We woke early and headed for breakfast. It was a quaint setting on the ground floor of the hotel.Crispy bacon and mozzarella sticks for breakfast!!! Don’t mind if I do! Admittedly my eyes were waaaaaay bigger than my belly at this time in the morning. After washing it all down with a cup of tea, we checked out and asked if we could leave our car parked outside for the day. Thankfully they said yes. We loaded the cases and set off towards the Vigeland Sculpture Park.We were lucky enough to pass even more stunning architecture en route and that the sky was totally clear and the mercury hit thirty degrees! After about five minutes of walking I was pretty much a puddle on the ground. As per the previous day, each 7-11 we passed resulted in us purchasing drinks that were consumed all too quickly (on my part that often meant I also drank Nathan’s) but we kept the bottles as we could get money back on them! So yes, we (the Royal we, I mean Nathan) lugged the empty bottles around for the remainder of the day.
Anyway, I digress. As we walked down one road I could see the water so said to Nathan we didn’t need to use the map as it was all along the waterfront. Now my navigation skills have proved dreadful throughout most of our trips so today was no different. I, as usual when proved wrong, sulked for about five minutes, told Nathan I’ll just follow blindly and then before we knew it we were at Vigeland Sculpture Park. This sculpture park is the largest in the world and is in the centre of Frogner Park which also houses the Oslo City Museum and Frogner Manor. Gustav Vigeland created the sculptures over a nineteen year period from 1924-1943 and there are 212 of them in the Park. As we walked across the bridge marvelling at the sculptures lining the sides we came to the Monolith Plateau. There are eight iron gates allowing you to gain entry to the Plateau and each gate has different figures within it.The Monolith itself is a towering feature at the end of the Park reaching just over 14 metres high. There are 121 figures rising out of the sky and around the monolith were people recreating the poses of the statues surrounding it, some for projects, some for fun.
Just behind the monolith was another cool structure.This structure represented the zodiac calendar with each sign depicted around the edge of the base. Even further behind the zodiac calendar was another structure where bodies were intertwined in a full circle.I’m not the best at interpreting sculptures or art but I imagine it may have had something to do with the circle of life perhaps? Satisfied we had seen the park in all its glory, we headed back out, past the sculpture of the main man himself.Our journey took us in the direction of the Nobel Peace Center, somewhere I’d always wanted to visit.It took us a while to walk there as we did get a little lost (and I wasn’t even the one directing yaaaay!!!) but it was a nice walk down to the water.Oslo is simply a stunning city, whether you looked up, down or either side of you. I could happily get lost in Oslo for days. We reached the water and at first we’re greeted with the towering back end of Oslo Rådhus 1, also known as city hall. It is the place of the city council and every year on December 10th, hosts the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Just before you get to the Rådhus, you have the Nobel Peace Centre on the left. It has only been open 13 years and it is home to the story of Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Peace Prize, the winners from each year as well as the other Nobel Prizes. The ceremony at the Rådhus is held on the 10th December because that is the day Alfred Nobel passed away. The Nobel Peace Prize winner for 2017 was ‘Ican,’ the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. They had a whole exhibit ‘Ban the Bomb,’ dedicated to their plight. As you move through the exhibitions there is a whole floor dedicated to those who have won the Nobel Peace Prize every year since 1901. As soon as the laureate is announced, the exhibition starts getting ready to put him/her/them onto their screen where they’re surrounded by thousands of blue lights. It’s incredible. So many prominent historic figures have won this prestigious prize, including Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and President Obama. In a room just off from the field there is a book which pays homage to Alfred Nobel’s life. Even the way the book was made is something of an adventure. No sooner has we made it to the gift shop to then exit, an almighty bang thundered through the air. I’m not kidding it sounded like someone was getting shot. We went outside and there was smoke coming off of the fortress across the water. Thankfully it was just the canons being fired off of Akershus Castle. Our plan was to walk along the water to reach the Opera House. There were many statues on the rivers edge as well as a plaque describing a time capsule that was buried in the year 2000, containing letters, postcards etc that the citizens of the city would open in the year 3000!It was buried on Oslo’s birthday out in the lighthouse on 15th May 2000. Pretty cool in my opinion! We continued our walk along the waters edge passing some troll statues on the way.The fortress was towering above us the whole way. Built in the 1200s, it used to be a prison and home of the Royal Family, but now it’s home to some of the countries military defence units as well as being the final resting place of many of Norway’s Royal Family. It was a glorious day for wandering round this beautiful city. It