Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A trip to Oslo, part two

Note: As with all my blog posts, you can click on any of the photos below to enlarge them.

This is part two of my series about my recent trip to Oslo in Norway. To read part one, just click here.

The best advice that I was given to save money in Oslo was to eat a large breakfast in the morning, which I did each day that I stayed in the hotel. As they had soya milk, a selection of fresh fruit, cereals, muesli, dried fruit, nuts and seeds available each morning, I was able to fill up pretty well and only generally needed a light snack for lunch. Considering how much it costs to buy food and eat out in Oslo, this saved me a pretty penny!



On the second full day I had in Oslo (see day one here), I took the boat across to the Bygdøy peninsula, which has six excellent museums on it! Public transport is included in the Oslo Pass, and this includes travelling on the ferries across the fjord. It was a beautiful trip.



My first stop on the peninsula was to see the Folk Museum, an excellent museum which presents life in Norway from 1500 up to the present day. Not only are there a range of indoor exhibits on both Norwegian and Saami culture, but it also includes 158 historic buildings which have been rebuilt in the open air of the extensive museum grounds. Fascinating and well laid-out with interesting and informative panels, I spent many hours here walking around and exploring inside some of the buildings.






Next, I caught the bus to the Viking Ship Museum, also on the Bygdøy peninsula. This was absolutely fascinating, with several very well preserved Viking ships on display as well as artifacts from inside the burial mounds. I was particularly interested to learn that the Oseberg ship was used as a burial ship for two women in around 834 CE, whereas most of the other ships were used for men.



My next stop was to the Holocaust Centre, a small and slightly tricky to find museum also on Bygdøy. I got the impression that many visitors to the peninsula don't bother to visit this museum as it was very quiet when I went there, which frankly I felt was a shame. It's a nicely laid out museum with exhibits about the history of anti-Semitism in Europe, the Holocaust in Norway, Auschwitz and the struggle for surviving Norwegian Jews to receive compensation from the state for the real estate and assets that were confiscated from them during the war and occupation.


To finish off my day on Bygdøy, I went to the Kon-Tiki Museum, all about the work and explorations of Thor Heyerdahl. It includes vessels and maps from various expeditions, as well as a library of 8000 books. I didn't know much about Thor Heyerdahl or the Kon-Tiki expedition before I came to this museum, so I definitely learnt a lot by walking around the exhibits.



That was quite enough for one day, so I went back to spend a quiet evening in the hotel to get an early start and return to Bygdøy the next morning for the two remaining museums on the peninsula: the Fram Museum and the Maritime Museum, with a filling breakfast inside me once again of course! The Fram Museum is dedicated to the history of Norwegian polar expeditions, and particularly those of Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and Roald Amundsen. The highlight is of course the polar ship Fram, which you can walk around inside as well as viewing the ship from the outside at several different levels.


 


Finally on Bygdøy, I went to the Maritime Museum. This museum was a little disappointing compared to the high quality of the other museums on the peninsula, and mostly consisted of models of ships and oil rigs, but was still worth a visit as it's so close to the Fram Museum and the Kon-Tiki Museum and is also included in the Oslo Pass.


After leaving Bygdøy, I felt the need for some coffee and a snack, so I visited the Fragrance of the Heart vegetarian cafe in the centre of Oslo near the Town Hall. I had a very nice piece of vegan cherry and apple pie with my coffee, but after the previous night's visit to Loving Hut, I was slightly taken aback to realise that I was once again in a venue run by followers of a cult/NRM (the clue was in the large photos of messianic leader Sri Chinmoy plastered on the wall). Seriously, is there something in the water when it comes to veggie restaurants and cafes in Oslo?


Anyway, this concludes part two of blogging about my recent trip to Oslo. You can read part one here, and keep an eye out for the final post in the series later this week, which will include more museum visits, a trip to the Vigeland Park and, of course, more vegan food.

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