Impressed American tourist

Woke up at my usual 7:30 and went for a lonely breakfast. I hate the way European accommodation does not include tea and coffee making facilities. This is something the Brits are doing right, I can tell you. Anyone who knows me can only wonder what it’s like to encounter me in a hotel corridor BEFORE I’ve had my morning coffee. But “…that which canna be cured maun be endured…” so I get up early and drag myself to the breakfast room and drink three smidgy cups (why have they never heard of mugs???) of coffee before being ready to acknowledge the existence of anything else vaguely sharing the planet with me.

Woke Mirinda at 9:15 (as per orders) and we head down for breakfast number 2 or rather Mirinda’s breakfast and my fifth coffee of the morning. Then it was time for our Oslo day.

Set off towards the docks via Karl Johan’s Gate again. Glorious day – all blue skies and sun. We were going to Bygdoy and had to wait for the ferry so while we waited, checked out the gigantic statues in front of the Rat House – council building, that is. Amazing stuff. They have a thing for enormous, naked women, it would seem. Quite daunting and one wonders about the models.

The ferry to Bygdoy peninsular was pretty unspectacular. Oslo is on a fjord but it just looks like a harbour. We got off at Dronningen and then walked up the hill to the Viking Museum along with 430 others, mostly Americans. It was a lovely, though crowded, walk.

The museum was excellent. Massive Viking ships that had originally been buried as sort of seafaring coffins have been dug up and put on display. You really have to see them to realise how truly big they are but here’s a picture of one.

Viking long boat

It’s a bit dark but the two blobs by the window are Americans so you can sort of judge the scale. They have built the museum with little viewing platforms in the corners – this is where the shot is from. The museum was built to house the ships so it’s not much bigger than them.

This is a picture of what is known as the Oseberg ship and was excavated in 1904. It had originally been hauled ashore and then buried in a trench. It held the bodies of two women, one of them between 20 and 30 years old and the other about 50. There is no way of knowing who they were but experts think it may be the bodies of Queen Asa and her maidservant, however, no-one even knows which one is which let alone who they are!

A lot of well preserved artefacts were found on this and the other ships (there’s 3 all together in this museum) and they are all on display. There’s the most amazing little wagon with very intricate wood carving and a piece of material that looks the spitting image of plaid. This latter compelled a matronly American woman to exclaim “Plaid! I AM impressed.” Before she joined the rest of her party rushing to leave, as they’d completed their 5 minute tour of the place.

Having spent as much time as it takes to see everything (not that long actually) we then left to walk back to the docks for some lovely tortillas on the dock side (oddly enough there were no refreshments of any kind at the museum). Mirinda made a new friend at the café whose customer service skills were a bit on the sad side but who turned out to be the owner. He wasn’t very happy because a customer asked him if he could call him a taxi (the customer didn’t speak Norwegian) and he’d wait for it outside. The café owner begrudgingly did as he asked but when the taxi arrived the guy had vanished. So, no-one was impressed and we have no idea what happened to the customer.

After lunch we once more climbed the hill to the Folk Museum. We thought this was going to be like the one we saw in Innsbruck which, while lovely, was not very big. Boy, were we wrong! The Norsk Folkmuseum is an open air museum full of buildings as well as a massive exhibition hall. I don’t know exactly how big it is but we’re talking a lot of acres. No way you could see the whole thing in a day, let alone half.

We looked into the school house and the stave church when the heavens opened and the rain bucketed down. Apparently this is pretty normal for southern Norway – perfect one moment, soaking the next – and eventually it stopped and we looked at lots more buildings. There is also a display of the Sami people – they that chase the reindeer up to Lapland – who are considered the native people of Norway. Very colourful.

Eventually we made our tired, footsore way back to the dock and boarded the ferry for the return to Oslo. Mirinda not feeling too good so, instead of walking back to the hotel, we adventurously took a tram. You can ride on a tram for an hour on one ticket so we stayed to the end of the line then came back – good way to see a lot of Oslo and rest your feet! Nice trams too. Quite cheap, only 20 kroner each (about £1.50 = about A$3). Eventually got back to the hotel where I was informed I had to go to the station and book the train tickets for the rest of our trip.

Armed with my total lack of Norwegian language skills, I set off. I chatted to a very nice lady who nodded, smiling and assured me it was all done correctly and we were booked to go to all these places I knew nothing about as Mirinda had done all the planning. My fingers were firmly crossed for the rest of the trip. Anyway, we leave for Voss tomorrow morning – it’s 6 hours on the train.

I managed a quick visit to Oslocity before returning to the hotel for some coffee and tea and we dined on hamburger and chips from the Indian café next door to the hotel. It was actually very nice and had a salad with it.

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