I went to Oslo this weekend with a long time friend, Tine. She’s from Bergen and since she lives near Oslo, we thought this would be a great opportunity to meet up. We went for three days and first impressions – beautiful, city feel, but still a small area, and very cold. I took a metro straight from the hotel to the city center and our room was a short walk from there.
We went to see Maria Lena on the first night. The concert was at a small venue and back at home usually, it is common to get as close to the stage as you possibly can. It’s best when the tickets are general seating and there is freedom to stand wherever you want. Imagine, people have the freedom to roam around and the audience starts filling the seats in the balcony…in the back…as far as possible away from the musician. Yes people have their preferences, but I think seating choice had more to do with the Norwegian’s cultural preference to their personal space. Eh, it benefited me because I got a front row spot.
Saturday was a much busier day. I made the most of my time by planning and doing a wide variety of things. We walked to the Opera House, which was beautiful. The crisp, white building was a stark contrast to the black waters darkened by the cloudy day. Then we walked through Akershus Fortress. Norwegians who are involved in the military often work here, patrolling the area. The fortress was one of the most breathtaking places I have been. It’s fall in Oslo now and since I’m from California, I rarely see such drastic changes in the trees’ colors. Bright yellows filled the trees and the a layer covered the ground around these trees.
We finished here and walked through the city where we went to the National Museum. I was deeply impressed by all that I saw. I even learned that some of my new favorite artists are Thomas Fearnley, JC Dahl, and Adolph Tidemand. Go check them out and maybe you’ll see what I did with each brush stroke. We followed our special Norwegian dinner by meeting some of Tine’s friends in the city.
On our last day, Tine and I went to Munch Museum and the Botanisk Hage aka the botanical garden. I’ve never been so speechless because of nature. We went to the kongen huset, or the King’s house, where we checked out the guards who stand there in the terrible cold daily. The last place on my list of musts was Frogner Park where we saw the Vigeland Sculptures.
Full days full of unforgettable experiences. I must return to Oslo and further experience the diverse environment. Oslo has a high population of refugees that contributes to the diversity. It would be interesting to see how the growing number of refugees and their cultures influence the cultural practices of Norway. Observations for another day.