The long train journey west to see 'The Scream', an Olympic Ski Jump and Viking Longboats
28.10.2014 - 29.10.2014 13 °C
I had booked myself on the early train for the 6 hour journey to Oslo. This time it was an old train rather than a high speed one like I had from Copenhagen and there was nothing of note during the journey - hours of endless coniferous forests dotted with lakes with the occasional town.
Having booked into my hotel I managed to visit the Nasjonalgalleriet before it closed to tick off one of the items on my Oslo bucket list - too see Edvard Munch's famous 1893 expressionist painting 'The Scream'. Mind you I did looking around the rest of the gallery's collection as well and particularly enjoyed Norwegian Landscapes as well as some of Munch's other works (the gallery had a special Munch Exhibition on so there was rather a lot of them!). On the way back to my hotel I passed a line of electric cars plugged into a public recharging point - not something I can say I have ever come across before.
The next day I decided as in Copenhagen and Stockholm I would get a tourist day pass for Oslo and have an early start to get maximum value from it. First up I ventured 5 miles north on the T-bane (Oslo's Metro) to Holmenkollen, host to the 1952 Winter Olympic Games and 4 World Championships (1930, 1966, 1982 and 2011). Holmekollen is home to the World's oldest ski museum which was interesting, especially how Holmenkollen itself has changed over the years but the star of the show not surprisingly was the Ski Jump itself. From the top the 360° view of Oslo, the Fjord and surrounding forest was spectacular.
From high above Oslo I made way all the way down to Bygdog, an exclusive fjord side residential area just across the water from Oslo's city centre and home to a number of museums reflecting Norway's cultural history and seafaring traditions. First up was culture with a visit to the open air Norsk Folkesmuseum containing 150+ buildings from all over Norway dating back to the 1500s. The star of the show was definitely the traditional wooden Stave Church built about 1200 and typical of western Norway (I really didn't think I'd get a chance to see one of these) but there were lots of other buildings moved here from all over Norway as well.
It was then on to another item on my Oslo bucket list, the Viking Ships Museum. They are in a cross shaped building with each of the 3 ships having a wing of their own. The are remarkably well preserved, over 90% original timbers and were genuine sea going Viking longboats from the 9th and 10th centuries which were then used to bury individuals of high status - not all viking chiefs were set a drift in burning boats Shetland Valhalla style!
Before my final target for the day I just had time to pop in to the Polar Ship Fram Museum, well I had a valid Oslo Pass so it was free so why not? The Fram was the wooden ship used by the Norwegian polar explorers Nansen (1893-96), Sverdrup (1898-1902) and final Roald Amundsen himself (1910-12). It is credited with having sailed further north and south than any other sailing ship in the world.
My final port of call was the Kon-Tiki Museum, I remember reading about it when I was a kid. This was the fragile balsa wood raft that Thor Heyerdahl and his five-man crew used to sail from Peru to Easter Island in 1947 to prove that early South Americans could have peopled Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean. Alongside it is the Ra II in which Thor Heyerdahl embarked on a similar trip between Morocco and Barbados in 1970.
By now it was getting dark and I just had time to take some pictures looking down and across Oslofjord before the sunset. A good day with most of my Oslo bucket list covered, just a leisurely stroll around Oslo city centre planned for tomorrow.