We are tourists.

June 10th, 2009

Ok, so we messed up. Oslo deserves and needs more than 3 days of our time. But we don’t have the time to spare. Tomorrow morning we are moving on and we are cranky and depressed, because we’re missing out on too many unseen things.

Our biggest time sucker has been our accommodation. I will preface the following with this disclaimer: Oslo Apartments did find us a place to stay, were very apologetic and offered us an even lower rate AND bigger apartments. Even with all the grief we went through, I would stay there again.

I booked with Oslo Apartments months ago and we learned at 1pm (after killing time all morning waiting for our apartment) that they mixed up our booking and that we had no apartment. We ended up being shuffled off to another apartment building across town (and another $20 cab ride away, which is crazy because this city isn’t even that big) and ended up waiting for over 30 minutes for someone to let us in, even though they were told we were on our way. I had to look for a telephone booth to speed things along, which was a little bit of torture (smells like urine, phone eats money, impossible to find). FINALLY around 2pm we were in our apartment and after showers, you can see where the day went.

We were staying in the Ruseløkka area, so we went to the new House of Oslo. Not too exciting, has a smaller Ilums Bolighus which we’d seen enough of and some other interiors shops that are more generic.


One good store was Designtorget, where John picked up a tea towel he’d been wanting for ages. It’s an Astrid Sampe textile design, made in Sweden (above photo). We also bought an egg timer that sits in the pot with the eggs while they boil, since I am terrible at getting John’s soft boiled eggs right (case in point, Tuesday’s breakfast…watery uncooked eggs…had to give up one of my [soft] hard boiled eggs).

Tuesday, we took a day off from the shops and ventured over to Bigdøy to check out a bunch of museums. I highly recommend you get an Oslo Pass, from the tourist office, because it covers bus fare and all museum entrances.

First on the agenda: Norsk Folkemuseum, an outdoor museum with old traditional Norwegian buildings.




The highlight was definitely the Stavkirke, a church from around 1200.


Also, inexplicably, they had a “Back to the 80s exhibit” so of course we had to have a look.


John noticed that the coffee table and chaise were virtually the same as what was furnishing our apartment.


The next stop was the Vikingskipshuset, which has three viking ships on display. Each was buried with a member of the upper class, along with animals, food and treasure (much like the Egyptians did).

We stopped for lunch at a nice cafe, then off to the Kon-Tiki Museet. This place baffled us the most but in the end, it was one of our favourites.



The museum has original boats and exhibits on many of  Thor Heyerdahl‘s (1914-2002) expeditions. A scientist and adventurer, he proved that it was possible for a primitive raft to sail the Pacific with relative ease and safety, demonstrating that the movement of people from continent to continent was possible using what would be considered primitive construction. He also did archeological expeditions on Easter Island and in Peru.


The last stop was the Frammuseet which houses the Fram ship, which was a part of many important Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. The exhibit cover three major explorers, “Fridtjof Nansen’s cross-country skiing enterprise across Greenland and the drift of the Fram across the Polar ocean, Otto Sverdrup’s charting of the Arctic Ocean and Roald Amundsen’s exciting race towards the South Pole.” I was really interested in seeing this one since I am obsessed with Arctic exploration, but the museum was a little on the tired side, in desperate need of some dusting and new info plaques. Also, some of the cool artifacts go unseen because they don’t have pride of place. And the last buzzkill is the storage of office chairs on the ship. Presumably they are for special events or lectures, but they really distract from the realness of the ship.

After a busy day touring the museums, we got a $40 take away pizza and settled in for hours of tv watching (in English!) and internet surfing. Why am I still so exhausted!?!

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