I caught and early, but not too early, train to Oslo. We left at 07:57, right on time. Of course, the first time I’m using a train as my method of transportation to get from one place to another, it ran into problems. Turns out, there were some electrical problems past Myrdal (where we got off to go to Flåm) in the mountains. So we got to spend around an hour and a half at the station in Voss. Lucky for me, I was staying at the end destination for the train, other people had some bigger problems. However, the conductor went around to each person and asked where they were going, and then solved how to get there for them. Pretty awesome as that would be hard to do on the fly.
The track is only single wide for most of the trip, so if there’s a problem somewhere, it affects all the trains as the passings are very well coordinated at the specific locations where there is double width track. It’s not surprising that there is only one track when you see what the train goes through. Past Myrdal, we hit the mountains. The top elevation of any station was 1222m above sea-level. People got off with their cross country skis.
The train then goes down the mountain, and the rest of the trip is pretty much through pretty green valleys. Coming into Oslo, the train runs mainly underground.
I made it to my hostel safe and sound, without getting lost, and they even had my reservation! That’s a win in my book. I got assigned my room and bunk and handed all my linens. Off to make my bed. I thought that having to make a top bunk bed was done the day I moved out of the dorms in school. Nope. Top bunk it is. No one else joined me on night one, but they say to use the bed they assign, so I have been!
A quick trip to the Tourist Info for some maps and that was that for the day. Spent the rest of the time planning what I’m doing in Oslo.
Today was day 1 in Oslo, and the first day that I’ve been traveling on my own. Eek!
I decided to start the day off by heading to the Edvard Munch museum (by way of the botanical gardens). Right now they have it displayed where it compares Edvard Munch and Van Gogh. It was interesting to see where they drew comparisons, because when I just look at their body of work, they seem so entirely different, but when they break down the influences, it was really cool to see the similarities. Most of the Van Gogh pieces were on loan from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, which is also on my to visit list.
I learned the very valuable piece of information, that we should all go back to coloring with crayons. Perhaps the most famous Munch piece is “The Scream.” Which it turns out is a crayon drawing on cardboard. So much for claiming art supplies need to be expensive if you want to be famous.
No pictures allowed. Sorry. You can probably google all the works anyways.
I then meandered down the road back towards city center, with a stop at the grocery store for lunch. Saving up my food budget for places that have interesting food. The top restaurants on Trip Advisor, and on the bulletin board in the hostel are other foreign foods, like Indian or Thai. Weird.
Off to the Opera House because it was a gorgeous day. The Oslo Opera House is a rather new building (2008) and is designed to allow you to walk on the roof. Mind you, the roof also goes into the water on one side, so maybe it’s not so much of a roof in that spot. Either way, it’s something you can’t do elsewhere.
Most of the stone has a rough texture to it. I’m sure that’s designed so people don’t wipe out all the time. But as you can see in the bottom picture, maybe, there’s other textures to it too. I’m not sure what the function of it is, but some was smooth, and some had a wave texture. In the middle picture I tried to capture the fact that the roof isn’t a flat surface. There are lots of channels running down it, and spots where it comes up and you have to step down, but not across the whole area, just part. I’m sure seeing the building in the rain or snow would answer some of my design questions, but hopefully I won’t be doing either while I’m here.
Next up was a tour of the Grand Palace, or Royal Residence. This is where the king and queen live, and conduct business. You can take a guided tour, thankfully in English, multiple times a day. There are a lot of tours in Norwegian as well. The Palace is only open for tours for roughly a month in the summer, and hours are overall limited as it is still used for it’s intended purpose. Did you know that the Norwegian King and Crown Prince meet with the parliament cabinet every week?! Other things I didn’t know was how recently Norway became it’s own sovereign state, having been in a union with Sweden until 1905. There have only been 3 kings of Norway. When they decided that they wanted to have a monarchy, they had to go out looking for someone to be their king, as Norway no longer had a royal family after so many years under other rule. I’m going to have to look up the history of who ruled Norway here soon.
Anyways, the palace is gorgeous, and apparently small (173 rooms, in comparison to 600 or 700 other places). We got to see some of the functional rooms, along with the reception halls and a visitors suite (the nicest one, where only heads of state are allowed to stay). Once again, no cameras, or anything else with you for that matter. We even had to wear booties on our feet! So a picture of the outside is the best I can do. There’s a huge park around the palace as well, that was designed at the same time as the palace, back when the palace wasn’t part of the city (it was finished in 1849).
That was the end of my day because it started to rain, and I decided I should probably sit down for a bit. Now I’m not moving ever again! (Until tomorrow)
Floors: 51 (floors also count steep uphills)