Oslo, the 1000-year-old capital city of Norway, is one of the largest capitals in the world, yet it’s mainly undeveloped and 80% of it exists as parks, hills and forests and hundreds of lakes, all protected as pure, untouched wilderness, naturally beautiful, just as they were created. Only 20% of the huge land mass has been developed, making it easy to explore, marvel at the easily accessible pathway and main streets. All one needs is a pair of comfortable shoes and off you go to feast your eyes on the excellence this city has to offer. The city rises over the stunning Oslo Fjord and is a true joy to explore.
My close friend, Lena, the lovely Norwegian girl, is a hard working Medical Intern (one more year to go before she becomes a full fledged MD), lives and works in Oslo. She took advantage of her short break from the local hospital, to take her fiance, and me around this wonderful city and show me the sights.
Somehow, staying with friends, both of whom are gentle and warm, made my visit even more incredible.
We took a walk from the water front, where they met me with a bottle of cool water and hugs, thru the main street, a wide Avenue by the name of, The Karl Jung Gate. Abiding by my wish to see as much as possible in the short time I had, we stopped by the lovely Royal Palace, The National Theatre, old university and ended up at the Ackerhaus Fortress.
I’ll be amiss if I didn’t mention that Oslo is considered on of the best cities worldwide, to live, enjoy culture and wild natural wonders which endow peace and an almost meditative calm hard to find elsewhere, with a superb cultural and historical content. Oslo boasts a wealth of museums, galleries, well preserved remnants of many centuries, theatres, and the live theatres of old medieval castles and the list just goes on.
As we wandered the through the harbour views, of the Ackerhaust Fortress, built by Hakon V, we saw several medieval castles, dating back to the 13th century, the remains of the tomb of Hákon VII (1872-1957) and a far more recent Museum depicting the Norwegian Resistance against German occupation (1940-45).
Needing to take a break, we went to the Oslo Bazaar alongside the famous and sturdy, Oslo Cathedral.
In the afternoon we took a peek (I was mesmerised) at city Hall, with it’s two towers and adorned with a giant clock face. One of the buildings houses 38 clocks, and their chime is so potent it can be heard throughout the whole harbour area.
The inside is stunning, with a rich fresco by Edward Munch, Henrik Sorensen, and Per Krog.
Now came the most memorable sight: the heart of city by the name of Aker Brygge, was built around an abandoned shipyard, is a combination of most modern and new, with a blend of old – perfect architectural creation, typifying everything Nordic, bustling day and night, stunningly beautiful, and attracting about 12 million visitors a year, featuring a boardwalk by the sea, great shops and fireside, cosy, patios, with inviting cushy seats and soft rugs. The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is also there, containing works by Andy Warhol, de Koenig, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, and Lena had to drag out me out by reminding me how late it was.
We still had o visit the National Museum of art and design, featuring some of the greats of 19th century to present.
The Royal Palace was next, where you could explore the gardens but not the inside, and the section of the palace, The Noble peace institute, where the Noble peace prize is presented.
The Vigeland sculpture garden brilliantly stunning of the prolific Gustav Vigeland) deserved far more time, and what I saw was unlike anything I’ve seen before. I must return very soon to give it the time it deserves, especially the monolith I want to examine more closely.
We had no time to visit the botanical museum and the museum of Natural History, but I was told they were spectacular.
I had to rush to the Munch museum, which contained 28,000 pieces, the amazing artist, and here again, I had to be lassoed out. We ran thru the Jewish memorial museum, and I vowed to return in the very near future. August perhaps? Possible!
Time ran out and my friends wanted at least few minutes to sit with me before I had to board the ship.
We managed 15 minutes, when the booming sound calling the passengers to return was permeating our peace.
In the midst of tears and hugs, I ran up to the ships entrance, waving to my friends, who looked like sad wet faced orphans. I was glad I could not see myself…the crew member’s concern was enough of a mirror. Leaving Oslo was not easy, to say the least.