Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Barcelona: Day 113 : Oslo has a sun .

Today we decided to get up even earlier. After realizing yesterday that Oslo's hours of daylight availability are few and far between, there was no reason to wait. We were up and out of bed at 6am, and out the door at 730. We had compiled a pretty large list of things to go see, and had written down the transportation and whatever else we needed (map locations, landmarks, etc) in order to find these things. And so, while it was still dark outside, the hunt began.

After taking our usual tram into downtown by Oslo S, we hopped on the underground and headed out towards another part of town. I'm not even really going to attempt names unless I know them, because honestly they're so hard and super confusing. However, after a little bit of confusion, we headed down the metro to our first stop of 8 for the day.

The first thing we noticed was that the metros are huge. Huge as in wide, not really long. They usually only have a few coaches. But it was enough to put 5 seats across the train laterally, with plenty of room for an aisle.

Our first stop was the Fagerborg Kindergarten by the Norwegian Architects RRG. (Quick side note, I highly encourage you to look up pictures of the things I mention in this post, because they were all pretty cool) Even though it was probably almost 8am, it was still completely dark outside. This building is actually a school, but the wood design was quite interesting. The small windows let these golden squares of light escape, and there were some colorful stairways in there. Fun fact; we felt like total creeps while we were walking around, because it is actually a kindergarten and there were little kids running around inside and parents dropping them off too. I realized if I had been a kid in Norway there would be no way you'd get me up to go to school if it was still dark outside...

We went back to the metro and got on the 1 line that took us up to Holmenkollen. This is the ski jump that is in Oslo -- literally built on the side of a cliff. The metro had sort of turned into an outdoor local train, and took us up into the mountains surrounding the city (everything drains down to the fjord). The Holmenkollen ski jump is a landmark of Oslo, and was designed by the Belgian JDS architects. It was a perilous walk up the mountain from the train... there was ice and slush everywhere and every second you felt like you were going to slip and slide all the way down the mountain. There was fog clouding the jump, but it was still absolutely insane, not to mention frigid from the wind up on top of the mountain. We took some pictures, and then headed down.

The next thing we went to was this sculpture park, called Vigelandsparken, which is famous for a large amount of nude sculptures that litter the area. It was getting colder at this point, and the rain had started a bit, but we still took the time to walk through and explore a bit. The statues were massive, and not only that, but the whole park was massive. It was as if the whole thing was made for a giant. There were some truly hilarious statues -- for example, a super angry baby, and a man that seemed to be punting babies left and right. Don't worry, we took pictures...

Next we were going to go and visit the Viking Museum. However, the boat that we had to take from Akker Brygge to get over there only runs from May to October, so we unfortunately weren't able to go. It's too bad, because it was one of the things that Frank had highly recommended, especially for tourists. I suppose we'll have to come back at some point.

We then began to sort of meander our way back through the city, stopping at the rather unimpressive Royal Palace (which seemed quite bland) and briefly stopping in the Oslo Konserthus. By this point the SUN had actually begun to come out a bit! Since yesterday the night never really ended the whole day, this was awesome. Needless to say I made sure to take some pictures to prove that the sun actually does exist in Norway... The concert hall, unfortunately, was closed when we got there and we weren't allowed to go inside. I don't know if there were tours, but that would have probably cost a fair amount of money, and after spending so much on the opera last night, it just wasn't feasible. However, we did see the lobby, and there were some neat architectural things there.

On our way back into the city centre, we just looked around and stopped at things that caught our eye. It was a neat way to travel around, because you didn't have to keep to a strict schedule or anything like that, you could just do what you wanted on a whim. After a meal again at the same McDonald's, we took a break to just rest our legs. There was one final thing that Frank had recommended, and that was to walk through this particular area that was a little bit more "hip," as he described it.

After I bought a little souvenir, we took the tram up this way, and ended up walking all the way back to the hostel, which was probably a good 3km or so. It was a nice end to everything though, as we are leaving tomorrow morning, most likely very early. Though it was only 15:30, we felt we had accomplished a lot in the one day, and seen a good number of things also during our time here in Oslo. We had some time to dry off and just hang out in the hostel, which has a very nice lounge overlooking the highway and some buildings at night.

Currently, a billion Norwegians are crowded in here watching women's handball, which is quite hilarious... Either way, though, the trip has been awesome. I'm definitely considering coming back one day -- maybe not to Oslo, but definitely to Norway. One more good night's sleep, and we'll be on a plane back to Barcelona tomorrow! Goodnight, or as they say here, god natt, from Oslo.

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