Just wanted to clear up something first: Yes, I did participate in a traditional Scottish jam session in Edinburgh. It happened. And no, I did not consume half a bottle of whiskey before participating. I felt in a particularly courageous mood and decided that I didn't have anything to lose.
Day 2: Bygdoy
Wednesday dawned bright and early with the sun providing a welcome sight after the horrific weather of the previous day. One of the perks of the Haraldsheim hostel was that breakfast was included in the price, an offer that I intended to take full advantage of after seeing the ridiculous prices of food the day before. Breakfast is a much different affair in Norway than it is in the UK or US. In the UK, breakfast can consist of hot dishes such as the 'full English' (toast, sausage, black pudding, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes), beans on toast, toad in the hole or the more typical cereal, oatmeal, etc. In Norway, cold dishes are the norm. Cereal and granola were on offer, but this seemed to be more for the benefit of the foreign tourists than actual Norwegians. The typical Norwegian breakfast seems to consist of open faced sandwiches and hard boiled eggs. This meant that there was a huge tray of bread and platters of sliced meat and cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, fish chunks (fish is typically consumed at every meal), tuna salad, sliced beets, pickled eggs, etc. I'll be honest - it was something of a strange concept to consider eating a sandwich for breakfast and I stuck with the cereal. Fish for breakfast? No thanks.
|This hill was one of the smaller ones. The hoto does not do it justice.|
Afterward, I took the tram to the city center where I bought a 72-hour Oslo Pass from the tourist center. I highly recommend that anyone visiting Oslo buy the Oslo Pass. Available for 24-, 48-, and 72-hour durations, the pass not only provides you free entry to most of the city's museums and tourist attractions (which would otherwise set you back a pretty penny), but free transportation on the train, tram, bus, and metro networks. It also gives discounts to some restaurants and clubs. All for a very decent price. It really was a bargain and I am glad that I got it.
My first destination was to island of Bygdoy, which required taking the ferry from Aker Brygge. Bygdoy is the summer island of the royal family and home to some of the more interesting museums that Oslo has to offer: the Norse Folk Museum, the Viking Ship Museum, the Kon-Tiki Museum, the Fram Polar Ship Museum, and the Norwegian Maritime Museum. Unfortunately, since most of the museums closed at 4pm (some even earlier), I was only able to make it to three. Guess I will have to get to the rest on my next visit! :)
First stop was the Norse Folk Museum. An open-air museum founded in the 1890s, it is similar to the Greenfield Village created by Henry Ford in Michigan. Essentially, the Norse Folk Museum is a collection of authentic buildings representing Norway's history. These buildings were dismantled at their original locations and rebuilt on Bygdoy. While the majority of the collection consists of farm buildings, which are interesting at first but get quite repetitive to see after a while, it does boast a few gems. The most notable is the Gol Stave Church from the 13th century.
|Gol Stave Church|
|Detailing on the door of the church|
|The Oseberg Ship|
|The Oseberg ship - not looking too bad for 1000+ years|
|Intricate detailing on one of the sleds found with the Oseberg ship - burial vessel of a Viking queen|
|Detailing from the Oserberg ship|
|The Gokstad ship|
Day 3: Akershus Fortress
|More modern sections of Akershus Fortress|
|Memorial to the 45 men executed by the Nazis at Akershus Fortress|
|The 'My Buddy' car - the latest fuel-efficiency craze sweeping Europe|
Video of the Day: "Downstream" by Shira Kammen (In actuality, only the 1st tune is 'Downstream'. The 2nd tune is 'Oso Do Ar' and the 3rd is 'Borrela d'Aragon')