft

My Friday consisted of my high priority wishes for Oslo: Kon-Tiki Museum, Fram Museum, the Viking Ship Museum, and – because it was there – the Norwegian Maritime Museum. The Kon-Tiki Museum was far, far, far better than I could have ever imagined. I knew nothing about the Kon-Tiki Museum before going in (I’d even forgotten the core of the article that I’d read; all I knew is that I wanted to see the Easter Island artifacts.) – and came away blown away. What a story, what a collection. Wow. Just wow.

Easter Island Artifacts

Beyond that, the Fram was interesting – although not really my thing. Actually, to be clear, boats are not really my thing. The Kon-Tiki museum and the Easter Island artifacts are glaring exceptions to the rule that Adam Finds Boating Boring. I saw two boats at the Fram, both interesting – but the amount of text on the walls became overwhelming. All the text can be summarized as: “Norwegians are explorers and they love to learn about explorers from all over the world.” The Maritime Museum was, at least for me, the least interesting of the three museums right at the tip of the peninsula. After completing the three museums (and eating lunch), I headed to the Viking Ship Museum – which was dynamite. Three old Viking Ships on display, used as burial troves – what’s not to like.

Viking Ship Museum

At that point, I started to overheat: Oslo’s weather was far more pleasant that I’d been anticipating, so the blue jeans were going from comfortable to retaining way too much heat: I headed back to the hotel, changed into shorts (well, I took a short nap first), and then I gathered everything that I’d brought for the beach and headed out for a beach. I was not alone with this idea: the beach was packed. Finding a square of sand or dirt to put down your towel was a challenge – but I did it – and then spent about two hours in the sunshine reading and enjoying the scenery.

Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art

Saturday and Sunday were spent wandering Oslo, in different ways. Saturday, I wandered through a newly developed neighborhood out to the Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park – the park was disappointingly small, but the walk super pleasant – along with more amazing weather. Sunday started off with a three-hour, small group, guided tour of the city center. which I booked through Nova Fairy Tales.

Nobel Peace Prize Museum

Overall, I won when it comes to the weekend weather. Over two days I saw Vigeland Park with its quirky sculptures, the Nobel Peace Prize Museum, the Opera House, and the Munch Museum. I especially enjoyed the sculpture, “She Lies” – which appears to be an iceberg in front of the Oslo Opera House.

She Lies - hun ligger

By Sunday evening, I had done everything I specifically wanted to do, but had one more day in the city – and I ended up doing two of my favorite things from the trip.

Future Library

First, Monday morning I headed up to the Future Library – a 100-year art project that starts with the growing of a forest, then, in 2114, when the trees are ready, they will be cut down and turned into a collection of books. It was super easy to get to the forest: I hopped on Metro Line 1 and took it to the end – it was an impressively long Metro ride, going from, essentially, sea level, at the Central Station to Frognerseteren, which lies at 469 meters (1539 feet). After getting off the train and starting my hike, for the next two hours, I saw only 11 other people – although it was a Monday and I suspect that one would see many more people over a weekend or holiday.

Future Library

Given that the Future Library project is only 5 years old, the forest is really young and the trees are all short. Hopefully in 5 or 10 years the trees will be a lot taller and substantial, well on their way to becoming enough pulp to make enough paper.

After my hike, I headed to the nearby restaurant, grabbed a bite to eat and then took the metro back to the city center. Once there, I visited the Norwegian Resistance Museum – which looks at how Norwegians fought against the Nazis during occupation. A few years ago, I visited a similar museum in Copenhagen – which did not leave much of an impression. This one did and I can highly recommend it.

Self Driving Bus

My day closed out with a ride on the driverless bus (because, why not) and a nice dinner.

Tuesday I headed back to Berlin.

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