Our Wonderful Welcome To Oslo, Norway
We woke up in the morning and heard the ship docking. Most of the time the ship was docked in industrial ports or not in the city centres. So when the curtains of our cabin opened I was surprised. Right out the window we had the most awesome view of the Akershus Fortress. We spent some time exploring this large fort after we headed off to enjoy the Vigelandsparken (Vigeland Park) outdoor sculpture garden in Oslo.
We had no formal tour booked in Oslo. It meant we started our day slowly. With our view of the fort, we sipped our morning cappuccino.
Map in hand, we started our short walk to town.
Much To See In the Port
It was an easy stroll along the port. We got a pleasant surprise when we found an interesting array of street art right in front of our ship. As we continued along the port, we stopped often to admire the boats in the harbour.
We were delighted when we reached the main port area and found a giant market. Local markets always a treat when we are in a new town. The first thing we saw was a pig roasting on a spit. We were sure that the pulled pork was the freshest you could find when the pig was fully cooked.
There were a wide variety of food stalls in the market. We could get hot pancakes, fresh goat cheese, produce or local specialities including “reinsdyr” reindeer burgers.
From the market we had a great view of the twin towers of city hall and the Nobel Peace building.
It was good to start our day in the port area before we headed to the outdoor sculpture garden in Olso.
Riding the Tram in Oslo
We often use public transit to explore a new city. The fares are normally reasonable. If you can figure out the transit map, it was generally easy to navigate.
We were surprised to find that there was a different currency in virtually every stop on our cruise. Generally we tried not to exchange money and be left with a purse full of strange currency. If we could use credit cards, that was our choice. Sometimes we were able to use Euros but the change was always in local currency. We were not sure what we would ever do with the Norwegian kroner we got as change.
In Oslo we didn’t exchange money but it was easy to buy a transit ticket. Tickets were available at 7 Eleven stores or at any transit ticket stop marked with a hash tag (#). All of these spots took credit cards. There was also a way to get tickets or a pass using a phone app.
We were certainly glad we did not try to ride for free. Ticket checkers travelled in pairs and were dressed in everyday plain clothes. On our two tram rides we saw them catch 3 different people who had no tickets. The fine for not having a ticket was 1150 NK (close to $200CND). We were sure that not even dumb tourists would get away with no fine!
Once we figured out which station and line we wanted, we were off to enjoy the outdoor sculpture garden in Oslo. The best bet was to take the #12 tram right from the waterfront. The stop for the garden was right at the front door. If you take the #19 you will get close but have a short walk.
A Great Day To Enjoy The Outdoor Sculpture Garden in Oslo
We exited the tram and had a short walk to the Vigeland outdoor sculpture garden in Oslo. It was after 2pm when we arrived and we noted that the garden activities closed at 4pm. Luckily, most of the bus tours had visited in the morning. So we had much less tourists as we wandered around the gardens.
We like to visit outdoor statue gardens. One of our favourite was the NOMA Outdoor Sculpture Garden in New Orleans. The entry gates for Vigeland were large iron artistic portals. Just inside the gates we found the statue of Vigeland who the sculpture gardens were named for.
There was a long walkway to get down to the main fountain with the single monolith standing high above it. This monument was being restored and there was a large crane at the top of the park.
There was lots of green space around this park. A children’s park was close to the entrance. Lots of park benches sat amidst the trees and flowers. Ducks swam in small lakes. And everywhere we found the start of the changing colour of the fall leaves reflected in the water.
The Statue Walk
As we approached the main fountain, we crossed a bridge. All along the bridge we saw a wide variety of statues of people at play.
Many of the statues included families at play. It was a bit odd to see that every statue was naked.
We went in search of the cranky baby statue. When we researched things to do, we got a list from Julie and Charles (@FunInFairfax and @CharlesMcCool). We were amused at their pictures of the cranky baby statue. Of course, David had to try out his best cranky face.
There were several statues that wrote their own tag lines for me. I was sure to mark these statues for later use on Twitter. Whenever I wanted to stay I was “pulling my hair out” or “on my way”, I would have the right picture at hand.
The interesting status on the bridge were a definite way to enjoy the outdoor sculpture garden in Oslo.
The Central Fountain
There was a large fountain at the end of the statue walk. We had seen some beautiful fountains when we visited the Peterhof Palace and fountains. The fountain at this park was not that interesting. But the statues around the fountain were very fascinating.
As we walked around the fountain, we caught views of a wide array of characters that played in the fountain spray.
The fountain statues were a great stop when we visited the outdoor sculpture garden in Oslo.
Walking Up To the Monolith
There was a climb to get up to the top of the park and the monolith. The bottom levels still contained flowers well in bloom.
A series of steps took us up to the monolith. A huge pile of naked bodies spiralled upwards in a tall tower like sculpture. Interesting statues encircled the monolith. The large circular platform at the top was adorned with metal gates and more ‘people’ art.
Looking further into the park you could see the ‘Soluret’ sundial and finally far off the ‘Livshjulet’ Wheel of Life sculpture. From this high vantage point, there was a great view back to enjoy the ‘Fontenen’ and ‘Broen’ sculptures within the Vigeland garden in Oslo.
We slowly made our way back through the almost empty park well before closing. It had been a great day to enjoy the outdoor sculpture garden in Oslo.
Exploring the Akershus Fortress
We took the #12 tram back to the port. We got off at the fort stop and headed up. Little did I know how long this path would take us along rough cobblestone paths. The first thing we saw was a field of food trucks. Exploring the fort must be a hungry venture!
As we strolled ever higher we got to see this well preserved fort and the different buildings. We found a lookout spot that gave us a view of the harbour.
We finally hit the top point close to the ship. This was the view that I had when we first entered port. And which stayed with us as we left.
The path finally wound its way back down and we walked back to the ship.
A Great Day Exploring The Outdoor Sculpture Garden In Oslo
We enjoyed our day as we explored Oslo. At our slow pace, we may not have seen as much as people who took formal tours. But we wandered at our own pace. We mastered the tram system to get further out to enjoy the outdoor sculpture garden in Oslo. Along the way, we got a small view of the city of Oslo. The day ended where it had started, back at the Akershus Fortress.
Oslo was our last port on our Baltic cruise. We had a lazy sea day before we arrived in Amsterdam. Since we stayed on the shop for the next cruise, we had little to do but enjoy a day in Amsterdam.
We were excited when we booked another cruise to see the Norway fjords. Our trip started from Oslo. We we got a chance to see more of Oslo.
Did you enjoy the Vigeland Outdoor Sculpture Garden in Oslo? What was your favourite sculpture? What else did you do on your visit?
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