Returns to Carson's Travels Home Page Places Visited View Our Photo Gallery Map of Trip How to Contact Us




June 17-20, 2013

Outdoor cafesAfter our cruise, we spent 3 days on our own in Oslo. We stayed at the Thon Hotel Munch which was a very comfortable, clean, budget ($180/night) hotel with an excellent included breakfast. It was within easy walking distance of the city center and public transportation. We bought the Oslo Pass for $35 which gave us access to all museums/attractions as well as free transportation on buses, ferries and trains. It was a definite bargain - and the only bargain in Oslo! Like Copenhagen, Oslo is a very expensive city. Even a McDonald's Big Mac was $12!

City HallWe really enjoyed our stay in Oslo and got to visit many of the major attractions. Our first day we walked down to the harbor area and took the free tour of City Hall. Built mostly in the 1930's, it is richly decorated with huge murals by leading Norwegian artists depicting Norwegian life and history. It is also where the Nobel Peace Prize is given out each year. We then joined the free guided walking tour of the old part of Oslo which was interesting, though a bit too long!


Vigeland Garden SculptureOn our second day we took the #12 trolly to Frogner Park and the Vigeland Sculpture Garden. This 75 acre park contains a lifetime of work by Norway's greatest sculptor, Gustav Vigeland. In 1921 he made a deal with the city. In return for a studio and state support, he'd spend his life beautifying Oslo with this sculpture garden. He worked on-site from 1924-1943, designing 192 bronze and granite statue groupings, 600 figures in all. Entering the park, there is a 300 foot long bridge lined with 58 bronze statues. The statues are a general study of the human body, many dealing with the relationship between people. Vigeland Garden FountainContinuing over the bridge through the rose garden, you come to a huge fountain (it was not in operation while we were there). Six giants hold the fountain, symbolically toiling with the burden of life. 20 tree-of-life groups surround the fountain showing humanity's relationship to nature and the seasons of life: childhood, young love, adulthood and winter(old age). The centerpiece of the park is the monolith. 121 figures are carved out of a single block of stone. Three stone carvers worked 14 years to cut Vigeland's full size plaster model into the final 180 ton, 50 foot tall monolith.It is surrounded by 36 granite groups which continue Vigeland's cycle-of-life motif. Vigeland Garden MonolithAfterwards we visited the Vigeland museum which contains the original plaster and clay casts of the sculptures and information on how these were used to create the granite and bronze statues in the park. To view more photos of Vigeland Sculpture Garden, go to Vigeland Photo Gallery.


From Frogner Park, we took the #1 tram to Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Ski Museum. This is the site of one of the world's oldest ski jumps (from 1892) and the site of the 1952 Olympics. To win the privilege of hosting the 2011 World Ski Jump Championships, Oslo built a bigger jump to match more modern ones built elsewhere. Holmenkollen Ski JumpWe took the tilted elevator to the top of the jump and looked down on the 50,000 seat amphitheater below. Quite a site. The ski museum was also very interesting as it traces the evolution of the sport, from 4000 year old rock paintings, to 1500 year old wooden sticks, to today's modern skis. (Go to Oslo Photo Gallery to see more photos of Holmenkollen.)

On our final day in Oslo, we took the mini cruise on an old wooden schooner over to Bygdoy Peninsula. Bygdoy is home to the open-air Norwegian Folk Museum as well as several interesting museums housing famous ships. Opera HouseOn our way over to Bygdoy, we sailed past the new Opera House which opened in 2008. On Bygdoy, we started by walking around the Norwegian Folk Museum. 150 buildings have been brought from all corners of Norway and reassembled here on 35 acres. It presents life in Norway from 1500 to the present day. The Old Town area has buildings from Oslo and other Norwegian towns. The Countryside section shows typical farms from different districts and time periods.Stave Church There is also an old Stave Church built in Gol around 1200 and relocated to its present site in 1884.



FramOur next stop was the Fram Museum which houses the 125 foot ship that took Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen deep into the Arctic and Antarctic. The Fram was both sail and steam powered and was specially designed to survive the crushing pressures of a frozen over sea. For 3 years, the Fram drifted, trapped in the Arctic ice.




Viking ShipThen we entered the Viking Ship Museum which houses two finely crafted and well preserved Viking ships as well as other excavated items from the 9th and 10th centuries. They were buried in clay and were unearthed as part of gravesites.


Kon-TikiOur final stop was to the Kon-Tiki Museum which houses both the Kon-Tiki and the Ra II. The Kon Tiki was built by Thor Heyerdahl in 1947 out of balsa wood using pre-modern techniques and tools. The Kon-Tiki sailed from Peru to Polynesia, 4300 miles in 101 days. The purpose was to prove South Americans could have settled Polynesia. The journey was chronicled in Heyerdahl's book "Kon-Tiki". Ra IIIn 1970, Heyerdahl's Ra II made a 3000 mile journey from Morocco to Barbados to prove that Africans could have populated America. Looking at these ships, it is truly a wonder that either was able to make the journey.

To view more photos from Bygdoy, go to Bygdoy Photo Gallery.




The next day we took the fast train (Flytoget) to the airport and our long, but uneventful trip, home. It was an amazing vacation and one we'd highly recommend to others.

To view general photos from around Oslo, including Holmenkollen Ski Jump, please go to Oslo Photo Gallery. Photos from Vigeland Sculpture Garden are in the Vigeland Photo Gallery. Photos from Bygdoy are in Bygdoy Photo Gallery.

Home Locations Visited Photos Map Contact Us