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Oslo, a Viking Heart

Close your eyes and think “Olso.” Quick! What comes to your mind? Henrik Ibsen? Thor Heyerdahl? Vikings? Nobel Peace Prize? Oslo is all of these things and so much more.

Oslo is not just Norway’s political capital, it is its’ cultural heart. Music from rock to symphonic thrives. The art scene is alive and well in a city of more than 50 museums and countless galleries.

And, within jumping distance of parliament you can discover the largest ski jump facility in the country, the Holmenkollen.

Start saving your money and vacation days for a summer visit to the city. Long summer evenings extend your ability to see and do so much more. The sunlight lasting into late hours will have you thinking that this is a city that never sleeps.

Oslo is one with the sea so you can begin your day with a trip to the fish docks for a breakfast of freshly caught shrimp, cooked on the same boat and then spend your day wandering the old shipyard of Aker Brygge, now a lively bastion of restaurants, shops and theatres.

It wouldn’t be Oslo without the Viking influence so a visit to the Viking Ship Museum is an absolute must. The Viking Ship Museum is home three of the best-preserved Viking ships ever found. The elegance of these ships will take your breath away. The design, lines and magnitude of the ships will impress you with the modernity and functionality of their style.

The ships were discovered in royal burial mounds at Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune. More than 100 years previously these ships had been buried with their royal owners for their final journey to the “Other World.” Since the departed would need much in their next life the royals were buried with all manner of household goods including farm implements, textiles and utensils. The museum is open daily.

Equally impressive is the Norsk Folkesmuseum, an open-air collection of traditional houses and buildings from all over Norway. Gathered together in one location you can readily imagine the day-to-day feel of Norway over the centuries as you peer into houses and churches. This is a great place to learn about Norwegian handicrafts, open-air baking, domestic animals and traditional costumes. During the summer months there is a full program of activities including folk dancing and story telling.

Who has not marveled at the real life tales of adventure of Thor Heyerdahl, explorer and anthropologist. In the 1950’s Heyderdahl began a series of ocean going quests that started with the Kon-Tiki. He had theorized that Polynesian explorers had not only sailed to South America, but had returned. At he Kon-Tiki Museum you will find the original, and slightly battered balsa raft on display. Heyerdahl may not have proved his theory, but he did prove it was possible.

This museum also features the papyrus boat Ra II and statues from Easter Islands. A world away from Norway, but definitely possessing a Viking heart.

For more information on visiting Oslo go to Norway's woneful toueist board site.


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