When we talk about Norwegians in Sweden, we think of a people who are bursting with health, and who spend any free time that they have outdoors. When my Norwegian friends asked if I brought good walking shoes, I was a little afraid, not knowing what to expect. Their idea of relaxing is skiing, hiking, biking, sailing and anything else that requires some sort of activity.
Oslo is a small city, very easy to get around and see the sights if you are there for the first time. A 10 minute drive will take you up to Holmenkollen, a ski area and the famous Ski Jump. When the snow has disappeared the area is popular with jogging and walking trails.
Oslo, while retaining their beautiful old buildings, have injected a lot of modernity into their city with newly developed areas with very modern architecture. It is a city that continues to grow and has done so successfully without compromising on the quality of life for its residents. The former shipyard of Aker Brygge is today an area of apartment buildings, restaurants and shops on the waterfront. The Astrup Fearnley Museum designed by Renzo Piano showcases an impressive collection of Modern Art, and the building is stunning. Continuing off Aker Brygge into the Oslo Fjord is Tjuvholmen, also featuring newly built apartments and restaurants and Art Galleries. The pedestrian shopping street of Karl Johan Gate leads up the Avenue where the Royal Palace is located. The street also has the Royal Theatre and the Parliament House. The Opera House by the architectural firm Snøhetta is built in an angular form that gives the impression of the building sliding down into the Oslofjord. The exterior in white granite and Italian Marble offers a large space for people to take in the views, the sloping exterior makes it perfect for skateboarders. What a great urban space is created, the exterior to be enjoyed by everyone. It is a beautiful building with large glass windows and oak panelling inside.
Frogner Park is a large public park where the sculptor Gustav Vigeland installed 212 large bronze and granite sculptures in 1940. The 14 metre high Monolith is striking with 121 figures rising towards the heavens all carved from one piece of granite. It took 14 years for 3 stone carvers to carve out Vigeland’s design.
I couldn’t leave Oslo without going to the Munch Museum. The Museum screens several short films, the one I saw was The Dance of Life by Solvi Lindseth. The film offers a view of Munch from childhood to old age and how events in his life influenced his art and produced the masterworks that we see today.
Here are some impressions of the city.