Monday, July 13, 2015

Oslo: A Day at the Museums

After I left Iceland, I flew to Norway and then spent a few days in Oslo.  By this time, my back, hips, and legs were really giving me problems, so I could not walk very far or do anywhere near as much as I wanted to.  This was very scary and frustrating.
However, this post is not the place to go into all that.  Let me share with you a few of the things I was able to see.
(Remember to click on the pics to enlarge them.)

The Castle was closed for some state function during the three days I was in Oslo.  I did manage to walk around the grounds a bit.  It was humid and miserable, but the sun was making for great lighting.  This is Oslo Harbor as seen from the castle grounds.

And this is the Castle as seen from Oslo Harbor. :)
I took a small ferry boat across the harbor to the small peninsulas where the main museums are.  I managed to see two of them in one afternoon: the Kon Tiki Museum and the Polar Ship Fram museum.  ( I attempted a third: the Maritime Museum, but I was just in too much pain and could hardly navigate -- excuse the pun -- through the preserved cruise ship there.)
The former houses both the Kon Tiki and the Ra II, which Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl used to make his famous raft ocean crossings in the mid-twentieth century.  I was very impressed with the museum and its displays.  (It also had plenty of benches scattered about, which I really needed.)  The Polar Ship Fram museum housed two small ships of which I'd never heard before, so I had a harder time figuring out what was going on.  The ships were amazing -- and the museums were built so you could walk around the ships on several stories, then board them.  The trouble was that all the charts, dioramas, interactive videos, and hands-on displays were arranged by theme (food, sled-dogs, Norwegian vs. British exploration, history of the ship, etc.) rather than by chronology.  There was no big overview anywhere that told the ignorant observer why there was a museum for these ships.  Plus, in the large museums shop, they had all kinds of books on arctic exploration, but not a single guidebook to the museum or a book about either ship.  That was SO weird.  Thus, I enjoyed that museum, but I came out of it still rather confused.  In fact, I learned a lot more about the Fram Museum and the Fram itself from Wikipedia than from the museum, in spite of all the museum's spectacular displays.

Unfortunately, the dim light necessary to preserve everything in the museums led to crappy photos, so I won't bother to share them with you. (Remember: I only have a point-and-shoot camera, and the flash just isn't bold enough to light up a whole freakin' ship.)

This is taken from the dock right by these three museums.

I liked this shot of the polar explorers' monument with the flags flying in the background.
I got a lot of good shots of the harbor that day as well, and the ferry ride itself was quite enjoyable.  If you're ever in Oslo, I definitely recommend a ferry ride over and a day at these three museums; they're all right next to each other, which really helps a visitor.  There's parking as well, for those who drive around from Oslo.

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