Norway · Oslo

Norway – Oslo

On Saturday my cousin and I had a leisurely morning, then a friend of hers came and drove us on a short tour to a nearby lookout. A short stop at a grocery store for food and icecream, then we dropped off the food at home, ate the cones (like Drumsticks at home) and after that he drove us to Oslo to the Vigelandsparken. He went home from there, as he had a bike tour in the morning. At eighty years old, he is in great shape, bicycling in summer and skiing in winter. I’m working on becoming more fit, but I have a way to go. Anyway . . .

Vigelandsparken is world-famous and if you come to Oslo and can only do one thing, I recommend a long visit to the park.

Gustav Vigeland was a brilliant sculptor who was instrumental in the design and architectural outline of the park. It showcases over 200 of his sculptures and other work (like the iron gates and the fountains). The monolith in the centre consists of 121 human figures intricately woven together, but carved from a single block of granite. I couldn’t help thinking, “what if his chisel had slipped?”

Vigelandsparken is absolutely stunning! Here you will see humans in all stages of life. All ages, moods, etc. are to be found here. I did not have time to photograph everything, but I did my best. I will put a link to some information about the park at the end of this post.

At the entrance to the park¬† is this statue of Gustav Vigeland. An information board included the photo of two dragon sculptures. I think they are in the museum which features most of his work, so I didn’t see them in person, but was struck by their beauty.

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There are forged iron gates to the east and west of the park. This is one of the western gates. To the east, at the main entrance, are the gates featuring men.

I think we have all seen someone in this state of helpless frustration and rage (and have likely experienced that feeling ourselves). It is one of the most famous of the statues and you can see his left hand is very shiny from visitors ‘shaking’ it.

Such a variety of moods! The details, such as the girls’ braids, are stunning, too.

I loved the organic shapes and how they brought nature into the scenes. I can’t adequately express my delight at the beauty, variety and insight, all of it in shapes hewn from granite.

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The friezes on the bridge were delightful, too. This image reminded both of us of the story of Romulus and Remus.

On top of the stone here the base of the celestial shape shows a map of the globe. Around the main part are carvings of the twelve horoscope symbols. My cousin was born four years and one day after I was, so we are both Virgos. She found the rose lying on the ground and rescued it. It had an exquisite scent.


At the centre of the park is the Monolith, 121 intricately entwined human figures carved from a single block of granite. We climbed all the steps and it was worth it. An amazing view. We continued west and from near the western gates I took the bottom right picture; a view past the Monolith to the Cathedral in the far distance.

This piece is called The Wheel of Life; my pictures don’t do it justice. I did love the effect of the setting sun shining through it.

These are the Eastern Gates, where we entered the park; I only just found the photos. I didn’t realize I hadn’t taken any close-ups. They were as lovely as the Western Gates, though.

Instead of walking back through the park we walked around; part of this was through a lovely and very serene wooded area with a stream and waterlilies.

Then past a few more Vigeland sculptures . . .

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. . . and a very different, but interesting, modern sculpture. I haven’t looked it up yet to see what it symbolizes.

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Next we passed some embassies; one was the Swedish embassy (see the flag?)

. . . and then we came to a lovely outdoor cafe, still open although it was nearly 10 pm.

Here we had an excellent Norwegian beer and a bowl of salsa and tortilla chips, some of the best chips I’ve ever had, to be honest. There was a fair bit of salsa left (we were dipping, not scooping), so I asked for a second bowl of chips. Something was lost in the translation, though, as the second bowl came with more salsa. Oh, well . . . we began scooping and managed to get through the whole lot. We were sitting above a lovely area with a stream and / or pond, waterlilies and waterfowl. It was idyllic! We left sometime after eleven pm and strolled into downtown Oslo. But first . . .

. . . I took a few photos of the cafe’s most attractive sign.

We passed this wee cafe, too, closed for the night. I love all the woodwork and details here in Norway. This wasn’t the most elaborate place, but it was very pretty. I could live here, I thought . . .

Even that late, there was a lot of light in the sky, as you can see from these photos of the statues at the entrance to the Vigeland park. Heading down a wide alley of trees, I spotted the telephone booth, a light in the wilderness. It reminded me of all my friends and relatives who are into Dr. Who.

We walked all over downtown Oslo, but mostly it was too dark to take decent photos. I did manage these of part of a display in a shop selling bunaden. Bunads are the national costume of Norway and there are traditionally various styles which are representative of the county a person came from. These are not traditional in that the embroidery is not actual handwork, but trimmings stitched on. For myself, I prefer the traditional, but many women don’t have the skills to do the work themselves and the price of a good handmade bunad is very high. It was nice to see these, though. And my cousin has a bunad that was made for her which I will take pictures of before I leave (and share them with you).

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We walked past several stands for OBOS bikes during the evening. I don’t know all the details, but these are community bikes and it sounded as though, if you had a membership of some sort, you could just take a bike and use it, so long as you left it at an OBUS stand when you were done. A great idea, I thought! I know some other cities have them and they are likely to become more popular as time goes on.

We caught the last possible bus home (barely) and it was filled with some of the loudest young people I’d ever heard. We’d passed a few on the streets, too. Not obnoxious, but obviously had been drinking a bit and so were unaware of their decibel level. I liked this advertisement above their heads, so I took a few pictures of that for the photographers among you.

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We were only on the bus for a few stops, then got on the train to Lillestrom. I took this photo because I found the design of the seats so interesting. Nothing special, I suppose, but quite different to any I’ve seen at home.

