Returning to our memories of great places visited in pre-pandemic times, we are next on to Norway, starting in Oslo, which is located at the end of the Oslo Fjord ("Oslofjorden"), 100 km (62 miles) in from the sea. We spend the morning and early afternoon travelling up the fjord by boat (an incredible way to approach Oslo), passing many small towns and islands that are reached by the ferries that zip back and forth by us and the fishing boats pulling in and out. It is mesmerizing watching it all go by.
We get off the ship near the new Opera House, completed in 2007 to house the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. The Opera House grounds are packed with people hanging out and walking up (and down) the ramps to the building's roof.
Across from the opera house are two floating saunas with wood-burning ovens, each holding up to ten people, for use at the dock or for a comfortable cruise through the fjord.
Near the saunas are food stalls and restaurants making the dock a great destination for relaxation, including a duck stand called "Duck Off," offering pulled duck, burgers, and fries (unfortunately, closed while we are here).
We wander across the street to the Central Train Station and admire two great statues out front, one a memorial to the Osvald Group (Osvald-gruppen) for its resistance efforts during World War II and the other a tiger celebrating the 1000-year anniversary of Oslo, in honor of the city's nickname Tigerstaden ("The Tiger City") as an exciting and happening place.
From the station, the pedestrian street, Karl Johans gate stretches 1.6 km (1 mile) to the Royal Palace. The street is lined with shops, decorated with art, and full of performers entertaining us all.
As we get closer to the Royal Palace, the street opens up with a park running along the street, including great fountains, an ice skating rink (not currently in use), and the National Theater.
We head back down Karl Johans gate, catching more sights from the other direction as people are out enjoying this fine day. On the way, we spot our first troll of the trip, the mystical, sometimes dangerous, creatures from Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore.