A Travellerspoint blog

Day 24; Musing in the Museums!

Saturday August 17th

rain 16 °C
View Scandinavia 2019 on CariadJohn's travel map.

Today was going to be a busy day exploring Oslo, so of course, for the first time, the weather forecast was actually accurate and we had rain all day. Not just any old rain but that rain that varies from fine drizzle to heavy downpours. Great!

We walked through the sculpture park to get to our nearest tram stop. On the way we encountered our strangest sculpture yet. It was called Deep Cream Maradona, and shall we just say it is not a sculpture for the faint hearted or prudish of nature! I’ll let the picture speak for itself!


We got to the tram and got on, ready to start our day. We had opted to buy Oslo Passes for 24 hours, as this gave us access to all public transport in Oslo, and entrance to many of the museums. It cost us about 80 pounds for the two of us, so we had to get our monies worth.

We got out of the tram at the main station, and onto a bus. The bus was quite crowded, which was only to be expected as it was a Saturday, and it was the bus headed towards the museums. I pushed on and sat on the only seat available, and Lyn squashed in next to me. Shame it was a seat for one! Cosy!


We went as far as we could and got off at the Fram museum. This is a museum I was keen to see as it was all about polar exploration, and especially Amundsen’s exploits. The key exhibits there are Polar boats Fram and Gjøa, which are the world’s most famous polar exploration ships. The museum was quite cool, although a lot of the display boards were on the walls, which made it difficult to read them as people stood in front of you, or walked in front. I managed to harness up and pull 300kg, which is essential if you want to pull an arctic expedition sled (I don’t). Not sure how long I could pull it for though! I also got to go into an igloo, and into a polar simulator, which was cool as I was having a flush!


By far the best exhibit though, is the Fram ship itself. You get to actually go on it and inside it, which I hadn’t expected. It was surreal looking inside at Amundsen’s little cabin, and the way they lived on board. They had planned for 3-5 years on board, and food and leisure activities were given as much thought as scientific equipment. They had loads of food, and nobody lost weight or had scurvy. They had a library of over 600 books, paintings by prominent artists in the saloon, and an organ!


It was interesting, being British, to see the Norwegian side of the race to the pole between Scott and Amundsen.

From there we crossed the road to a museum about another famous Norwegian explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, who crossed the 8000km across the Pacific in 1947 on a hand built raft called the Kon Tiki, from South America to the Tuamotu Islands to prove his thesis right. He believed that indigenous South American people were the first to populate Polynesia. When no one would listen to him he felt his only option was to prove it himself, despite him having a fear of water and not being a very good swimmer! It took him and his 5 man crew 101 days of open seas to prove them wrong.


He subsequently made an unsuccessful first attempt sailing from Morocco to Barbados in a reed boat, before a second journey on the Ra 11 succeeded.

Heyerdahl is one of the true adventurers of our time, and devoted to global peace. One of his famous quotes is “Borders? I have never seen one. But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.”

Leaving there, we caught a bus to the Viking museum, where we were met with a huge line of people queuing in the pouring rain. Luckily our Oslo Pass meant we could by pass the line and go straight in. We were met by a massive Viking burial ship on display, one of three in the museum. I hadn’t expected to be quite so awe struck by it. It was beautiful in it’s simplicity.


These three ships had been at sea for several years before they were pulled ashore and used as burial ships. The dead were put in burial chambers built on board, and were then buried with generous supplies of food and drink, various animals and other objects.


The Oseburg ship was used as a grave ship for two women, while Gokstad and Tune served as burial ships for men. Incredibly, the bones of theses skeletons are on display. Again, like in the Vasa Museum in Stockholm I was fascinated with these skeletons. These ships were built around 820-910, and not excavated until the late 1800s. These skeletons had lain undisturbed for 1000 years and are now viewed daily by thousand as of people. One of the female skulls still has teeth intact, and experts can tell she used a metal toothpick. Wow.


From there we caught a very crowded bus back into the centre and went for food. We ended up in an Asian restaurant on the sea front, where we had a fantastic meal. A one course dinner and a cocktail for me came to 53 pounds, which was better than we had anticipated. My mojito was amazing…..it came with a lemon ice lolly in it!


We had to rush from food up to the Munch Museum, where I waned to see The Scream. Again, we bypassed the wet queue and went straight in. The Scream is the main exhibit there, and it was interesting to see that it had actually been stolen from the museum in 1994, along with another of his paintings Madonna, when security was very lax. The thieves walked in, held a gun to the museum guard’s head, cut the wires and walked out! They even dropped the painting on the way out!! The paintings were recovered two years later, and if you look carefully you can see water damage from the robbery in the corner of the painting. Security is much tighter today, with a guard standing right next to it, defying anyone to cross the line around it.


By now, I was flagging a bit. I had managed to pull something in my knee when kneeling down to shoot something in the Fram museum (not a museum guard, but a hunting simulation!). My knee was getting steadily worse, but we wanted to see the famous Oslo Opera House, so I hobbled on. The Opera House has a very unusual shape and is right at the head of the Oslo Fjord. It was opened in 2008 and is reminiscent of a glacier floating in the fjord waters. It is one of the most iconic buildings in Scandinavia. We walked up the sloping paths to walk on the roof, and take in the rainy view over Oslo, before catching a bus back to the camp sight and a well earned chill out. We are now waiting for the techno music from the festival to stop at 11pm before bed!


Posted by CariadJohn 14:03 Archived in Norway Tagged art buildings museums norway harveytherv travelswithharvey

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