We rounded off our main July summer holiday with 24 hours in Oslo (the capital city of Norway). We relatively frequently pass through Gardemoen (the largest of the city’s airports), but this is the first time we’ve had a family ‘tourist’ visit.
Oslo is relatively compact, population 650000, and with good, if rather expensive, public transport. There’s quite a bit of free stuff to do, so we did.
City hall (rådhuset) is a colossal building, with a vast main hall, built to fully underline Norway’s full independence early in the 20th century, and celebrate it’s heritage and people. It was a long time in construction and decoration, interrupted by the Nazi occupation. It even has a fake organ! Every day there are free guided tours, lasting about an hour. During our visit the building was being prepared for local elections, which seemed involve closing most areas to the public, and removing the majority of the furniture. However, guided tours were given access. It was very informative. There’s a 360 degree view of the main hall here.
Next it was on to see the palace, which in contrast to Buckingham Palace appears to have zero security: you can walk right up and knock on the door! We were treated to the king’s band too, as they marched the length of Karl Johann Gata (the main thoroughfare leading up to the palace) and did something akin to the ‘changing of the guard’. This being a small country, Susanna even knew some of the musicians:
By then it was heading for lunch time, so after a quick visit to the cathedral (rather small and full of paraffin fumes from hundreds of tea lights), we found a place to eat, just outside the main station, with a railway feel to it:
The afternoon was spent in the Vigeland sculpture park. Vigeland Park is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist, and is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions. The park is Gustav Vigeland’s lifework with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron. He was also in charge of the design and architectural layout of the park, mainly completed between 1939 and 1949. Read more about it here. Despite wind and rain, it is an amazing place! These are just a fraction of the sculptures: