We allotted a single day to take in this major capital city. Fortunately we got an early start with our arrival on the overnight train, and had done some strategic planning in advance so we could fit in the things we most wanted to see: the opera house, the art gallery, the folk museum, and Vigeland park.
Oslo’s opera house is just celebrating its 5th anniversary. It’s a fine piece of contemporary architecture, with high open spaces, interesting textures, lots of glass, and (the coolest part) a roof you can walk all over, from the sidewalk and the waterside right up to the highest point for some fine views. And it is right across the street from the main train station, providing easy access for out-of-town opera lovers.
The second stop on our city tour was the national museum. Oslo is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its most famous artist, Edvard Munch. You know…
The Nasjonalmuseet’s special tribute exhibit was excellent. There’s a lot more to Munch than that one picture (which, by the way, Munch painted and printed over and over again in different versions). Unfortunately, no photos allowed in the exhibit, but here are a couple of other examples of Norwegian art from elsewhere in the museum.
.Next up was the Norsk Folkemuseum. This wasn’t high on Andreas’s must-see list but he agreed to go along and I think he had a good time. It’s one of those open-air museums where they’ve taken old buildings from around the country and moved them to a big park. It’s also a living history museum, with people in period costume demonstrating traditional crafts, cooking, music, and so on.
Calling the cows. I admit it, I like this stuff.
We finished our day in Oslo by taking the tram out to Vigeland park. This is a city park decorated with statuary by the Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. In about 1920, Vigeland was in a dispute with the city of Oslo because they wanted to demolish his house to build a library. After long negotiations, he turned over the house in exchange for a new one that would become a museum of Vigeland’s work after his death (with his ashes in the belfry). On his part, Vigeland agreed to give all his future work to the city of Oslo. Vigeland was a very prolific artist, so the end result was this huge sculpture park full of everything the artist made for the rest of his life.
Never heard of Gustav Vigeland? He designed the Nobel peace prize medal.