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We sat up for a while talking once we were back home. In my bed and waiting for sleep to come, I was struck once again by the degree of light in the sky. I took this at 2.46 am and you can tell that dawn is already beginning to tinge the sky. Of course, the downside is that in winter, the days are about as short. Not something I’d enjoy, really.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Hope you enjoy reading about my amazing day!

 

England

22 June 2018: By the sea, by the beautiful sea . . .

On Friday one of my new friends, Veronica, took me along and we drove south to Littlehampton, a small town which overlooks the English Channel. It was a lovely few hours and we enjoyed every bit of it. Flora didn’t want to get her wool wet, so she stayed behind and had a restful day.

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I loved the look of these houses as we drove through Littlehampton to one of the car parks. The shapes of the gables is quite striking.

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I was struck by this War Memorial, but we were driving and there was no place safe to stop, so you can only get a glimpse of the side that caught my eye. If you were walking toward the Memorial, you would see two lovely flower beds. In each bed the red flowers form the shape of a Memorial Poppy. They were so lovely! This November marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I and that’s a very important day for me. I shall never forget the lives that were sacrificed in so many ways, whether those young men died or whether they bore the marks of their service for the rest of their lives.

If you look carefully along the edge of the door frame you will see the outline of one of the red poppies where the two flower beds flank the approach.

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After parking the car, we walked around and visited a few of the charity shops, which are like the thrift shops at home that raise money for charities. I don’t think I took pictures of the shops, but Veronica took this one of me. I was so happy to see this wee Yoda! I have never forgotten his saying, “There is no Try; there is only Do!” So true.

 

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After the charity shops we were hungry and walked down to the seaside. Above you can see the view from our table, from left to right. The tide was out, so I didn’t get to dip my toes in the English Channel, but maybe next time . . . I’d like to walk along that pier to the end, too. I meant to bring home a pebble, but I forgot. I did find a lovely seagull feather, though. I love feathers of all sorts and have a small collection now.

 

We went to one of the fish and chip shops and bought our lunch, then sat at metal tables in the sun, so we could enjoy the view while we ate. Isn’t the sea a long way out?

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And the fish and chips were as good as they look in this picture! I was SO excited to see rollmops on the menu and I bought one. You can see it in the wee paper cup between the small chips and the fish. In case you don’t know, rollmops are a Scandinavian delicacy. They are a strip of pickled herring wrapped around a sliver of dill pickle (in this case) and some strips of pickled onion.

When I was a girl, we went to the drive-in theatre most weekends in the summer. It was a great way to entertain not only the parents, but also nine children from the baby to me in my teens and was definitely affordable. Occasionally, my parents would buy a small plastic keg of rollmops and the three of us would eat most of them during the show. I think those kegs held about two litres. I have one of those kegs as a keepsake, but I think I bought it in a thrift store.

We didn’t only have rollmops, though. We usually brought large paper bags of home-popped popcorn and quart jars of Freshie, which was the Canadian forerunner to the US Kool-Aid. Sometimes we went to the refreshment stand during the intermission and bought small ice cream cones, sometimes we bought a bottle of pop (soda) and a few bags of popcorn to share during the movie itself.

In those days, there was at least one cartoon, then a short feature film (what we would call a documentary today), then an animated ad for the refreshment stand. Those were followed by an intermission to allow people time to buy more popcorn or pop or chocolate bars. Then came the full two hour movie. Going to the movies was a lot more fun in those days, I think.

But back to the rollmops . . . I am half Norwegian, as my mother’s parents were both born in Norway, and I find the rollmops a lovely way of connecting with my heritage. I’m sure I shall have many more ways soon.

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I had eaten half the rollmop’s herring before I thought to take a photo, but this will give you the idea . . .

On our way back to the car park we stopped at a restaurant to see the displays on the walls inside, and hanging from the high ceiling and all along the upper part of the walls. There were many items from the two World Wars, including a dory hanging above. I’m not sure if I have a photo of that. There was so much to see . . . Above are photos of a model of Nelson’s ‘Victory’ and a painting of him dying on the deck, as well as a painting of the sea battle at Trafalgar. The last photo is of me standing in front of a ship’s bell and a selection of various ship’s equipment.

Above the door to the toilets hangs a very old ship’s toilet. It was interesting to see. I didn’t take a photo of that, either. Perhaps another time, if my luck continues to hold.

The day was over far too soon, but we both had things to do back in Surrey, so off we went. Our trip home was lovely, but there were roadworks in several places, so we got caught behind very long queues of cars, making us quite a bit later than we’d planned.

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I am in love with the English countryside! The roads are quite narrow compared to BC country roads. The trees often overhang the road, creating green leafy tunnels that are delightful. And the sight of cloud shadows moving across the fields is stunning. I was so pleased to see the red double-decker bus on the road, too. And hedgerows! I could write a post only about hedgerows. I’ve long been an advocate of them; they serve so many purposes. I am so lucky to be living where they are an everyday sight.

IMG_2867Doors are something else that interest me and I was happy to see this one in time to photograph it. This particular door I like not only for itself, but for the lovely arch and the interesting contrast formed by the combination of wood, stone and brick in the wall around it.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Do leave a comment if you like and if you have any questions or if there is something you would like to see a photo of, do let me know. I’ll do my best to answer questions and post photos.

In the meantime, I hope your summer is going as well as mine is. The weather continues to be perfect here, warm but not too hot, lovely fluffy clouds at times and not much rain.

See you next time!  ~ Bestemor (and Flora says hi, too!)