Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Oslo: By Land and By Sea

The Norwegian capital's name, Oslo, means "Meadow at the Foot of a Hill". Quite literally, homes  cascade down the hill above Oslo. Then public buildings cover the flat land at the foot of the hill, and summer homes spill across the 40 islands in the Oslofjord. What a beautiful city.

We began our Oslo tour at the apex of the hill where we walked around the Nordic ski jump viewing area that can accommodate 30,000 spectators! 
Over the years, huge audiences have watched Olympians or contenders for the Ski Jumping World Cup fly down the ski jump, go airborne leaning out over the snowbanks, then softly land on the snow-covered incline. No wonder the city's slogan is "See Oslo, ski Oslo"! 

On our descent, we tried to catch glimpses of the many beautiful homes hidden behind walls. At the bottom of the hill, we arrived in time to see the changing of the guard at the Palace.
Then we walked a few blocks to the National Gallery in the University section of the city to take in paintings by the country's famous artist, Edvard Munch. We were fortunate; this was his 150th birthday, so a record number of his works were amassed in a comprehensive exhibit. Seeing his body of work, we came to appreciate his contribution not only to Norway, but to the world's art scene. 

Several versions of his most famous painting, The Scream, were on display.

Leaving the museum, we walked by the Opera House and National Theatre made famous by Henrik Ibsen, Norway's national playwright, on our way to City Hall where every December 10th,  the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.
We were overwhelmingly impressed with the city's divers cultural offerings.

A short walk from the city center through gardens, we arrived at the harbor.

During the summer the inhabitants of the capital work in the city during the day...

...then boat to their summer cottages after work. 

The harbor shoreline is dotted with miniature boat houses painted to match each family's larger summer residence.

On mini-islands jutting from the fjord are amazing architectural masterpieces--contemporary
and historic.
After our late afternoon harbor cruise, we walked down the pier to a restaurant recommended by locals. Located in a prefab building,
 the interior had an industrial, chic vibe.

Our meal was delectable. featuring a fresh vegetable salad.
just-from-the-sea catch, and
berries picked from the hillside.

It was a perfect ending to our Oslo land and sea excursion. 

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