Norway Part 1: Oslo

(Wait, I want part two! Here you go.)

Continuing the trend of weekend trips, this past weekend I visited Sweden’s neighbor, Norway. I went for a little longer than last weekend and was able to leave for Oslo on Thursday morning and return to Lund on Sunday. I originally considered taking the train to Gothenburg, spending a night, then continuing to Oslo for two nights. After some more research I found that the Oslo to Bergen railway is actually regarded by many as one of the most scenic railways in the world so I decided to switch it up a bit and fly to Oslo, spend two nights, take the train to Bergen, spend one night, and fly back to Copenhagen! It actually worked out really well and I’m glad I did it that way.

So, I arrived to Oslo on Thursday morning, and this was the first thing I saw after we landed:

Hello to you too, Norway… It was actually quite an interesting descent: we came through the clouds and probably within a few hundred feet of altitude we were on the ground. Not one for those who hate flying. Anyway, the snow seemed to be on the ground only outside of central Oslo so I was safe without my more hefty boots! I took the high speed train to the central station and went to drop off my bags at my hotel. I was very near to a main shopping street that was all decked out for Christmas!

After having the most expensive fast food lunch of my life, I walked further down through some Christmas markets (where some presents may or may not have been bought) and towards the Royal Palace. The Christmas markets were on the left side of the street and you can just make out the palace way down at the end!

And here’s a picture closer to the palace. It got snowy/icy as you walked up the hill but luckily I didn’t fall down and look ridiculous in the process.

After walking around the palace for a bit and realizing my toes were kind of numb, I decided to head to a museum. I went to the Museum of Cultural History which seemed like a good starting place, but I actually didn’t enjoy it that much. It was entirely empty, I didn’t see more than 10 other visitors while I was there. The one thing I did like was an exhibit on the operation to smuggle the Norwegian gold reserves out of the country when the Nazis began to occupy the country. 50 tons of gold was smuggled out of Oslo, north to Tromsø, then eventually by ship to London before ending up in the US. After the museum I was pretty tired from getting up early and traveling so I headed back to my hotel.

On a snowy Friday morning, I decided to go to the National Gallery. I usually don’t enjoy art museums that much but for some reason I really enjoyed this one! There was an exhibit on nature scenes painted by Norwegians like Johan Christian Dahl, all of which I really liked. This museum is also one of the only places you can see The Scream by Edvard Munch, which I of course had to find:

The painting was actually stolen from the National Gallery in February 1994 but was luckily found unharmed just a few months later. One of the four versions sold in May 2012 for $119,622,200, making it the second highest price paid for a painting at auction. After the National Gallery I walked back across town to tour the opera house, home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. The building was completed in 2007 and designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, who also designed Hunt Library on N.C. State’s campus!

I went on a guided tour of the building which was really interesting, but I couldn’t take pictures of most things. Here’s a picture from the lobby instead:

One of the coolest parts of the building in my opinion is that you can walk on the roof! Even though it was a tad icy I decided I had to do it anyway. Luckily they had handrails just in case…


After warming up a bit at the hotel I headed to Oslo Cathedral for a mass and music service. You know when you have to sing a song but you don’t know it so you have to kind of listen and make it up at the same time? I did that but while also singing in Norwegian, so that was interesting. The service was interspersed with music for violin, cello, and basso continuo by Georg Philipp Telemann (which was what I really came for) and after the service they did one piece with alto voice too. The part was sung by a man which was unexpected but he had an excellent voice! As I was leaving the cathedral I heard a couple talking to one of the workers saying they were from Washington DC – small world!

You’ve made it this far! Continue with part two.