Onward to Oslo

After we said goodbye to Helge and Kari, whose beautiful farm was located between Tyinholmen and Oye, we stopped at the next Service Station in City of Vang, as suggested, in order to check the quality and pressure on our repaired tire.  The tire was fine.  It was 2 p.m.

Then we travelled (in the rain!) through the Valdres Valley, which is centered on a huge lake that empties into a fjord near Oslo.

We began viewing again an expanse of flat fields next to the mountain lakes, always marveling at the gorgeous mountains and waterfalls.  In this photo I finally managed to get (from the fast-going car, of course) a perfect photo of the sloped “road” built up to the hay mount of a barn.  In America, farmers use grain elevators or pulleys to get hay and other material onto the second floor of their barns.

Whether snow-capped mountains or town-filled valleys or farm-slopped hills, we always said we were observing the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

We came to be surprised when we saw flat farmland, however.  They usually farm on hills, it seems.

We have to remember that as we head to Oslo that we are now pretty far east of mountainous Bergen.

But there are still mountains and lakes here!

As we approach Oslo, the traffic increases and the tunnels double.

We came to learn that Oslo is located very far inland, at the end of a very long fjord.

We arrived in Oslo about 6:30 p.m., so we were about four hours from Tyinholmen and Oye.  Mrs. Garmin had assisted in some of the tricky map maneuvers and steered us directly to the brand new Thon Opera Hotel, which is located next to the brand new Opera House in downtown Oslo.  That’s the cream colored Thon Hotel on the right (in the photo).  I took this picture of it later from inside the Opera House.

After a delicious breakfast the next day — almost as good as at Tyinholmen — we had to decide what to do in the big city.  We chose to hop a trolley to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which was advertised everywhere.  I took a picture of Mr. Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) in the midst of vibrant begonias.

Since our hotel was located adjacent to the train station (the sign says Ostbanehallen), we checked out the logistics of the train to Stockholm, where we’d be going in a couple days.  Would you believe we then picked up McDonald’s food at the train station and brought it up to our fancy room?  We did.

The Park includes dozens of stone sculptures of human bodies of all ages, from little children to old people — all larger than life, hundreds of human bodies in various of life’s motions and emotions, all without a stitch of clothing. 

We marveled at the fact that an artist could sculpt such smooth perfection from huge boulders of solid granite.  And we wondered where he got all of his ideas.

We marveled at all of his human figures — men, women, and children — as they were posed sitting, running, jumping, hugging, fighting, sad, happy, angry.

I was most drawn to the sculptures of the babies and the old people, those at the beginning and end of their lives.

I wondered, would they have become so noticed if they were all wearing clothes?

It was an amazing display of art and humanity.

A centrally located fountain also consisted of human figures in various poses.

The park is huge and actually has more green than granite.

We found the famous Angry Little Boy on the bridge.  Part of the bronze was polished from touching.

Then we took a trolley back to our hotel and walked over to the Thon Opera House … in the rain.

See how the place is designed with a “ramp” that slopes and fades all the way into the sea?

This huge modern expanse of white hard flat space and glass was completed in 2008.  There is nothing square about this building which rises and falls in angular lines.

We attended a small concert at 2:30 that afternoon at the Thon Opera House.  Those people in the background are filing out of the concert.  We were the first ones out.  The concert put everybody to sleep.

This part of the Thon Opera House gave us a very good view of the fjord and cruise ships visiting Oslo.

Unusual heights and spaces in this unusual architecture.  That’s our hotel again (cream colored in middle).

It also gave us a very good view of the City of Oslo and the backdrop of mountains.

Those clouds meant more rain.  It rained a lot in Oslo.  In much of Norway, as a matter of fact.

Said Allan, “It must be a nightmare for Public Works to maintain this place.”

We shopped for a couple extra electrical adapters at a Mall called Oslo City.  Access was through the nearby Train Station next to our hotel.  We wanted to recharge my camera, my laptop, and Allan’s iPad every evening all at the same time, not one at a time.  We also had supper that evening in a mall restaurant called El Dente.  The big plate of nachos with all the trimmings was very good.

The next day, after another delicious breakfast at the hotel where you could take as much bacon and eggs as you wanted, we went for a stroll down Johan Straus Gate  (“Gate” in Norwegian means street) for sightseeing and gifts.   Allan left our Visa card at one of the shops which caused a bit of trouble.  Visa expressed new cards to our Copenhagen destination and we used cash for a couple days.

At the very end of the street is Oslo’s Royal Palace (the yellow building) to which we were heading.

Along the way we saw more examples of impressive walks and pavers.  Also, these two or three buildings were totally under reconstruction or renovation but they’re covered in plastic with drawings on the plastic to resemble what will become the finished product.

Then we arrived at the Royal Palace which was also part of a renovation project.  We learned that the Palace was built during the period of 1824 to 1848, begun under the reign of the Norwegian-Swedish King Karl Johan  (the guy on the horse) in 1844.  Then King Oscar I inaugurated the Palace in 1849.

In 1905 the Palace became the permanent residence for the new Norwegian royal family.  Today the Palace is the residence of King Harald V and Queen Sonja, both of whom visited Minnesota this spring of 2012.  Allan’s friend and Boss of Torske Klubben, Bob Gisvold, attended their reception.

During the summer season, approximately 30,000 people will visit the Palace.  It is one of Norway’s foremost ceremonial and guest residences (it has 173 rooms), and it is the daily workplace for 150 employees.

The Palace gardens were laid out in the 1840’s.

We walked through the Palace trees and headed toward the harbor on this very peaceful afternoon.

People were buying shrimp from the shrimp boats.  We just strolled along the water and enjoyed the day.

We boarded the train to Stockholm at 4 p.m.  It started moving at 4:15 p.m.  Allan called it the Bullet Train.  Sometimes it was going 100 miles per hour.  At 5:40 p.m. we left Norway, land of our ancestors.  We loved Norway, especially those areas from which the Orsens and Opdahls hailed.