In November, to break the monotony of everyday life I went to Oslo for a week. I’d been wanting to go for a while, and every Scandinavian country is on my list as I like the general culture and history of that part of the world. Oslo has plenty of that and it certainly didn’t disappoint me with its wealth of museums, archaeological finds and beautiful buildings, so I heartily recommend a visit should you get the travel bug. If you do, here are a few of my favourite places that are not to be missed while you’re there.
I’m going to start with my favourite place, just to be a maverick. Vigeland Sculpture Park is an incredible and delightfully eccentric destination that you could spend an entire day wandering around. Gustav Vigeland himself was a contemporary of Edvard Munch, who painted The Scream, and it’s obvious as you explore the park that the man had an extraordinary imagination. Every form the human body can twist into (and several it can’t), you name it, he sculpted it. The park is populated with his stone and metal creations so if you appreciate art and sculpture then this place will fulfil your soul, but if you’re like me you can still smile and titter a little bit at some of the more explicit statues. The café was manned by friendly and helpful staff, and you got a Moomin tray with your food and drinks. What else could a traveller need?
Around the fjord is a smattering of museums all within walking distance of each other. I don’t recommend actually walking around the fjord itself, as while it was a pleasant enough journey with great scenery I did nearly walk my leg off. Seriously, my knee went all loose like that of a broken doll and it’s still not quite right.
The Fram Museum holds the eponymous ship itself, and you can climb inside and look at the tiny cabins that held a group of crazy explorers who not only decided to map the dangerous North West passage, but also went on an expedition to the South Pole. We’ve all heard of Scott’s sadly doomed attempt to reach the pole first; well, Amundsen’s team got there first, and the Fram was their ship. There’s so much information about their journey, and the museum was wonderfully respectful of our own crazy explorers who weren’t so lucky.
Last but by no means least, the Norsk Folkesmuseum. As well as a variety of artefacts from centuries past, it also has a life sized replica of a medieval Norwegian town complete with all the lodges, barns, buildings and of course the requisite church. It was a bit late in the day when I got there, so I didn’t get to see the inside exhibits but honestly it didn’t matter; wandering around the outside was more than enough. I really got a feel of what it was like back then, even if it was slightly spooky to walk around the town by myself. Luckily, I wasn’t ambushed by any Viking ghosts or demons.
Of course that’s just the tip of the Norwegian iceberg. It might be a bit expensive as European cities go, but Oslo gave me a week packed with weird and wonderful things that I’ll never forget.