Insert map here
Oslo as a capital city must be unique in that it does not get a mention in the ‘Highlights of Norway’ section from within our guide book. This either means that Norway has a lot to offer apart from some drab museums or Oslo is a dump. It is not a dump but as the poorest country in Europe until the discovery of oil in the 1960’s and being ruled as a province for 500 years by firstly the Danes and then the Swedes has left it with a bit Viking stuff and not a lot else. We’ve seen the scream by Munch and so we didn’t have to bother with the only other thing on offer.
Insert Stockholm to Oslo journey
It took us two days to drive the 330 miles between Stockholm and Oslo with a stopover in the town of Karlskoga. The aire is brand new and includes level parking spots overlooking a lake with free electricity, showers, toilets, waste disposal and fill-up. Next door is a skate park with picnic tables and free use of a BBQ. A truly excellent place to stop. So good in fact we spent two nights there as the weather was rubbish and I spent the time catching up on the blog. Before we left we had a quick run round to MackieD’s to piggyback on their WiFi and upload all the tripe I had written over the previous couple of days. The journey is quite bland with a mixture of rolling hills, forests and lakes. It does improve once you cross the Norwegian border to a degree. First impressions of Norway is that it is as scrubbed and pressed like Austria. The highlight of the drive was a spot of an Elk close to the road. The first one we have seen Poland and without the need for binoculars. We celebrated by buying a sticker.
We did read on some factually incorrect motorhome blog, not for the first time, that Customs at the Border search your van and they are very strict regarding the amount of Alcohol and Fresh Meat you have on board. Norway has singed the Schengen agreement and therefor the border is completely open. Secondly, we read that the Panel Van Conversion is King in Norway. Not true, we have not seen one, but we have seen plenty of big A ‘class’ gin palaces. Not even the most desperate would consider a PVC in this country.
The final point of note about the journey is that the toilet blocks usually contain a ‘latrine’ for dumping black waste and garages usually have a heated cupboard around the side where you can fill up with drinking water.
We felt lucky when we bagged the last free parking spot at Holmenkollen just to the north of the City. Holmenkollen is the Nordic home of Ski Jumping, this is where you learn to jump, where you jump, and if you are any good then end up with a place in the Jump Museum. It is an iconic site visible from the whole of Oslo and vice versa it commands a stunning panorama of Oslo Fjord.
View from Holmenkollen
What we didn’t know was it was the venue for a bank-holiday weekend festival with live bands playing until 5 in the morning. So without much sleep we explored the bits of Oslo we wanted to see and then decided to head off for the country.
Firstly, we had a look at the place that caused the sleepless night, the Ski Jump Hill and Arena. Golly gosh it is a sight to behold. If you think it looks scary on the telly then let me assure you it looks 100 times in real life. Never again will I think Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards is a bit of a dope. Just looking up at it makes your legs shake.
The stands and jump Hill
You can for the princely sum of £50 do a zip wire from the top and there was a steady stream of future brides and grooms taking up the challenge. Not only is Holmenkollen the place for an all-night party it is also the first stop on any Norwegian Stag/Hen do. I will leave you with the pictures.
Man Flying down hill
The train into the centre is more like a little mountain railway than a gritty capital city underground as it snakes its way down the hill to the centre of town. Our first stop was the Opera House. Sydney it ain’t but it does have its own charm including allowing the hoi-polloi to be able to walk over its roof. The let-down is the view from the top, it is a bit of a nothing really.
We now walked around the centre of town taking in the sights between the Opera House and the Town Hall. There is not a great deal to see. The most annoying thing is the number of beggars. There are swarms of them and to my untrained eye they look like relatives of the people on the London Underground with accordions and small children.
The Town Hall. Looks like an old Power Station to me
Here we boarded the No. 30 bus for a short journey out to BygdØy, home of the Viking Ship Museum. Also situated out here on the peninsula are the Kon Tiki Museum, the naval Museum and the Folk Museum. Having just been to Stockholm with superior offerings to those here we decided to keep our money firmly in our pockets and walk on by.
The Viking Ship Musuem has 3 Long Boats in various states of restoration and a further room of artefacts buried with the ships as part of a tomb. All three ships here are Burial Ships, i.e. they were dragged onshore and covered with clay to form a burial mound. Hence the good state of preservation. These once sea-going craft were used as vessels to take important Vikings into the journey of the after-life. As well as the ships these important Nobles were also sent off with all the things they would need on their journey including a horse-and-cart, food, bread-making kit. In fact everything they had in their living life. A good hour can be spent here.
Long Boat with Rudder
The Other One
Rather than take the bus back we opted for the Ferry that links the Museum with the Town Hall. It costs about a fiver a head and gives a different perspective to the city.
Holmenkollen from Oslo Fjord
We had one more walk around the town before heading back to the van and leaving to go somewhere quitter for a good night’s sleep. I will add that it is mind-numbingly expensive and nothing is worth what you pay for. There is nothing here to want you to come back for. We won’t be.
Love to All