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