Oslo's Royal Palace, a regal treat for sure.
Upon arrival in Oslo by late-evening train from Lillehammer, what awaited me was a jaunt around the remaining Scandinavian capital city I had not hitherto visited. Already slightly attuned to the cost of living and more prepared for a continuation of a holiday in a cold climate, assessing what Oslo boasted was made easier thanks to the value-for-money Oslo pass, which allows the visitor unlimited travel on public transport as well as free admission to a whole host of attractions, the majority of which were the city's mighty fine crop of museums. The first full day, however, was intended as a get-a-feel-for-the-place style stroll around central Oslo, with the intended purchases in mind, and a budget which needed to be respected if all were to be achieved as planned.
Surely the most life-like of Oslo's numerous statues?
The city's shopping malls, namely Oslo City mall and Aker Brygge mall, amongst others, were mostly modern, elaborate affairs which served as a reminder of the city's staggering wealth. The main pedestrian thoroughfare is known as 'Karl Johans gate', which effectively stretches from Oslo central station to the grounds of the grand-looking Royal Palace, which is a photo opportunity not to be missed. One constatation which even the most casual visitor will make whilst trekking around Oslo is the great number of statues dotted here and there, some of which rank among the numerous quirks with which I associate the city, the sight of which are a surefire way of making sure my interest is stimulated. Architecturally, I deem the housing styles in Oslo to be aesthetically pleasing, for the most part, and the elaborate attention to detail and colour co-ordinations and contrasts was nothing short of a pleasure to catch sight of, and it made the process of losing one's way around the city's backstreets a wholly worthwhile venture.
Architectural styles in the backstreets of Oslo.
As regards the museum visits, the first port of call just had to be the famous ski jump in the outlying district of Holmenkollen, and the adjoining ski museum, both of which made for a highly pleasureable hour and an insight into the country's role in the realm of the international ski culture. Following on from there, a trip to the peninsula of Bygdoy
was a must, since the cluster of museums contained on that very block of land validated the cost of the Oslo card in itself. Visits paid to the Kon-Tiki museum, the Viking Ships museum, and the highly commendable Norwegian Folk museum, effectively Europe's largest outdoor museum, completed the day's quota of museum visits, and were furthermore an insightful way of getting more acquainted with the events which helped to shape the city's past.
Traditional buildings at the Norwegian Folk Museum.
One tourist attraction which is a must-see for any visitor to Oslo is the collection of sculpted statues at Vigeland park, where a famed Norwegian sculptor has left an eternal legacy on the city in a way in which will not fail to embed itself into your soul, regardless of how strong your artistic leanings may be. The entire trip was rounded off with a 45 minute session inside Oslo's Ice Bar, and while the interior decor may not have been any kind of escape route from the outside cold, it was the final artistic statement which the city had made during my stay, and was delightfully memorable too. Overall, the Norwegian capital came across as a pleasant melting pot of influences, styles and quirks, the sum total of which made for a collection of experiences which I actively feel validated the high cost involved to achieve all of the above.
I also seem to think that experiencing Oslo in peak summer could reveal a fair few sides to the city which were kept repressed by the snow and ice, and re-living the Oslo experience in such a contrasting way must surely be an enticing prospect for any brave-any-climate traveller who is lured by the city's charms.