This is the last post in the Iceland / Norway trip series. On this last day of the trip we had too much to do and too little time to do it. But it was a beautiful day and we took advantage of it and enjoyed a relaxing breakfast before heading out. The hotel was located right in the heart of the city and very close to the harbor, palace, and according to the various cab drivers and hotel clerks we talked to, “the place where the officials, you know, talk about things.” I’m pretty sure they meant the parliament building, but their description worked, so yet another cross cultural exchange had proved successful. We walked up to the palace to have a quick look-see. Amy asked the palace guard about when the changing of the guard was going to take place and he actually answered her. It’s not like in England where they stand stone-faced. This guy smiled and chatted but he did keep his eye on the grounds at all times. After a few photo ops we continued down to the wharf to catch a boat ride.

Amy and I took the hop on hop off boat over to the opera house while Butter and Jen took the ferry over to the island that hosted a number of museums. The opera house was an architectural wonder with numerous angles, windows, and other “cool” features making it quite interesting to explore. We walked up to the top where you can walk across the roof and back down again along the smooth slope of concrete.

Next stop was the island with all the museums. It turned out to be a pretty decent sized area and Amy and I huffed it quite a ways to the Viking museum where we met up with Butter and Jen for awhile. I loved the Viking ship museum. It held a couple of ancient boats as well as some beautiful carvings, an old carved wagon, and a funeral tent (can’t remember exactly what it was called). I honestly wasn’t sure before I went in that I would really like it but I did. It’s very worth it if you ever visit Oslo.

We then made our way over to the cultural museum. It was actually a very large site that had some collections inside a large building—my friends explored a photo exhibit there—as well as replicas of old Viking homes, churches, communities—you name it, scattered across many acres. They even had one section that was a replica of a more modern (but still colonial-type era) town. I fell in love with the Stave Church. It was truly magnificent. The shape and style was ornate, different, unusual, and filled with—of course—carvings. I can’t get enough of those, they are so beautifully done. There were some painted scenes inside the chapel and a number of crosses over the numerous gables and doors. A number of the houses throughout the museum site (as well as in other areas we explored) had grass growing on the roofs. I thought it interesting that we are now starting to go back to the days of the ancients. It’s considered very “green”—that is energy efficient and environmental friendly—to have grass growing on your roof. There are some corporations trying it out now. Must be something to it if the Vikings were doing it thousands of years ago. Along the paths I came across a group of young people in costume dancing some old jigs they used to do back in the day—that was a fun little treat. I ended the tour looking through some of the old houses they built. They were built up on foundations set at the corners (kind of like our beach houses on pilings but not that high). I guess the snow or floods made that necessary—who knows. But the homes were of course beautifully built. They didn’t just throw up some boards or mud, these people were architects.

My legs were giving out so it was time to hop on the cheap boat back to the wharf. My friends explored some more museums and we met back at the hotel to go to dinner. What to have for dinner in Norway? Why Chinese of course. Yup, went to a fancy Chinese restaurant—very nice indeed and the food was absolutely yummy. It was expensive and spicy too, but the service was excellent and it was a very nice way to wrap up a trip.

But we weren’t done yet. Nope. Amy and I had a mission. To visit the ice bar. The one in Iceland we were told was a dump, but this one was an offshoot of the famous ice hotel. They let people in every hour on the hour (the bartender needed a break to get out of the cold). So while we waited, we chatted up with Nikolas, my new favorite boyfriend who is now on top of the future ex Mr. Crowe list. He dressed us up in warm clothes and in we went. Lars—who also was making his way on to the favorite list—served us some quite yummy cocktails in glasses made entirely of ice. I would show you photos but it was so cold my camera froze and we only have fuzzy memories of that establishment. Seriously though, it’s an experience worth having if you get the chance. The entire place was made of ice—the booth, the bar, the glasses, the walls and floor—and it had fun etchings of things throughout. There were carvings in the walls and tables, handprints, and some things that got stuck in the ice. After last call was called, Amy and I were helped out of our jackets and boots by the darling Nikolas and headed back into the warm night of Oslo. We walked around a bit to get our last taste of the city, and headed back to the closet I called home for the night.

I recommend both Norway and Iceland to everyone. In fact, I’d probably recommend going in two different trips and taking longer in each country. But that’s me and I typically like to get more immersed into the cultures I visit while there. I’m blessed and grateful for the opportunity to travel to these places with three wonderful friends who made the trip really fun. It was a 40th birthday trip for Jen and a 50th for Butter and Amy and I went along for the ride! Thanks ladies!

If you have had your own adventures in these places and want to share, please do! Or if you are traveling there and want some more details or suggestions on things to do, not do, etc., just write a reply and I’ll get back to you. Again, my prayers go out to the victims of the attack on Oslo—just a week after our visit there. It was a shock to hear about that and having been through 9/11 in Washington, D.C. I can say it’s a scary, horrible thing to live through. God Bless you Norwegians and others who are healing from those wounds. Thanks for your hospitality and I hope to come visit you again.

 

 

Amy and Jen pose with a palace guard in Oslo.

 

a glass viking ship outside the opera house in Oslo.

 

Kids at play on the roof of the opera house in Oslo.

 

Amy at the opera house in Oslo

 

The Oslo Opera House

 

A beautiful carved wagon from the viking ship museum.

 

The Stave Church at the Oslo cultural museum.

 

Crosses on the Stave Church

 

One of the viking houses in the cultural museum.

 

Me in the big coat sitting on an ice bench at an ice table at the ice bar. Camera froze so photo is blurry.

 

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