Oslo, Norway – September 23rd

We are participating in a 3 hour Maritime Highlights excursion today. Our guide was Ingar – and, legally, we had to wear our seat belts on the bus. No problem.

Oslo is home to 673,000 people. Norway has a population of only 5 million. The opera house opened in 2008, obviously modern, and is known as “the bar code building”. Why? Because when you look at it, it looks like a bar code! The Grand Hotel is known for where the Nobel Peace prize winners stay. Oslo is known for the Ice Bar, where everything is made of ice. We didn’t have an opportunity to see it, but those who did said it wasn’t worth it. The Oslo Marathon was run the day before we got there. It was a big local event. The US Embassy in Oslo is known as “Fort Knox”, and looks like it.

We stopped at the Viking Ship Museum, which was interesting. The museum is smallish and rural, and doesn’t really have much. However, when you consider that the pieces were recovered from archeological digs, including the complete Oseberg Ship, which dates back to 834 AD. A number of smaller relics of the period were also interesting.

Practically right next door is the Kon-Tiki Museum. What?! Yes, the Kon-Tiki. Thor Heyerdahl wanted to prove that people from Peru could cross the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia, merely by riding currents. He built the period appropriate Kon-Tiki of balsa logs and it took his band of volunteers 101 days to make the trip in 1947. It was well documented, and a movie was made of the feat. The Kon-Tiki is housed in the museum. Not me! In 1969, the 45-foot Ra was built of Egyptian papyrus, and set sail on its 4,000 mile adventure across the Atlantic Ocean from Morocco, on the coast of Africa, and the Caribbean Islands….or almost. Again, not me!


The FRAM Polar Ship Museum is also located there. The FRAM, launched in 1893, “is the strongest wooden ship ever built and still holds the records for sailing farthest north and farthest south.” It’s an amazing story, really, when you think about the era and the conditions they faced.

Norway and its countryside were very pretty, and had a relaxing quality to it. It also sounds like it was pretty cold in the winter; accompanied by little daylight.

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