WEST COAST ABROAD

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Oslo, NORWAY – July 2012 : PART TWO

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The next morning, after an awesome breakfast on the top floor of the hotel (so different!), we decided to go to the Akershus Festning, a fortress right there in downtown Oslo, on the Oslo fjord.

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Luckily, there were signs posted at the entrance that said dogs were OK to go in too.

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We walked around and took in views of the fortress, city, water, and incredible buildings that make up Oslo.

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After that we walked all the way back to the Åpent Bakeri we had seen the day before, past the Palace, and had a lovely lunch (we totally recommend it!). We then decided to leave the dogs (who we hoped were good and tired after miles of walking in the past 24 hours) to go see the Viking Ship Museum. To get there, we were to take a bus from Strandgata, in downtown, over to the borough/peninsula/neighborhood Bygdøy where the museum is located.

Since we’re totally awesome people who totally ace public transportation maps, we got on the right bus…going the wrong direction. We realized this when the bus kept going in the opposite direction for so many stops, and eventually stopped at the bus depot in, like, way north Oslo. (I have no idea now, a year later, why we didn’t get off sooner?) So we asked the driver, “What do we do now?” and he was like, “Catch this bus going the other way. Stop is over there.” And he pointed us to a sign across the street. Our bus tickets were still good for an hour (day? I can’t remember, it was a year ago) so we didn’t have to buy new ones, and ten or so minutes later we got on the same bus, this time going in the correct direction. Fools.

Insider Travel Tip: Take public transportation! It really is a great way to see the place that you’re visiting, especially if you take it in the wrong direction first. Holla! You are welcome for that valuable information, by the way.

A million hours later we finally made it to museum. It looks like a small church, and it is SO WORTH SEEING. There are three real viking ships inside, along with tons of artifacts found on the ships when they were buried so long ago that Americans can’t fathom time in that way. The ships were found buried in the ground, over 100 years ago, but they are ships from before 1000 A.D. They were used as burial chambers, essentially, for prosperous people and loaded with treasures from the Viking times.

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I’ve always told Matt I’d like a “Viking funeral”, if/when I die before him, of sending my body out to sea on a raft set on fire – seems dramatic enough – but after seeing these ships…I’m going to modify that and demand, now, that I be buried in intricately carved ships along with copious goods and treasures, to be found in a thousand years and marveled over.

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After we finished drooling over Viking carvings and immaculate ships, we decided to walk from the museum to the edge of the peninsula which faces Oslo city. We bought an ice cream treat to share along the way, and talked about what it would be like to live in the houses that we passed (again, so incredible). It was a lovely, low key walk, and we ended up taking more public transportation directly back to downtown Oslo – this time a boat!

Since we left the dogs alone in the hotel room for the afternoon, they were good and annoyed when we returned. We took another stroll around the park that surrounds the Royal Palace and really thought about the fact that our shelter-rescued hound dogs from rural Virginia now use Palace lawns as personal….areas, if you know what I mean.

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I do so very much appreciate that park areas in Scandinavia are not only beautiful, historical places, but that people use them as well. Recreation, leisure, and children and pet activities are all taking place in the green spaces. Just be sure to show the proper respect and clean up after yourselves, but that should be a given. Walking around the Royal Palace I came to realize that Norwegian children are probably the cutest I’ve ever seen EVER, and that Norwegians are really very nice people – part of the joy of having dogs is sharing them with dog-lovers around you 🙂

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We left early the next morning, back to Sweden, but not without a couple wrong turns out of Oslo first (of course). It was a long drive back, and a very short trip, but I can understand why Oslo is regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit. The cost of things will surprise you (very expensive place!) and the language sounds like Swedish, but different (it was explained to us (by a Swede of course) that Norwegians speak the old norse language still because they haven’t evolved like Swedes have, har har har!). I hope to go back someday and explore more that the city has to offer, and we both hope to visit more of Norway in general, soon.

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