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Monday, July 6, 2009


Now, this is really strange. We left Copenhagen around 4:30 yesterday and have been sailing to Oslo ever since. It is about 7:30 AM and we should be docking at 10:00. We went to sleep last night with the curtains to our veranda open and soon remembered that this is a mistake in Scandinavia. I remember awaking about 3:30 AM to see the sunset/sunrise. It’s all the same because it never gets dark.

I’m sitting on the veranda now and watching the Norwegian countryside as we head to Oslo. It is a strange view because it depends which side of the ship your cabin is on as to what you see. I see the countryside but have no idea whether we have open sea on the port side or if we are sailing through an inlet. I will report that the water is different here. The usual view of the water as the ship cuts through is just deep blue-black and bubbles caused by the ships passing. But this morning it is different. Looking straight down I see the ships hull and then a wake of about twenty feet that is all grayish green and bubbles. Then the bubbles end and it is all blue-black again. In fact, the green is getting greener and less grayed as we continue to sail. It’s very beautiful to see. If I had to offer an explanation I would guess that this color change is due to these being glacial waters similar to what we saw in Lake Louise, Canada. After all, Oslo is a fjord.

We loved Oslo. Our day began with tickets on a hop on/hop off bus of the city and surrounding countryside. In a bit over one hour you can drive through the city center and out into the countryside where the museums are all located. It is gorgeous. The ship docked right at the foot of the city center next to an ancient castle and fortress, Akershus. This is very interesting as I am now sitting on my bed in our cabin writing this account and the fortress is right outside our veranda. There are palace guards that check on the cannons every hour and they are close enough to speak to if I were inclined to do so. I’m not.

Our plan was to ride the bus on the entire circuit and then decide the points of interest where we wanted to get off and tour. However, when we came to Vigeland Park we both agreed that it was too spectacular to wait. This park is about sixty acres total and is filled with beautiful rose gardens. But the headline exhibits are the sculptures. Hundreds of human figures can be seen, children, families, adults, old people. Single statues and groups. Figures on bridges, in fountains, in bronze trees, in a monolith of dozens of figures. Fabulous! Linda and I did get a bit giddy and each of us posed with various statues.

We jumped back on the bus and rode out of the city to the area where seven museums are grouped. They are intimate and situated in a hilly rural area with vistas back into the city. All of Oslo requires much more of my time! I see this as a local where one should rent a house for a week or two and really enjoy the quiet beauty of Norway.

We stayed on the bus and rode back into the city. Our guide pointed out statues of Sonia Henni and a famous Norwegian speed skater. Much information was devoted to the future ski jump venue being built for games in the future as well as a brief history of record holding Norwegians of the past.

As we returned to the city center, we realized it was well past lunch and we set out to find a café. Good luck put us at the Nobel Center and a café that features a famous chef that I will Google when I return to the land of high speed Internet. LOL. But, if you are interested, the café is named Pascal and the chef is Pascal Dupuy. I ordered a bowl of fish stew that was divine. It was a cream soup with lemon. But, best of all, they are famous for their desserts. We went inside to the case and made our choices. I chose a licorice mousse that was wonderful. Then, we found the bathroom and peed in the Nobel Peace Center. My life is good.

With temperatures well over ninety in a country with an average summer high of sixty-four and no air-conditioning, we were wrung out by the end of our day. We still managed to climb through the fortress before returning to the ship. Once in our cabin, we both put our PJs on and took a bit of a siesta. Thanks to our late lunch we are skipping dinner and trying to get caught up on Email and friends.

The ship sailed out of Oslo shortly after 10:30 PM. Storms had threatened most of the evening and we were treated to a wonderful display of lightning over the hills as along the coast. We took photos of pleasure boats playing chicken with the ship as they rode our wake and screamed with the thrill of their boats becoming totally airborne as they crossed waves. Seemed like a pretty dangerous game. Those crazy Norsemen.

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