25.08.2016 - 27.08.2016 18 °C
Our exploration of Oslo didn't get off to a great start. We made our way into the city centre on the bus and arrived at the tiger statue outside the main station at 9.59am, just in time for a 10am walking tour. Except that there was no guide. Some other tourists, yes, but guide, no. We even waited fifteen minutes to get to the front of the information centre line to enquire about the situation, and were told that the guides only turn up sometimes. Right.
So off we went on our own walking tour. We started at the opera house, which looks somewhat like an iceberg and would have offered panoramic views of the bustling, multicultural city if it wasn't for the thick fog.
We meandered through the city to the National Gallery, which had free admission on Thursdays. Accidental ninking, huzzah! So we enjoyed our Munch, Picasso, Cezanne and Rodin for zero dollars. We learned that Munch's 'The Scream' is known as 'Skirk' in Norwegian, and I rather enjoyed his 'Self portrait with the Spanish Flu' as well.
From there we accidentally stumbled upon the Royal Palace and a bit of changing of the guards action - full marks for dapper uniforms, but they lost points for the lack of musical accompaniment.
We then continued on to Vigelandsparken, a park full of the sculptures of Gustav Vigeland and several bus loads of Chinese tourists. The sculptures were... interesting. Possibly symbolic of the human struggle, and possibly just an excuse to sculpt naked people. Possibly a bit of both.
The rain started in earnest at that point, and so we decided to utilise our 24-hour public transport passes and just jumped on the first bus to come along in order to stay dry. While on the bus we worked out how to get to Grunne Lokke, a trendy neighbourhood, but we quickly worked out how to get out of there once we saw the food and drink prices. We got ourselves to Aker Brygge, the trendy neighbourhood by the harbour with good views, lots of public art and more palatable prices. After dinner by the water, we strolled about and enjoyed the Oslo vibe before getting ourselves home again. Public transport triumph.
Friday was a day back in the car - renamed 'Joe' because 'Snaefellsnes' was just too long. We had a long drive north to Trondheim, punctuated by coffee stops, doughnut breaks and tree-filled views. And the occasional person practising their skiing technique on the snowless terrain. Because Norway.
We arrived in Trondheim and settled in to our awesomely Scandinavian apartment, before making an awesome but very un-Scandinavian chicken curry for dinner. Most satisfactory.
On Saturday morning the rain did its rainy thing, so we made for the shelter of Rockheim, the national museum of popular music. This was not your average museum, oh no! This was a touch stuff, press buttons, wave your hands, play the guitar and remix a hip hop song kind of museum. Most entertaining. We discovered that we did in fact know more Norwegian artists than we realised (a-ha, Datarock, Ida Maria) and learned that Belinda has the best remixing skills, while Pat and Simon look the most convincing as musos. We pulled off some brilliant karaoke to a song we'd never heard before and generally had a good time.
By the time our music careers were over, we were hungry (bordering on hangry) and we went to the nearest microbrewery to sample the local brews and get some food. Excellent move on our part. From there we checked out the cathedral (vast, impressive, excellent statue work on the front), the old town bridge and the old town, which was a haven for hipsters and cruise ship passengers. As we wandered back to the city centre, the boys had to dodge the affections of some Italian girls who had started their Saturday night celebrations a tad early, but we all made it back home alive and in one piece ready to eat fried rice, drink Norwegian beer, eat Swiss chocolate and watch American movies. With Norwegian subtitles, of course.