Day 03 - Saturday, July 19, 2014 - - City Tour of Oslo; National Theater; Royal Palace; Vigeland Sculpture Park; City Hall; Optional Tour of Treasures of Oslo Seafaring Tradition; Travel to Lillehammer, Site of the 1994 Winter Olympics
The day began early with a 6:15 wake up call. Vic got a weather reading out on our little balcony, the temperature was 66 degrees with 72% humidity.
Our luggage had to be outside of our door at 7:00 so the porters could pack the bus and Birgitte could account for each person's bags to insure an on-time departure.
We met our driver, Jan and found our assigned seats on the bus. Our local guide, Anna told us about our morning's adventures. As we drove to the Sculpture Garden she gave us information about the history of the Norwegian royal family.
We drove by the Royal Palace that we had walked to yesterday and also the American Embassy and the Nobel Institute. As we passed the government buildings Anna reminded us that Norway is one of the most democratic countries in the world. She said it takes forever to get anything done as everyone gets to have a vote on every issue.
Our first stop was the Vigeland Sculpture Park, designed by Gustav Vigeland. The park displays over 212 sculptures depicting families in various activities of life.
Vigeland's work was considered very controversial in the 1920's through 1940’s, as the sculptures are all nude. He explained that they are classic; not to be dated or labeled by styles or clothing of a particular country of origin.
We had about 40 minutes to explore the park and marvel at the famous solid granite monolith, a column of the stages of life. It is 46 feet high with 121 figures that took three men 14 years to complete.
As we drove from the park, Anna told us about the education system, the abundance of hydroelectric power, and the North Sea oil that brings prosperity to Norway.
Jan let us out near the Oslo City Hall, a beautiful building which is the site of the Nobel Peace Prize recognition ceremonies every December 10th. The murals in the main hall tell the story of Norway's struggles during World War II and of the everyday lives of the people of Norway.
We went back to the hotel and dropped off the people who were not going on the optional tour. Anna took us to the Viking Ships Museum where we saw three recovered burial ships from over 1200 years ago.
Anna explained about the extensive voyages of the Vikings and their trading throughout the Atlantic region. Many artifacts discovered in the funeral ships showed the richness and precision carvings of these wealthy people.
From the Vikings we went fast forward in time to the Kon-Tiki Museum to see two of Thor Heyerdahl's famous papyrus reed boats. He and six colleagues tried to prove his theory that the Polynesian Islands were settled by sailors from South America.
We saw the Ra and the Kon-Tiki, both rafts with all of the original artifacts used in Heyerdahl's 101-day voyagers.
Anna had given us 30 minutes to have lunch and walk around the waterfront. We shared a Fanta and had a hot dog. We are learning the truth about the high prices; Gennie paid 35K for a bottle of water, about $5.50. We will definitely save the bottle and refill it with that pure tap water!
By 1:00 we got back on the bus to return to the hotel and pick up the remainder of our group. We had a few minutes to use the restrooms and Gennie began to write the journal for the day.
The journey north to Lillehammer took us through gorgeous green fields of oats, wheat, potatoes, and pastures for very contented cows. We followed the 60-mile long Lake Mjøsa and made our afternoon stop at a highway Marche Restaurant at the small town of Espa in Stange.
It was about 5:15 when we arrived at Lillehammer. Situated at the northern end of Lake Mjøsa, the small town is famous for hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics. We made a Kodak stop at the lake and welcome sign as well as up on the mountain just below the ski jump venue.
Jan drove us up to the ski jump where we got out and walked to the bottom of the landing area and then up to the Olympic flame. Most of the 1994 facilities are in use by Nordic sports schools or have been absorbed by the little community.
When we arrived at the hotel, those of us who were assigned rooms on the west side of the hotel found temperatures in the high 80’s with no air conditioning and full sun. Evidently, Norway is experiencing unusually hot weather and little rain this summer.
Several of us had to change rooms but the process took about an hour. Once we had gotten our bags and settled into the new room, it was time for dinner. The included buffet was excellent with a variety of traditional Norwegian foods as well as standard hotel fare.
The sun was still high in the sky at 8:30 when we went back to the room to sort photos and to finish the journal. As wonderful as the long days are now, one wonders how the long dark nights can be in the winter so close to the Arctic Circle.
Going to bed at 10:00 when it is still light is hard to do, but after our full days, we are ready to shower and close our eyes.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Lillehammer Hotel - - - Meal: B & D
We were in Norway in 1983 and I think 1989. Steve has relatives there. One relative, Anna Grimdalen (?) was a artist and one of her sculptures I think is in front of the city hall! I know you will enjoy the beautiful country!
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Hi: We visited Oslo a few days ago and enjoyed some of the same places that you are enjoying. As an American of Norwegian ancestry, I have come to the conclusion that the Norwegians are a little "tschd". Ask your guide about the history of 'aquavit'. Cheers - Roger - Panama Trip.
Day 15 – Tuesday, October 25, 2022 – Return Flights to the USA
Our bags are unpacked, the laundry is done, and we are trying to get back on Colorado body clock time. Our trip home was long but basically uneventful, always a good thing!...