This weekend my daughter and I travelled to Oslo to see the sights of this wonderful city - deemed to be the most expensive city in the World. We visited Vigeland Park (the world's largest sculpture park made by a single artist), the Nobel peace centre and the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. We were only there for the weekend and tried to make the most of this intriguing green and white city. Oslo is the capital of Norway and has been since 1814 when it gained its independence from Denmark. It is located innermost in the 100-kilometre-long Oslofjord, which is home to 40 islands. Over half of the municipality of Oslo is covered by forests and parks, making Oslo a truly green city, although when we visited it was nearly all white.
Our flight took us from Manchester to Oslo (Rygge) airport which was situated an hour outside of Oslo. As the flight arrived after 11pm, we had prebooked a hotel at nearby Moss. We took a taxi to Moss (very expensive!) and stayed the night in Moss. What we hadn't realised that there was a shuttle bus service from the airport to central Oslo which wasn't mentioned on the airport website - if we had known this we would have taken this option instead.
After a lovely night's sleep in the Moss Hotel, we walked through the snow to the nearby train station. The express train to Oslo was full so we bought tickets for the next train. The train journey to Oslo was stunning, with beautiful snow clad forests and ffjords lining the side of the rail tracks. Upon arrival at Oslo, we found the tourist information centre next to the station and planned our itinerary for the next day and a half.
With our map in hand, we navigated our way through the snowy street of Karl Johans Gate towards the Royal Palace and National Museum of Art, where we saw Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature), the famous painting by Edward Munch. After checking into the hotel we got the tram up to Frogner Park, where we had a great snowball fight amongst the winter wonderland which was inhabited by sculptures from Vigeland Sculpture Park as well larger structures such as bridges and fountains. Frogner Park is the most popular tourist attraction of Norway, with between 1 and 2 million visitors each year and is the largest park in the city, covering 45 hectares.
After lunch at McDonalds (where we had to pay a seating fee of around £5), we caught the number 12 tram to the Akerbrygge, where the Nobel Prize Centre is situated; the Peace Center is right on the waterfront next to City Hall (where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually on 10 December). We walked along the waterfront taking in the views of the Oslofjord and made our way to the Astrup Fearnley Museum where they had a number of Damien Hirst installations, including Mother and Child Divided, Adam and Eve exposed and God alone knows. The view from the top of the museum was spectacular. The night comes in quickly at this time of year and the lights of Oslo twinkled at us as we made our way back to the hotel with a smile on our faces.
After checking out of the hotel, we made use of our 24 hour tram pass and travelled up to Ekeberg Park which is situated on a hill on the South East of the city. It has 63 acres of installations by international artists and the panoramic view of the city from there was stunning. The snow here was really deep and we were amazed by the amount of cars that had managed to drive up in order to take advantage of this national heritage park.
After picking up our bags from the hotel, we popped into the nearby art museum to see the Scream painting, then the Hard Rock Cafe and then back to the station, back to the airport, back to the car and homeward bound. Although this trip was a little rushed, we did manage to fit a lot into this weekend and had a great time exploring this city, which is deemed to be the best place to live in the world. Apparently it has the highest Human Development Index and the lowest unemployment rate in the world. I personally found it a little too cold and a little too expensive for my liking but it was definitely an interesting place to visit.