Friday, July 22, 2016
Oslo and All That Goes With It...
Summer is upon us, and when that happens, I automatically think of heading north. With that in mind, I give you Oslo, Norway. Oslo is one of those places. It sits along a fjord system that is overrun with cruise ships. The ports here are often clogged with the ships full of tourists heading up and down the coast of Norway to celebrate all things summer. Norway is home to some of the highest fjords in the world and as a result, some of the highest waterfalls in the world. There are a lot of things to see and do in Norway. What is there to do in Oslo?
I think I'll start with the obvious. The skiing is amazing in Norway, and hence the idea that the winter Olympics were there once. The Holmenkollen Ski Jump is one of the great architectural feats of the country. It not only is used as a ski jump, but you can go up it just to see amazing views of the city. There is also a ski museum in it so you can see where the sport comes from.
History is a very important part of Oslo. The Vikings lived in the area for centuries. The Viking Ship Museum will show you all about the boats that they used to navigate the waters in the area. The Outdoor Museum has many buildings to help you visualize the country's history. There are farmhouses, churches and so much more to see.
Tusenfryd is the name of the local amusement park. They have over thirty rides from roller coasters to kiddie rides. Make sure you have enough time in the park. It is a daytime activity, so as the summer goes on, the park closes ever earlier, due to the rapidly shortening days.
There once was royalty in Norway, and the palace where they lived is still there. You can tour the building and see how the royal family once lived.
One of the most famous locations in Oslo is the City Hall. Why you might ask? Well, each year, this is where they announce the winners of the Nobel Prizes. The grand hall is filled with anxious nominees and spectators alike. It is one of the best known places in the world that honors greatness in academic excellence. And what made the money that is given away as the prizes for the Nobel Foundation? The Nobel family became rich from the invention of dynamite.
Akershus Fortress is one of the city's historical monuments. This great fort guarded the city from invaders and others for over 800 years. Today it is a great place to go and see history and great views of the city.
Gustav Vigeland made his mark here as Norway's most prominent sculptor. Vigeland Park is one of the most visited places in all of Oslo. There are hundreds of Gustav Vigeland's visions there. The human condition was the focus, and the rest is an amazing collection of art. The grounds are open all year round.
But, the architecture is one of the main draws to this city. Oslo is known for it's historical buildings, but it is also known for it's futuristic ones. All over town you can see these monuments to the future of architecture. If you like, there are several companies that will take you on a tour of the city's architecture and explain the designers and the significance of the buildings.
But, after all is said and done, my favorite is the Opera House. This is the only building around that you can walk right from the ground up onto the roof. It is a public building and the roof is open to anyone. It sits right on the waterfront, so you can see your cruise ship sitting in the harbor. In addition to the many amazing performances that go on inside the opera house, the roof is one of the biggest tourist attractions in town.
So, there are a ton of things to see and do in Oslo. Don't forget to spend a little time and hop a ferry to the islands just off the peninsula. Don't miss out on visiting one of the local beaches. Certainly don't miss the fjords. You need to take some time to see everything that Oslo has to offer. Don't rush it. However, you will probably want to work it in before winter when it's dark the majority of the time and the temperature gets very low. But, for the rest of the summer, Oslo, Norway has a lot to offer, and most of it is unique. That's why I love it. Enjoy!