140605 Oslo

The Plan

Start your day with a sightseeing tour through beautiful Oslo seeing the National Theatre and Oslo’s City Hall before we make our way to the Bygdoy Peninsula, home to three famous museums we will visit, that honour the rich nautical heritage of the Norse race and its warrior ancestors; the Viking Ship Museum, the Kon-Tiki Museum and the Fram polar ship.  This evening you will enjoy dinner at Holmenkollen, home of Oslo’s ski jumping arena and the host of the 1952 Winter Olympics. FB,D

Some Information

Oslo is made up of 600,000 people.  Norway has a population of 5 million people where English is spoken by most. So having a conversation is usually no problem, in fact, many love to show off that they can converse in English very well.  The average wage is 50,000 Euros with 40% income tax paid by all.  This enables free education up through university, free health care, the pension, and most of a person’s medical expenses.  University students get a grant and a loan. The retirement age is 67 and everyone gets 5 weeks vacation. Unemployment runs at 3.5%.  The price of a 1,000 square meters of apartment starts at 400,000 euros. Norway’s cost of living is the highest in the world.

How the Day Turned Out

Our City Guide for today is Yahel. Yahel is from Israel and married to a norwegian. She has been a tour guide for over 10 years.

There are three ‘rings’ around the city of Oslo.  The green belt is the forest at the extremity of the city and the port and city itself is the inner ring. The centre ring is where you will find most of the inhabitants. Oslo was founded around BC1000 and since then, there have been 15 major fires that have affected the town.

Our first stop for photos is the Opera House which represents an iceberg emerging from the water.  The black areas on the white Italian marble are solar panels – they try to show themselves as being ‘green’ even though for much of the winter, there is no sign of sunshine.  Slowly as development takes place, the Opera House is becoming the meet-up place for people to hang out. The city of Oslo is at the northern reach of what was a fjord and is 100km to the North Sea.

History tells that the Swedes have been a problem to Norway and so the Akershus Fortress was built along the shoreline near the city.  It has been used as a fortress as well as a prison.

Parliament stands just near the city square.  There are 160 members made up of no less than 40% females, by law.  At present, the make up is 50/50.

We visit the City Hall where the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony takes place each year.  This venue has been used since 1990 and has some enormous paintings on the walls, each telling a particular story.  The Norwegians are very proud that at least once a year, the world hears something out of Norway.

We pass a shop called The Ice Bar.  Everything there is ice: the chairs you sit on, the glasses you drink from, the plates – all ice.

The Fram is a polar museum dedicated to the story of Norwegian polar expeditions with the Framship used by Fridtjof Nansen as the main exhibit. The shape of the hull is that of an ‘egg’ so that when the forces of ice against the ship squash in, the ship rises and doesn’t sustain damage. We make a visit there and see a video of the Norwegian adventurers who are still well known around the world for their ventures to both the North and South Poles.  Large ships are displayed in the museum. Across from there is the Kon-Tiki Museum in which is stored the Kon-Tiki raft and the Rai I. Thor Heyerdahl sailed from Peru with a multi national crew to test if different races could put up with each other for a long time, and landed to the west in Tahiti suggesting that, in ancient times, the Pacific Islanders may have made the same voyage.

Vigeland Sculpture Park is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. There are more than 200 sculptures made from bronze, iron and granite. We visited the Monolith plateau and the Wheel of Life.

Seniors Moment

One guy was so enthused at taking photos of the Opera House that when he hopped on the bus, he didn’t recognise the lady that was sitting next to him.  He was on the wrong bus.  We wondered why our numbers were down. Who?  Rob.

 

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