still took us a while to reach the Opera House, but as we rounded the ferry port it came into view.It was another tremendous architectural structure of bright white against the blue water. Many people were walking up and down it to the viewpoint over the city.You could see a cacophony of buildings across the city all the way out to the Olympic Ski Jump of Holmenkollen high in the hills outside the city.We came down from the viewpoint and headed in the direction of the cathedral. I have completely fallen in love with Norway. I’m not going to say it’s my new favourite place like most of you think I would do as every new place is my favourite, however we will be coming back to explore the rest of this stunning country.Oslo Cathedral. I love cathedrals and churches especially ones I can actually take photos in. It didn’t disappoint. A stunning 17th century cathedral it was. I actually think the stained glass windows were the brightest and most colourful I have seen along our travels! After my jaw reunited with my face, we exited and headed back along Karl Johan’s Gate.We did stop in a Christmas Shop. Unlike in Iceland where we bought a few things, we left empty handed. I was well behaved. Then we stumbled across the most peculiar thing…We were walking back towards the Royal Palace only to find the road had been cordoned off by the Parliament building and the flags were a mix of Serbian and Norwegian. No one around us seemed to know what was going on so we stood by the railings for a while before heading into the shopping centre to seek out Ben and Jerry’s. I don’t often indulge in the sweeter things in life but this time I did because it was SO hot and we didn’t know how long we’d be at the gates for. Then…Huge guns. Lots of police. Flash cars. Flags. We still had zero idea what was going on but it was quite exciting I must admit. I’ve never seen a motorcade before and Nathan and I have been lucky enough to stumble upon random things happening whilst we’ve been away and this was no different. Turns out that the Norwegian King had awarded a Slovakian citizen, Jan Zima, high state honours for helping bridge relations between the two countries. No other had been awarded an award of this kind so it was a pretty momentous occasion. So what had we stumbled upon!? The first ever state visit to Norway from the Slovakian President! It was awesome! We even went up to the Royal Palace to see if we could catch a glimpse of the royalty but sadly all we saw were guards.They were quite fidgety but I don’t blame them. So many people were asking for selfies with them (can’t do that at Buckingham Palace) and it was scorching so I don’t think I could stand still for two minutes let alone all day!
Satisfied we had exhausted everything to see in this beautiful city, we headed back to the car, air-con up full blast and we ventured out of the city up to Holmenkollen ski jump.We had the Oslo pass so could get into the exhibit for free but even stood at the sort of bottom of the ski jump the view was pretty cool!There was a video which showed a time lapse over the months with the snow disappearing. The whole place was pretty awesome and full of history. The view wasn’t bad either!We stopped part way down the hill to take the view in from the chair made from skis and kept descending before heading out to Ekebergparken which had amazing views of the city. After marvelling at the view for a while it was time to head to the airport 😔. On our way, we stopped at a recycling centre to recycle our bottles and got about £5 back in coins to add to my foreign currency collection. It’s a very good idea I think every country should adopt.
We got to the airport slightly early and dropped the car back. Then it was time to go in to check in and wait. We hadn’t eaten and were looking forward to TGI Fridays. What could go wrong 🤷🏽♀️…
Check in didn’t open for another hour so we sat in the bar and treated ourselves to a drink.Eventually we got in the queue to check in only to hear a group of five in front of us had had their flight cancelled twice! We stared moving forward only for the lady at the desk (only one person to check us all in) to send someone’s luggage through without a tag on it!!! That brought all the check in desks to a standstill which didn’t help us as TGIs closed at 10!!
Finally we got through check in but Nathan got searched at security despite only having a camera and passport and we headed to the food hall. Closed!!!! Closed!!!! It was 21:05 and TGIs had closed despite it saying 22:00 online 😩!! It was a travesty. Everywhere was closing so we had to settle for a baguette from the newsagent, which to be fair was quite tasty. The best bit of news came when DELAYED flashed up in red lights on the departure board. Our flight wasn’t due to leave until 23:45 in the end. Regardless, we made our way to the gate and sat and relaxed.
Then, the gate people tannoyed for us to leave the gate, form a queue and then sit back down. Whatttt??? So we did just that and eventually we were on the plane. Nathan up front in row 2, me in row 18. Window and exit seat for me!! Boom!There is something about the door being closed and the seats next to you being empty! The annoying thing was that I had two empty seats yet Ryanair still insist on splitting people up to make money by making people pay to move seats. Ridiculous. Anyway, eventually I let two guys sit next to me who snored SO loud I could hear them over my music. We landed.The small part of Norway we were l you enough to see was spectacular. We will be back….
Until next time…