Just like in America, Monday was a holiday in Norway. All shops were closed, as were many of the museums and other attractions. Not to worry, with so many celebrated structures scattered throughout Oslo, the city is a living museum dedicated to keeping its heritage alive.
Oslo sits at the northernmost end of the 62-mile long Oslofjord in the southeastern part of Norway. The city was founded in 1050 A.D. by Viking King Harald Hardrada. The current population is over 634,000.
I had originally booked a tour called the “Best of Oslo” that was a city tour featuring a visit to the National Gallery, which boasts Edward Munch’s original “The Scream” painting. The tour was canceled due to the holiday, so I paid a taxi driver to take me to the Vigeland Sculpture Garden on this beautiful, sunny day with cool air. Temps in the 50’s allowed for sweater weather to take in the magnificence of the 80-acre sculpture garden in all its glory. This strikingly designed park showcases the life work of renowned sculptor Gustav Vigeland. Strolling through the five distinct gardens allows one to view over 200 of his scultputres depicting the complete human life cycle from birth to death. There are lakes, meadows and spectacular tree-lined paths. At the entrance, I was welcomed by an older gentleman playing the accordion.
The driver also allowed me to get out and take photos at the Palace and the Opera House. The Opera House cost $500 million to construct and looks a bit like an iceberg emerging from the sea. You can walk on the roof around a central glass structure. The stage is below sea level.
Later in the afternoon, I took a harbor cruise along Oslofjord, which doesn’t feature tall mountains. Like the western side of Norway. Setting sail on a beautifully restored Norwegian ship, we traveled through picturesque inlets, serene bays and a maze of islands dotted with summer homes and quaint villages.It wasn’t that impressive.
We disembarked the vessel at the Bygdoy Peninsula, which celebrates the great nautical history of Norway. We visited the Fram Museum, which houses the ship “Fram” in a dry dock. She holds the record of the ship to have made it the farthest north. Then we visited a Nordic sea museum that featured many ship displays and a movie on the country of Norway.