oslo // day 4

Today is a major day of freebies. I arrive at the Oslo Town Hall at 8:40am, knowing the Oslo Passes will be distributed at 9am. The Town Hall itself is rather nice on the inside, with large paintings on either sides of the main room. I get tons of free stuff, which is super exciting (it’s always even more exciting when you’re not expecting it). The mayor then gives a short speech, but everyone’s really just there waiting to get their free passes and run out for a crazy day of museum hopping. Luckily, things don’t get too crazy once the cards get handed out (this isn’t France, after all).

Card in hand, I take the ferry to Bygdøy, an island filled with museums. My first stop is the Viking Ship Museum, which I had been eyeing on Pinterest for many months now. And I’m not disappointed. Inside, there are three ships: the Oseberg, the Gokstad and the Tune. All three are absolutely beautiful, though the Gokstad would have to be my favorite.

Then, I walk out to the Kon Tiki museum, which also contains ships. These boats, however, are from a completely different era than those at the Viking Ship Museum. Indeed, the Kon Tiki and the Ra II were both constructed for the mid-20th century explorer Thor Heyerdahl. What still puzzles me is why Heyerdahl would ever put himself in so much danger at sea while being fully conscious of his own fear of water.
The last of my maritime-themed visits is the Fram Museum. There, I learn a great deal about Norwegian polar expeditions, and get to see the massive Fram ship, as well as the smaller, but equally impressive Gjøa. Visitors are even able to step aboard the Fram and visit its interiors!

Finally, I head over to the Norsk Folkemuseum, also known as the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. This open-air museum is a sort of smaller version of the one I visited in Copenhagen, and I don’t find it quite as interesting in that most houses are not open to visitors. However, the houses themselves are very beautiful - the ones on stilts are especially fascinating to look at. Also, I get to see the world’s oldest wood farmhouse, which is pretty cool. The most impressive building, though, is definitely the Gol Stave Church, a 1212 structure that is absolutely not to be missed.

At this point I’m STARVING and pretty much devour the sandwich I order from BIT once I get back in central Frogner. It’s 90 NOK, which is definitely quite a bit more than I had hoped, but it’s very nice and fresh.

I walk out to Tjuvholmen, which is the area where the Astrup Fearnley Museum is located. (Note: If you’re looking for food in the neighborhood, my guide recommends Bergshaven Bakeri. I would have gone there but I just couldn’t wait a minute more!) The Astrup Fearnley buildings are spectacular works of architecture, and their seaside location is truly idyllic. Inside the first building, there is an exhibit entitled New Norwegian Abstraction. I discover new artists like Magnhild Oen Nordhal, Johanne Hestvold and Marie Buskov. The second features a display of the museum’s permanent collection, including Damien Hirst’s controversial Mother and Child.

On my way back to Grünerløkka, I notice the Oslo Domkirke is finally open! I had been trying to visit it since my first day here, but it had always been closed. I walk in during the middle of a mass, which is slightly awkward because I’m handed a leaflet at the entrance and invited to join in on the ceremony. It’s actually not too bad, because I get to hear the organ playing, as well as beautiful choir music.

Back at Kay’s, I get a Facebook notification saying Mathieu has just posted to our RVC group from last year. It turns out the first four episodes of the new Game of Thrones season have just been leaked! Unable to contain my excitement, I share the news with Kay and her girlfriend, who, as I had hoped, are also huge fans of the show. I thus spend my last night in Oslo watching its first two episodes with my two charming and adorable hosts.