Superficial Impressions of OsloWe spent a little over two days in Oslo as part of our recent trips. Some quick impressions.
1) The scale of the city is perfect for tourists; one can almost walk everywhere, but the transit system is efficient and pleasant to use.
2) Capri pants have won the battle there; I am not sure whether this means it is a coming trend elsewhere or Oslo is just an odd place - many women in Vienna were also wearing Capri pants. As late as early June they had made very minimal inroads in Paris.
3) The Munch museum is a depressing place, combining neurotic security (given some of the losses they suffered one can see some security, but what they have is nutty and does not address the problem), and paintings by someone who never got over his teenage angst.
4) The Ibsen museum is a delight, if a bit light on content - Ibsen did get over his teenage attitudes. Part of what makes it special is this summer's emphasis on Ibsen, on the centenary of his death.
5) Holmenkollen. Take the T-Bahn to the station and then take it back down again and skip the ski jump. The view from the train down to the city and fjord is wonderful, and the marginal improvement from the top of the ski tower is not worth the additional effort (and anxiety, for some).
6) It's expensive. But not so much as I recalled from my previous visit.
7) People seem so happy. Of course it was mid-July with sunny warm weather, so I imagine that brightens spirits enormously.
8) It is unsettling having the sun set around 11pm. And equally unsettling to find it up again at 4am.
9) The Vigeland Park. Ahhhh. Worth a separate post. Along with the museum.
10) Akker Brygge - just a great place to walk around, and, if you don't care about prices, eat.
11) Karl Johann's Gate. A great place to walk around, and, if you don't care about prices, eat. Actually, this proved to be a bit of a Rodeo Drive the evening we dined there on a patio - motorcyclists flaunting their wares (male and female) up and down the road.
12) A Fjord cruise. On the day well worth it - it spared us walking (we were tired from long walks the day before), and it exposed us to the riotously sensual elements of Oslo life in the summer - the 'beaches' (rocky shorelines), the summer homes out in the fjord, and the like. Generally, it is just plain fun taking boats.
13) Viking ships museum - well worth it, straightforward and informative.
14) Kon-Tiki museum. Here we encountered one of the most interesting aspects of Norwegian culture. In most artistic areas, there is one giant in Norwegian history, and all pretty much from the late 19th and early 20th century - Grieg, Vigeland, Munch, Ibsen. However, in exploration, there is a real battle - Amundsen, Nansen, and more. Somehow Heyerdahl got his own museum, and it looks as if it is devoted mostly to the cause of showing that he is at least as good as Nansen, who got the Nobel Peace Prize (it is clear in the museum that Heyerdahl wanted it and tried). But this museum is overkill. Moreover, there is a curious undocumented transition between the idyllic early life in the South Seas with wife X, and the later documentation of his widow, clearly wife Y.