One Way to do Oslo

On a recent cruise on board Queen Mary 2 the ship called at the Norwegian Capital, Oslo. This review  will hopefully illustrate how much of that unique city can be seen in a day.

Oslo is not an overlarge city and only has a population of around 590,000. The main berth and terminal for visiting cruise ships is very close to the centre of Oslo, as illustrated by this photograph…

The photograph was taken from the ship with the City Hall clearly visible top left and  part of the Akershus Fortress occupying the foreground. We toured the fortress later in the day.

For those who may be interested the Cruise Terminal is also  on the route of Oslo’s HoHo bus circuit…

Leaving the ship shortly after berthing my wife and I walked in the direction of the City Hall

…which would take in the direction of Aker Brygge, a waterfront area and highly popular meeting place for Norwegians with shopping, dining, and entertainment as well as a museum and many  historical artefacts…

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The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art viewed from Queen  Mary 2 on departure.

One item of memorabilia on display is one of the anchors recovered from the German battleship Blucher which was sunk in Oslo Fjord by shore launched torpedoes…

Behind the anchor can be seen current repairs to the Aker Brygge boardwalk. This is also the site of the ‘Peace Flame’ dedicated to the city of Oslo by Sri Chinmoy in 2001. Unfortunately the ‘Peace Flame’ and Statue of Sri Chinmoy have been temporarily removed to facilitate the repairs. I did recall seeing it on a previous cruise ship,  P&O’s Arcadia, visit in 2009…

The biggest attraction at Aker Brygge however has to be the Nobel Peace Center – not to be confused with the Nobel Peace Institute which I found later…

The Nobel Peace Center

From Aker Brygge we rounded the City Hall and passed the National Theatre

…heading for Karl Johans Gate, the heart of Oslo…

…turning left half way along to take a closer look at the Norwegian Royal Palace…

…with the Statue of King Karl Johans surveying the palace  entrance.

At this point we pondered on the method we would use to get to the next destination on our ‘hit’ list. That destination was Oslo’s Vigeland Statue Park, Norway’s most visited tourist attraction. We consulted our pre-purchased guide…

…and calculated that from The Royal palace we were a mere 25 – 35 minutes walk away. We abandoned the option of taking the HoHo bus – which has the Vigeland statue park on its route and duly set off in the direction of Vigeland Park.

We were rewarded well. The first building of note that we encountered was the Nobel Institute

Hotly followed a few corners away by the Norwegian National Library

The Norwegian National Library on Henrik Ibsons Gate

This walk really was a treat and gave us a glimpse of some of Oslo’s residential areas, local cafes and smaller boutique shops as we walked the length of Frognerveien.

We eventually arrived at the Vigeland Park…

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Or, viewed from the opposite direction…

The 212 sculptures made of either Bronze, granite or wrought iron attract more than a million visitors a year and this was certainly a ‘hot to do’ on the Queen Mary 2’s Excursion list – we spotted many groups following the QM2 paddles.

A few of the sculptures we enjoyed…

The Monolith – a representation of all of humanity – granite

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Dancing young woman – bronze

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Man chasing four Geniuses – bronze

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The Fountain

The Fountain,which was originally designed to stand in front of the Norwegian Parliament. This location, however, proved controversial. The sculpture consists of 60 individual bronze reliefs representing the circle of life, with sculptures of children, teenagers, old men, and skeletons.

And hey, another one of us taken by a very kind Japanese lady…

We spent just over an hour in Vigeland Park before heading back towards the Oslo city centre, taking in a quick Koldtbord  (the Norwegian version of the Smörgåsbord ) at one of the restaurants we had spotted along Frognerveien earlier in the day.

In the centre we again picked up Karl Johans Gate and taking a look at The Norwegian Parliament Building which is adjacent Karl Johans gate…

The Storting – the parliament of Norway building

…and the Oslo Domkirke (Cathedral)…

Domkirke – Oslo Cathedral

The area around the Cathedral is a popular shopping area with an excellent variety of stores. Needless to say colourful Norwegian sweaters were on sale everywhere…

At the end of Karl Johans Gate is Oslo Central Railway Station. A short walk across Christian Frederiks Square and a magnificent view of The Oslo Opera House looms. Home of The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet the building is situated on a small promontory at the head of the Oslofjord  in the Bjørvika  neighbourhood…

The Oslo Opera House

There remained just one place of interest for us to explore – Akershus Fortress. We simply needed to keep the Oslofjord on our left and follow it to where the Queen Mary 2 was berthed…

Queen Mary 2 berthed next to Akershus Fortress

There is a considerable amount to see within the fortress. It is a massive complex that houses, apart from the historic castle, the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum

Norway’s Resistance Museum…

Norway’s Resistance Museum

As well as the Norwegian Ministry of Defence.

By now it had begun to rain and I took shelter under a tree along with a group on a guided tour. I was fascinated to hear the story regarding the final days of the Norwegian wartime traitor and to have indicated the small building within Asherkus Fortress, the wall of which he met his end by firing squad…

I couldn’t resist the photograph.

With less than an hour to spare before sailing we dropped down from Akershus Fortress onto the waterfront for the few minutes walk back to the ship, not missing the opportunity to snap one last photograph to illustrate Solent Richard’s continuing mastery of internet Trolls…

I trust this article on just what can be achieved on a day out in Oslo has been of interest. We covered a lot of ground but felt it all worth while. Oslo is an interesting city to visit and well geared to tourism.

Please feel free to comment or ask a question via the comment button.

One response to “One Way to do Oslo

  1. Brilliant pics again, Richard. Thank you so much for sharing. Yes, there are many nice things to see in Oslo.
    You were so lucky to see the monolith without any covering.
    First time we went to Vigeland Parken, it was pouring with rain – no chance to take any real good picture, next time we went, it was clear blue sky, but the monolith was covered for restauration purposes. Well… We might have to go to Oslo a third time…

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