A few days after getting home from Kefalonia, I was back at the airport on my way to Oslo for a much-anticipated international law conference over about three days. While the quality of the panels on the whole were mixed, there were many inspiring papers (notably: a pop-up morning panel on the refugee crisis). Otherwise, it’s just the community – a few particularly wonderful people especially – that make my job such a pleasure.
The conference was held in the University Aula, which has huge murals commissioned from Edvard Munch. The 11 paintings in the hall are the only pieces by Munch that can still be viewed in their original context.
When the conference was over, I had 36 hours to explore on my own. This is a view from central Oslo (the Aula would be on the right where the trees burst out) back to the Royal Palace, which you can get remarkably close to.
On my first evening, I took a long, meandering walk over to Vigeland Sculpture Park. A free, outdoor area of Frogner Park boasting more than 80 acres of 200+ bronze and granite sculptures.
All the sculptures focus on the theme of the human condition – many incredibly moving or slightly disturbing.
Pile o people tower
Well worth a visit is the Nationalgalleriet, home of the Scream and many other Norwegian beauties. Free entry on Sundays!
A new favorite: the wonderful Peder Balke.
This one was my absolute favorite. I didn’t make a note of who painted this or what the title was because I was way too engrossed, but it’s a stunner. Anyone happen to know!?
There are so many cute houses and offices dotted around Oslo – here are a few.
Just outside Frogner Park
The favorite flowers of five-year-old me: Purple Mist Flowers.
The next day I took a triangulated ferry tour through the Oslofjord to visit a few museums and see a bit of the fjord. You can purchase ferry tickets for the Bygdøyfergene (with two stops in the fjord) to the Bygdøy peninsula from Pier 3 near the City Hall which stops first at Dronningen (with the Folk Museum and Viking Ship Museum) then Bygdøynes (Kon-Tiki, Fram and Norwegian Maritime Museum). If you’re really up for all the museums (and tons of maritime history), it’s worth getting an Oslo Pass.
I didn’t go to everything, but I did go to the Viking Ship Museum, which was very cool.
The museum is most famous for this completely intact Oseberg ship, which was excavated from the largest known ship burial in the world.
From there, more maritime at the Fram Musem. This is a tiny diorama of the crew on a polar expedition.
As part of the museum, they’ve made the ice cutter boat an intact museum that you can climb around inside of. You can see the possessions the explorers brought on their expeditions from the necessary – surgical instruments (shudder) – to the supernecessary – a grand piano. There is far, far too much to read in this museum, so I only grazed a portion of it before becoming completely museum-weary.
The once-controversial city hall: Rådhuset (sadtimes: when it was first erected everyone thought it was an eyesore). I love the art deco style.
Near the Opera House: She Lies by Monica Bonvicini
Lunch in the operahouse
Albatross-sized seagull outside the Opera House
I don’t have a great picture of the outside of the Opera House, but a huge part of the draw is the architecture. You can walk up, around and ontop of the Opera House for decent views of Oslo.
Finally, my birthday present to myself!
AN ONA BAG! My very own! Oh my god, I have been wishing and hoping for this bag for so long. It’s a beautiful bag, but I bet you wouldn’t guess it’s also a camera bag! Better believe it! Usually you can’t find them in person (they’re available through some camera suppliers, but not many). I went to a big, beautiful camera shop in Oslo (highly recommended: Scandanavian Photo) with big hopes… and they had one last little Chelsea Bag on the shelf. Be still my heart.
(I normally agree that getting stoked about a damn item is lame, but this is genuine love, so.)