Oslo – an overview

Last week we had a lovely short break in Oslo, the capital of Norway.  We had Emma and Alessio to keep us company and we were also lucky with the weather.  It was sunny most of the time, though it still felt very cold at times.  This was our first visit to Norway and Oslo is a pretty impressive city. It has a marvellous setting at the head of Oslo fjord. Unusually the fjord opens up here to give Oslo a very wide and indented waterfront. Here is the view of the city and the fjord from Holmenkollen. P1060881There has been a settlement at Oslo for centuries and the main castle and fortress of Akershus dates back to the middle ages.  Oslo is now the capital of Norway and has a rather fine royal palace to highlight its new status. Below are photos of the old and the new royal buildings. P1060834P1060460Oslo is also home to the Nobel Peace Prize, though I was surprised to discover that there is a whole centre devoted to the history of this much sought after award. Sadly we did not have time to visit the centre, which is housed in this lovely waterside building.P1060495Another surprise was to discover that Oslo was, and still is to some extent an industrial city. Most of the traditional industrial building shave long gone, but some remain as in this rather grand conglomeration.P1060813Most of the former industrial areas by the waterfront are in the process of becoming new artistic and cultural emblems of the city. The form shipbuilding and engineering area of Aker Brygge has been transformed into a high end shopping and restaurant area. Further out at Tjuvholmen is the ultra modern Astrup Fearnley Museum. On the other side of the city another old waterfront area is in the process of redevelopment. Here the highlight is Oslo’s newest star attraction – the fabulous Opera House. Below you can see the Astrup Fearnely Museum and part of Aker Brygge, followed by the stunning Opera House.P1060830P1060810Norway is a sea-faring nation, and in Oslo there are three museums, side by side, all devoted to different aspects of the country”s maritime past. We visited the Fram museum, which is dedicated to polar exploration and in particular the voyages of the Fram, a boat specially built for polar expeditions.  In fact the whole ship is in the museum, which is built around the vessel. Quite an experience. Below is a view of the front of the ship, followed by a cluster of Norwegian flags, which could be seen flying all over the city.P1060577P1060604Oslo is not short of outstanding artistic and cultural attractions. There must be more outdoor sculptures in Oslo than any other comparable sized city. Below is a group of three statues, featuring characters from the world of the stage, suitably to be found outside the National Theatre. This is followed by one of Edvard Munch’s famous paintings from the National Gallery. Not the scream, but a more gentle and colourful canvass – three girls on the bridge.P1060474IMAG0327Finally, no visit to Oslo could be complete for a fan of the works of Jo Nesbø, without visiting some of the haunts of the world’s greatest detective, Harry Hole. His favourite resting place is a real restaurant – Schrøder. It is still one of the old fashioned eating and drinking places, full of traditional and hearty Norwegian fare. We ate there one evening and I end with this photo of the inside of the place. Oslo is well worth a visit for a short or even longer break.P1060794

 

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3 thoughts on “Oslo – an overview

  1. Looks like a marvellous place when the sun is shining! You’ll have to have a visit to the Viking exhibition at the British Museum and compare the ancient with the modern.

  2. There is a Viking museum in Oslo, not far from the Fram museum. But we had visited the Viking museum in Denmark last year, so decided to give this one a miss, due to shortage of time. Will check out the exhibition in the British museum. They had one on Vikings in Edinburgh a year or so ago – pretty good.

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