Cool Oslo part III (April 2014)
Have you ever seen the painting Scream by Edvard Munch?You should hurry before someone steals it again!
So, we started our last day in Oslo by visiting the National Gallery which was just around the corner of our hotel. I’m not a huge fan of galleries but I like to see some of the master pieces that I’ve learned about at school in real life. We visited the National gallery to see the world-famous painting the Scream by Edvard Munch. The entry is free on Sunday so that was a welcoming bonus in pricey Oslo. The gallery isn’t that big and we soon saw everything of interest to us. As all the other tourists we had to take our photo with the Scream painting. Edvard Munch actually created four versions of this painting and they are found in different museums. You can see the other Scream painting in the Munch Museum together with the pastel version and the last one was sold on auction in 2012 (pastel) for a whopping sum of $119,922,600 according to Wikipedia. The one we saw was actually stolen from the National Gallery in 1994 but it was recovered several months later.
After this culture fix we needed some history so we headed to the Akershus Fortress and Castle at the old harbour. You can walk around the fortress for free but if you want to visit the Castle then you pay for the ticket and get a free audio guide. I love castles not just because I have a degree in History. My husband is also a big castle fan especially of the ones that were built in medieval times like this one. The building of the fortress and the castle started in 1299 under the rule of king Hakon V but the whole complex which withstood many sieges and battles was modernised in the Renaissance period by the king Christian IV. The royal family and the state government still use the castle for certain state affairs. We saw the banquet room which is used by the government and the royals but it isn’t luxurious at all. We walked around the castle rooms and the dungeon and listened to the historical explanations as well as to the ghost stories on our audio guides. It was a good visit and we also admired the view of Oslo’s fjord from the fortress’ walls.
Then we got hungry and found a great Danish restaurant. This was our first and last proper meal in Oslo since we only ate at cheap fast food places at this weekend trip. After our very delicious meal we had to visit one last thing in Oslo and that was the Vigeland sculpture park. Now, this attraction isn’t really in the center like the other things we did but we walked nevertheless. My feet didn’t agree with that and I had terrible blisters by the end of the day (damn you, Doc Martens boots!).
On our walk to the Vigeland park we passed through a neighbourhood which was full of embassy buildings. Most of them didn’t seem to have any sort of protection or surveillance unlike the USA embassy in the center close to the royal palace which looked like it was in the war zone! There were a couple of other curious things in Oslo too. Traffic lights, for starters. I have never ever seen such traffic lights. Can someone explain the purpose of double signals? And the trees too. Their branches were all cut in the same way; the ends seemed to be burnt. I liked the old-fashioned iron wrought street lamps with a little crown at the top. We also saw an old-fashioned looking letter box and a French elementary school. When we went souvenir shopping we saw an entire floor dedicated to Christmas in one shop and it was April!
I guess Vigeland park looks a lot nicer when everything’s in bloom but for our visit the branches were still bare and many fountains didn’t work. This park is full of Norwegian’s sculptor’s works (Gustav Vigeland 1869-1943). All of the sculptures show naked human bodies so perhaps it’s not really a good place for everyone’s taste. The most striking sculpture is a big phallus like column which consists of intertwined human bodies. What did I think of this park? Well, I thought it was a bit strange to see families with young children among the naked sculptures but I’m not that prudish usually. Anyway, it’s a cool park but it wasn’t my favourite part of Oslo. We retraced our steps back to the center and I rested my blistered feet at Hard Rock café. So, that’s how our weekend trip to Oslo finished since we had early flight back on Monday.
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