Sunday, 18 September, 2016 04:22

And Now To Oslo

We Take An Ocean Cruise….  Whilst we were sad to leave the beautiful city of Copenhagen we were interested to experience the ferry crossing from Copenhagen to Oslo.  The journey takes 17 1/4 hours departing at 4:30 PM and arriving at 9:45 AM the next morning.  We booked a Commodore Deluxe Cabin and it was right at the front of the ship on an upper deck so we had a birds eye view of where we were going. When we awoke the next morning ready to view the fjords it was thick fog and until we entered the very narrow fjords we couldn’t see anything. We arrived in Oslo and had a short wait to get into our apartment which is brand new and overlooks the Opera House and the Harbour. We can even see the ferries coming and going.

The Bridge Made Famous By The TV Series Of The Same Name

On The Bus…..  We had organised a weekly public transport ticket so our first excursion was to jump on the No.30 bus around to the Viking Ship Museum.  To see Viking boats that are over 1000 years old was amazing. These boats after spending a life at sea were used as boat graves for Viking Royals.  

9th Century Viking Ships

A short walk took us to the Norske Folkemuseum which provides you with a cultural history of various regions in Norway. Buildings have been disassembled from all over Norway and reconstructed at the Museum. A highlight was the Gol Stave Church from the year 1200. Just an amazing timber structure.  After a short rest we walked to Gronland, a suburb of Oslo.  Let’s just say this multicultural area of Oslo is interesting.

12th Century Gol Stave Church at Norske Folkemuseum

17th Century Storehouse from Northern Norway

Our Second Day In Oslo…..  We were greeted with a beautiful day with clear blue skies on Saturday and the Oslo Marathon was being contested right in front of our apartment. We had to cheer on the runners and so we spent the day in the city region.  

Oslo Marathon

After a respectable amount of cheering we hopped on the local ferry and did some island hopping around the Oslo Harbour which took an hour. 

Quaint cottages on Bleikoya Island in the Oslo Harbour

Back to the marathon, collected a bag full of free samples and then to the Akershus Fortress.  This medieval castle built around 1300 was remodeled to a renaissance castle in the first half of the 17th century. Today the fortress is open to the public and is still used for important State events. The audio tour of the fortress is very well done and provides a great insight into this beautful building.  It also provides stunning views over the Oslo harbour. 

Akershus Fortress

Next we walked back along the marathon route, did a bit more cheering, and then to the Oslo Opera House.  Rob took the opportunity to walk on the roof of the Opera House.

The Oslo Opera House – The word WAR is not graffiti. It’s an ad for an Opera

Walking on the roof of the Oslo Opera House

Slowing Down The Pace…..  After the excitement and disruption of the marathon a quieter day on Sunday was in order. We hopped on the bus back around to the Bygdoy Peninsula to visit three museums all next to one another.  Our first was the Kon Tiki museum which tells the story of Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian explorer who sailed a balsa raft, Kon Tiki from Peru in South America to Polynesia to show, by using only the materials and technologies available at the time, that it was possible to complete the journey.  

The actual raft, Kon Tiki, used by Thor Heyerdahl to sail to Polynesia from Peru

Thor Heyerdahl along with 5 other crew members took 101 days to complete the 6900km journey across the Pacific Ocean before smashing into a reef on Tuamoto Island. The actual raft is in the Museum and to see this craft left you amazed at the daring and courage of these men to attempt this journey.

Kon Tiki Raft from the bow

On To The Next Museum….. Our next museum was the Fram Museum just next door.  This museum which has been in existence since 1936 tells the stories of Norwegian Polar exploration. The museums main exhibit is the ship ‘Fram’ built in 1891 for the purpose of polar exploration.  You can walk though the entire ship which is in very good condition given it’s age.  

Polar Ship ‘Fram’ at the Fram Museum

Liz at the helm of the Polar Ship ‘Fram’

And Yet Another Museum…..  A 50 meter walk and we were in the Maritime Museum which tells the story of Norwegian boating and shipping through the ages.  The highlight in this museum is the vast array of models of old sailing vessels, cargo carriers, oil rigs and modern passenger vessels.  The detail in these models is amazing.

Small boat display at the Maritime Museum

Model of one of the Norwegian Cruise Ships

On The Train Again…..  As we had a week in Oslo we decided to take a day trip on the train to a small town called Åndalsnes on the west coast of Norway.  This trip is rated one of the most scenic train trips in Europe, particularly the section between Dombas and Åndalsnes.  It was a big day as the trip takes 5 1/2 hours each way but with all the beautiful scenery the time just seemed to fly.   At Dombas you change trains to a smaller train with large bay windows which enables you to take advantage of the spectacular scenery. Well that was the plan, but when we arrived at the Dombas Station we were informed that a goods train had started a fire along side the track and we would have to go by bus to Åndalsnes. 

Lake Mjosa, the largest lake in Norway. And yes, there is not even a ripple on the water.

A Minor Delay….  Well after waiting nearly an hour at Dombas, making a whole lot of new friends and being served coffee and cake by the Station Master we were on a small bus for the trip down to Åndalsnes. We arrived at the Åndalsnes Station about 15 seconds before the train back to Dombas was due to depart, had a laugh with the conductor and we were on our way back to Oslo.

Spectacular waterfalls were a regular occurrence both from the bus and train

On The Rail Again….. The railway line from Ånalsnes to Dombas is 114km long, took 12 years to build and was opened in 1924.  The train follows the Rauma River through the valley with peaks either side up to 1000 meters high.  Some of the waterfalls plunge 380 meters from the edge of the mountain down to the valley floor.  The entire journey from Åndalsnes to Oslo is both dramatic and spectacular and well worth a day out of our schedule.

Mountain peaks up to 1800 meters above sea level with 1000 meter sheer cliff faces

A Change In Scenery…..   From Dombas back to Oslo the scenery changes dramatically to rolling plains, farm land, forests and massive lakes. Along the way there are small villages and the large town of Lillehammer.  Although this was a long day on the train it will certainly remain in our minds as one of the highlights of our visit to Norway.

Quaint little villages beside the train line

Back In Oslo Again…..  We decided to slow down a bit after our big train trip so took a bus to the Royal Palace and spent half an hour walking around the gardens.  We waved to the King but he didn’t wave back which we thought was a bit rude.

Royal Palace in Oslo

From there we jumped on a tram to the Vigeland Sculpture Park.  This park and it’s accompanying museum show the life works of Gustav Vigeland.  It is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist and is truly amazing. It should not be missed if you are visiting Oslo.

Sculpture Park

Vigeland Sculpture Park

We then jumped on another tram back to Aker Brygge which is a combined restaurant,  entertainment and residential precinct built right on the edge of the Oslo Harbour.  We had a late lunch in one of the restaurants then jumped on a ferry for a tour around the Oslo Harbour.  Very relaxing.

Aker Brygge restaurant, entertainment and apartment precinct.

Artwork at the rear of Aker Brygge

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