Friday, May 7, 2021

Wandering Around Oslo, Norway

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.

 The Oslo Fjord

 Fishing boats and ferries

Approaching Oslo

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.

Opera house

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.

 Floating saunas

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).

 Food stalls at the dock

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.

 Oslo Central Train Station statues

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.

 Karl Johans gate

 Street art

 Music on the street

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.

 Approaching the palace


 National Theater and Concert Hall

Across from the park, at the Grand Hotel stands a statue of the Fearless Girl, matching the one on Wall Street in New York (facing the bull).  This statue was created in Celebration of Women:  in support of women in leadership positions, the empowerment of young women, women's education, gender equality, and the reduction of prejudice in the workplace.

Grand Hotel and Fearless Girl

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.

 Heading back

 Back to the train station, spotting the first troll

Soon, the sun sets and we watch as the city light up joyously.

 Oslo at night

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