Hey Norway!

It was an odd combination of events flying into Norway’s capital, Oslo. Our terminal was changed at the last second. Flight attends were looking for passengers by foot and escorting them to their flights. In Atlanta if you are not at the terminal, you get left! In Amsterdam, they wait and wait, then make seven announcements over the PA system. It was weird. Our flight was with Norwegian Airlines. They are a discounted company, but their planes are roomy. No snacks, but it was only an hour and half flight. 

After our flight, which mom and I both caught a nap on, we rushed from the plane to catch an express train. I quickly navigated the kiosk to purchase two round-trip tickets and then we were off. While riding into the city, we met two nice ladies from Australia. Hearing their traveling stories starting two days ago made me appreciate our little hopper planes from city to city within Europe. They were in Oslo for a few days of rest and relaxation before heading North to a conference in the agriculture field. Seemed interesting and again I resisted the urge to ask a million question since it was one in the morning and I didn’t want to be too nosy.

The weird thing about being due north, the sun never really sets. Even at one in the morning the sun was still peaking up over the horizon line kissing the sky with hints of pink, as we exited the train. Our next resting spot on AirBnB required a stop by the Shell gas station to pick up some keys then a short walk to the building. When I approached the attendant at the gas station, he handed them over proudly. It was a weird exchange. He didn’t ask me who I was, or to check an ID?! But then again when arriving in Norway, the costumes guard didn’t stamp or even check our passports! They are laid back here in Norway. 

Once we hauled our tired bodies up 68 wooden semi-spiral steps to the fourth floor apartment, mom and I both collapsed for some much needed sleep. Now remember how the sun never really goes down, well it was screaming through the windows at 4 in the morning. I didn’t let the rays bother me! I just simply rolled over and made a make-shift eye wrap with an extra shirt. 

Our host was kind enough to leave a few stocked items in the fridge, like coffee for mom. We slowly started the day, but hit the ground full force by 11! The only real plan today was to see the National Gallery of Norway. The BIG name in Norwegian art is Edvard Munch, the dude who painted The Scream. The original hangs proudly in the gallery which was a converted home. The gallery has a small collection, but easy to navigate minus the slew of travel groups! Ear buds, guides on microphones, matching hats and lanyards, they were all decked out to travel in packs! Some of the gallery displays reminded us of my grandma’s house where every square inch of space is covered with pictures. In a gallery, it was unusual. Generally, there is one or two pieces  per wall, so you can enjoy individual works of art. In the collage below are some of my favorites!

After the museum, we headed to the Royal Palace and were surprised with a marching band performance. The band was the Hans Majestet Kongens Garde, the Norwegian Army battalion band. Not sure if they were playing because it is their Saturday ritual or for a festival, but it was interesting and fun! After that we caught some tunes down in the central square with Sommerkonsert (Summer Concert) with a chicken song, not like the sterotypical wedding song in the States and a beautiful section from Les Miserables. Check out the short clips below! I think all the music was Oslo rolling out the red carpet for the Erickson Viking crew. Trying to make us feel special!

Mom and I purchased 24-hour tickets for all of the public transportation here in Oslo. That includes trams, trains, ferries, and buses. They were about $30, or 250 Krone. We hopped on a random ferry with no intentions and found ourselves in a national park. The Gressholmen-Rambergoya is one of the 80 islets in the Oslofjord. We walked, collected seashells, and photographed some of the most amazing blue skies. After our ferry adventure, we headed to a newer landmark in Oslo, the Opera House. Built in 2007, it already has attracted 10 million visitors. This modern structure was all marble on the outside and wood on the inside. We hauled our way to the top, taking a few breaks. See the red arrow on the picture collage, that is where we hiked to! I think mom though we wouldn’t get enough steps on our FitBits by purchasing the transportation passes, but let me just say we climbed 35 flights of stairs today!

We then used our passes to head home on Tram 12! Popped into a mini grocery, even smaller than the one in Decatur (if you know which one I am talking about). Our dinner consisted of a pretty good frozen pizza and salad. Tomorrow will be our last day in Oslo and then we head to Bergen, another city in Norway. As this is our 13th day, I am hoping another good night’s rest and drinking lots of water tonight, will help replenish our tired bodies. Backpacking is serious work!