Waking to see the sun rise while sipping coffee on the balcony, it is apparent that the striation of coloring in the sky must have inspired Munches work as seen in the background of The Scream. A glorious way to welcome a new day, it breathes life in our still not fully awakened bodies. There is much to explore.
Oslo which is less than one million in population over the entire metropolitan area is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. Much of this growth is due to immigration, which is evident by the number of people originally from Pakistan, Eritrea, and Somalia. It is not unusual to see a number of women with covered heads as we walk the streets.
Our first day, we did a great deal of street walking. Our Oslo Pass came at a hefty price. The 72 hour passes cost 590 NOK for those under 67 years old and 295 NOK for seniors. But planning correctly, if we waited until 3:45 pm on our first day to start the pass, it would still be valid for our return to the train station on the day we leave.
Walking worked out quite well. We crossed over the magnificently designed Bjørvika Bridge, a pedestrian only bridge that crosses over the multitude of railroad tracks below. According to my research, this bridge literally unites an old working class neighborhood on one side with a more commercial and prosperous one on the other. The architecturally interesting buildings that dominate the strip of land on the upper class side are called the “Barcode”.
The differences in the Oslo Opera House construction is immediately noticeable. You can walk on it. Along one side, there is a ramp or steps if you prefer to walk to the top of the building to see the city view. Designed with Italian marble and granite, it is meant to look as if it has just emerged from the water. It sits at the head of the Oslofjord. The interior design is equal in modernity; it is quite spectacular. What is most striking is the immediate green fluorescent lighting that is emitting from the wall installation created by Olafur Eliasson. However, your attention will be stolen by the waving wood walls that make up the tiers of the auditorium. From below, the wood can be mistaken for bamboo stalks tightly bound.
Ron had remembered one cost saving measure we utilized in other pricey countries. Look for a department store with a food court. After searching in a couple of stores and asking, we were directed to Steen & Strøm at Nedre Slottsgate 8. Conveniently located in the downtown area, we discovered a wide selection of food choices that were not your average venues. These independent establishments were serious foodie options. In addition, there was a small market with a deli counter. This is where we purchased ready to eat lasagna and beef stroganoff. Prices are based on weight; still it was expensive, but less than a regular restaurant would be.
Our timing was perfect. By the end of lunch, we were able to take the ferry to ride a full circuit, which was three stops total. Had we gotten off at any of the stops, we would have had access to the Fram Museum, home of the world’s largest polar ship as well as the Kon-Tiki and the Norwegian Maritime Museum. Other stops are close to the Viking Ship Museum and the Norwegian Folk Museum. However, it was now late in the day and museums close at 4pm once the calendar hits October. We just went for the ferry ride.
At the end of the day, our reward was a sunset that was beyond compare. This photo is right out of the camera without any touching up tweaks, taken from the balcony back at the apartment. This is an excellent home exchange.