Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rainy Day in Oslo

So much has happened that I want to share! I'll start with the afternoon/evening I spent with Unni, who has done so much for me so far I feel overwhelmed. The day we met at my dorm she took me to the nearby town of Drøbak, where there are cobblestone streets, old buildings and it's right along the Oslo fjord. We had typical Norwegian food for dinner, which was off their lunch menu but they were nice enough (or desperate enough for business) to serve it to us. Mine was splatter of sorts of different bread toppings like salmon, egg, ham, etc.:

Then we went to enjoy the fjord by laying in the sun on the grass and then jumping in the water, something I thought I'd never do in a fjord. I got used to it, but it was COLD!

I got my cell phone with Unni too, at a shopping mall in the town of Ski (pronounced like "she") so I got an iPhone, which I don't really need, but they didn't seem to have a cheaper plan....and all right, I like it. I've already texted my friend Finn Ove in Norwegian.

Yesterday was the day the whole group of new International students went to Oslo. And it was raining. All day. Luckily we were going to 2 museums and then were on our own, and once that happened the rain let up somewhat, and completely stopped by 5 pm.

In the morning we went to the Nobel Peace Museum, learning about Fridjof Nansen, who won it in 1922. He was a great explorer before that, going further North than anyone else at the time. And then he dedicated himself to feeding starving people in Russia. That's over-simplifying what he did but it's what I got out of our 45 minute tour. He's a Norwegian hero, and it shows by the silly cartoons they made of him simplifying his deeds for small children. My favorite was the one showing him flexing in the mirror and being in love with himself. Couldn't find that one online but you can see other cartoons here.

After our tour we walked around a bit near one of the ferry ports. I saw some sparrows and got really close to them, because they are more used to people. I remembered when I was seven in a cafe near Frogner Park (I think?) and a bird ate out of my hand. The birds were not fooled that I had food:

Their loss. Next we went to the Norwegian Folk Museum, where many really old, and some really really old, houses had been painstakingly rebuilt in this one location for posterity. In the first house, made in the 1600s, we were serenaded by Norwegian folk musicians.

Listening to her first song, a cappella, brought me very close to tears. It was a song about calling for her lost cow, which in those days (and now as well?) I think really would bring one to tears. Then they played hardanger (what he's holding) and danced as well.

Here are some of the houses from the outside. I titled this one "Wait, when am I now?"

It almost looks like the woman from the past is stepping into the older, yet modern woman. Note the grass roofs.

For dinner I met Sverre, who heard about from my dad's cousin Nancy, who is probably related to me somehow very distantly. He showed me where the bombing happened after we ate. I didn't want to take pictures at first, and I'm sure everyone reading this has seen some already, but here's what I took:

Roses adorning the fence that keeps people away from the Parliament building, seen in the background.

There were a lot of broken windows boarded up surrounding the area, but this one at a news building was particularly dramatic.

Finally the sea of roses outside Oslo's main church. Sverre told me there were so many at one point it was up to knee height. And people are still bringing them, but less than before. They have composted many of the first batch.

I guess I'll end this long entry with the tiger, or tigeren (as is his title), in front of the main Oslo station:

Behind him is a hotel being remodeled, not where any bombing occurred.


  1. I'm glad that you are getting so much help from Unni, Finn, and Sverre. It seems like having Norwegian connections will make your stay there more interesting and fun.

    Nice pictures and nice narrative. I like the photo of the grass roofed houses and the people dressed as folk of yesteryear.

  2. This is a great, newsy post! It does sound like you're keeping very busy and getting acclimated to your new surroundings. I remember the grass roofed houses from Sjovegan, when we were there 11 years ago.