Finally we made our way to Norway, where I planned to spend the following 2 months and Dan just one month. As a sort of introduction to Norway we started in the capital of Oslo.
It was the end of January, and beautifully cold and white. There was a bit of ice though, and we had to tread carefully at times. That didn't stop us from walking all over the city. The first night there we visited the famous Oslo Opera House, right on the harbor. It's a beautiful modern building, with large glass windows on ground level and white stone on top. The roof is open to the public to explore, and I loved seeing people's shadows thrown against the clean lines of the structure. Inside the lobby we found some crazy modern walls in a diamond pattern, lit from behind, which I enjoyed taking a few photos of Dan in front of.
The next day we stood in line to get a spot in one of the free tours available of the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting. It's a unique building made of yellow brick with a beautiful interior. There are so many ornate details, on all the doors, covering the ceiling, everywhere you look. Our tour guide was also hilarious and told us great stories.
We learned about why coats are not permitted in the building, (we had to leave ours in a secure entrance room.) The general public are allowed into a viewing area during parliament debates. During one of these debates a group of protesters let loose a group of pigeons, having smuggled them in in their coats. Most of the birds were captured, but one perched on the chandelier in the middle of the chamber and stubbornly refused to move. It was decided that the bird would have to be gotten rid of by shooting it, which they did. Only the bird didn't fall off the chandelier. Not wanted to delay the debate any longer they pressed on, the dead bird suspended above them, which proceeded to drip blood. Everyone tried to ignore this, until it dripped right onto a member of parliament. The debate was canceled for the day, and coats were banned from the building.
We saw the lego model of the Storting, and the little group of lego protesters standing in front of it, complete with signs. As it turns out, no one knows who put the little protesters there, they just appeared one morning. No one has claimed to have done it, and in a wonderful move, the government has decided to let them stay. There are often protests in front of the actual building which can be easily heard in the parliament chambers and it seems like a good overall representation.
There was a real protest going on in front of the Storting when we exited. It was another protest in support of the Kurdish people. I took a few photos and then we moved on. We walked through Frogner Park, which contains hundreds of sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. Some were fascinating, some were strange, but overall the park was really lovely.
The last thing we did in Oslo was visit museums. We went and saw the Viking Ship Museum which contains three burial ships. I was thrilled to learn that one of the ships was used for the burial of a woman, who would obviously have had an important standing within her community to warrant such a commemoration. The intricate detailing done on all the wooden artifacts found at these archeological sights are amazing and I couldn't stop gazing at them. We also visited the Historical Museum which contained, among other things, more Viking era artifacts.
After that great into to Norway we set off to explore more of the country. Stay tuned for both more blog posts and photo essay stories about the people and places I met along the way.
Inside the Storting
kaitlin k walsh
Adventurer armed with a camera.