Norway (Day 1)

June 18

Oslo

OK, here was the idea.  Finally making a visit to the Motherland.  Mom’s family is from Norway, but I had never been there.  In fact, I had never been to her hometown of Worthington, MN, until recently.  Ruthie’s dad’s family is from Norway.  She has been there several times.  Mostly on business.  As you may recall, she sold fighter jets to our allies.  She was particularly happy to do so for Norway.  Norway needs a strong defense lest others seek revenge on the Vikings.  Oh, and Ole was with us for the whole trip – Ole is available for purchase from the Runestone Museum, then he must travel with you . . .

The plan:

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But first:

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[The Super and Ole at MSP, ready to board for the first leg of the trip to Keflavik on Icelandair . . . ]

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[And yes, these first four photos were actually taken on June 17 . . . ]

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[Ole was pretty excited about his first trip, don’cha know . . . ]

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[And now he’s on the plane . . . ]

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[And now he’s in Oslo!]

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[Because of his heritage, he did not need a passport . . . ]

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[At the airport, Bill, Ole, and the Super in line to buy our train tickets to downtown . . . ]

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Oslo has one airport – Gardermoen (45 km from the city centre). The fastest way to downtown Oslo is by Flytoget, the shuttle train, which takes you to the city center in 20 minutes. A one-way ticket costs NOK 160. Trains run from 5.35 am to 12.35 am every 10 minutes.

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[Train ride selfie (OK, not totally a selfie with Bill and Anne in the background) . . . ]

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[Our destination was Oslo Central Station . . . ]

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[A shout out to our longtime trip planners, Skads Travel, who set up our first four days before the start of the cruise . . . ]

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[Above and below, Ole approved of our hotel room . . . ]

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[Our first two nights here.  From the plaza below, you could hit the train station off to the right with a Hail Mary pass.  Nice to be able to schlep the suitcases less than a block!]

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[Though, as usual, I didn’t sleep on the plane, the day was young and we were about to hit the streets . . . ]

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[This is Oslo Central Station square, a/k/a, Jernbanetorget . . . ]

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[We’re on the street, heading to the square, shooting back at our hotel . . . ]

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[And there’s from whence we walked.  Tres convenient!]

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[In the square, with the station, and with an unidentified and apparently non-functioning fountain?]

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[Since this is a major feature of the square, I was surprised I could find no information about it.  One Google-machine photo just labeled it as “a man and woman”?]

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[They may be Ingemar Stenmark and Sonja Henie?]

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[Our hotel, in all its glory . . . ]

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[Looking opposite our hotel from the square.  On the right is where we lunched . . . ]

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[Our view from the square of:  In the city centre around the main street Karl Johans gate you find night clubs, bars, jazz clubs and cafés in between stores, shopping centres and hotels. Downtown Oslo has a little bit of everything.  Kvadraturen is the name of the historical centre in Oslo. The area between Akershus Fortress and Karl Johans gate, Jernbanetorget and Egertorget got its name because of the rectangular street pattern. This is where king Christian IV founded Christiania after the big fire in 1624. Some of Oslo’s oldest buildings are located in Kvadraturen, and and now the area can boast a number of fine art galleries and museums (www.visitoslo.com).]

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[After a long flight, let’s eat!]

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[Skol!]

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[The Super and Anne . . . ]

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[Discussing the finer points . . . ]

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[Of Anne’s cider . . . ]

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[Dig in!  Bill and I shared an appetizer-sized charcuterie board.  I can’t recall what the ladies had . . . ]

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[Back to our walkabout . . . ]

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[The tiger in front of Oslo Central Station is one of Oslo’s most photographed “inhabitants” and one of the first things that meet a visitor arriving at Oslo Central Station.  When Oslo celebrated its 1000-year anniversary in 2000, Eiendomsspar wanted to give the city a gift. Oslo wanted a tiger, and that’s what they got: a 4.5-metre bronze tiger made by Elena Engelsen.  Why a tiger?  The reason Oslo wanted a tiger, is the city’s nickname  Tigerstaden (“The Tiger City”), which most Norwegians are familiar with.  The name was probably first used by Norwegian poet Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.  His poem “Sidste Sang” from 1870 describes a fight between a horse and a tiger; the tiger representing the dangerous city and the horse the safe countryside.  Since then Oslo has been known as “The Tiger City”, but these days it’s not necessarily meant as a negative thing. “The Tiger City” can be an excitingand happening place rather than dangerous (www.visitoslo.com).]

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[This sculpture is a monument to the Osvald-gruppen (English: Osvald Group) for its resistance efforts during World War II. The monument was unveiled on May 1, 2015, in front of Oslo’s central train station (www.waymarking.com).]

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[The “no name” sculpture fountain from the other side . . . ]

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[And from this side . . . ]

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[They appear to be Grete Waitz and Henrik Ibsen?]

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[This is our hotel bar.  We never partook.  Never enough time . . . ]

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[Outside our hotel bar, the Super found a friend . . . ]

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[Sculpture of man with suitcases.  That’s it . . . ]

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[Ambling down Karl Johans gate (street) . . . ]

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[The Super found some of my distant relatives . . . ]

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[Still ambling . . . ]

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[The Royal Palace at the end of Karl Johans gate . . . ]

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[Christian Krohg (13 August 1852 – 16 October 1925) was a Norwegian naturalist painter, illustrator, author and journalist.  Krohg was inspired by the realism art movement and often chose motives from everyday life.  He was the director and served as the first professor at the Norwegia Academy of Arts from 1909 to 1925 (Wikipedia).]

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[The Storting building (Norwegian: Stortingsbygningen) is the seat of the Storting, the parliament of Norway. The building is located at 22 Karl Johans gate in central Oslo.  It was taken into use on 5 March 1866 and was designed by the Swedish architect Emil Victor Langlet (Wikipedia).]

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[Johan Sverdrup, the father of Norwegian parliamentarism . . . ]

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[Parliament building garnished by three American tourists . . . ]

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[Statue suffering from the usual avial abuse . . . ]

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[Carl Joachim “C. J.” Hambro (5 January 1885 – 15 December 1964) was a Norwegian journalist, author and leading politician representing the Conservative Party.  A ten-term member of the Parliament of Norway, Hambro served as President of the Parliament for twenty of his thirty-eight years in the legislature (Wikipedia).]

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[Grand Hotel . . . ]

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[Olav Thon (born 29 June 1923) is a Norwegian real estate developer and listed in the Forbes list of billionaires as the 198th richest person in the world with a net worth of $6 billion as of March 2013.  He is Norway’s richest person and his Olav Thon Group is Norway’s largest private real estate company, with 450 properties, including 60 hotels (Wikipedia).]

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[Time to head back to the hotel . . . ]

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[As the sun begins to  . . . well, not set . . . ]

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[Botanical growing things in a big pot adjacent to female feet . . . ]

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[Reliving those high school skin years with a window selfie . . . ]

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[You’ve been told!]

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[Innovation begins with the right sign . . . ]

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[Fred’s street . . . ]

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[Warrants a “don’t walk” signal . . . ]

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[The Opera House across the street from our hotel . . . ]

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[I’m eating what??]

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[Looks good, Anne!]

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[Bill’s . . . ]

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[Mine, all good, can’t remember where . . . ]

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[Goodnight, Oslo!  Thanks for a fun first day!]

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Norway is not a good country to have for the fatherland, especially not in the winter.  ~  Henrik Ibsen

Up Next:  More Oslo

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