We took the train from Stockholm to Oslo. One of our first stops was
the Oslo Opera House. It is meant to look like a glacier, snow and ice
and all that.
This is a shot of the interior of the atrium. We watched "Madam
Buttefly" in the main hall, but none of my pictures from the interior
turned out very sharp. Sorry.
The opera house looks pretty good at night, too. Note the gentleman playing with his shadow on the roof above the bright atrium.
Next, we walked to a hip district of Oslo. This is the museum of modern art in town.
Oslo also has a great museum covering their Viking heritage. This
museum contains three different viking ships, all of which were used in
burial rituals. The construction of the ships is impressive, but
perhaps most impressive to me is how small these ships are that some
brave seamen took all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. Wow.
Oslo also has what must be the ultimate sculpture garden in the world.
It's called Vigeland (or Frogner) Park; all the sculptures were created
by Gustav Vigeland, some in marble and some in bronze. The centerpiece
is this obelisk-like sculpture tower called the Monolith, with 121
figures struggling to reach the apex of the tower (the 121 number is
from Wikipedia). Some more of his sculptures are shown below.
After the glories of Oslo, we rented a car and drove west across Norway
towards Bergen. We drove on some small roads and through dozens of
kilometers of tunnels. We saw fjords and mountains and waterfalls. We
stopped in a small town on the way and took the Flam railway up into
the mountains. It stops for a view of this pretty waterfall.
Our next stop was Bergen, with its well preserved Hanseatic Merchant
district called Bryggen. The well preserved buildings of this district
all lean slightly forward, the result of the explosion of a Dutch
ammunition ship the Germans were using there in the harbor of Bergen
during WW II.
Some of the buildings are kind of showing their age (see the stairs above).
The little lanes / passageways between buildings are really beautiful.
Edvard Grieg, the composer, is a big deal in Bergen. I include this
picture here to point out the striking resemlence to Mark Twain...
We took a funicular railway to a hill above town (you can see part of
the tracks on the far right) and saw this beautiful overview of Bergen.
On the way back to Oslo , we drove through more beautiful scenery,
including this fjord with a spider-web of waterfalls on all sides.
On almost every farm we drove past, we saw these odd looking little
buildings with the cantilevered sides. After asking around a bit, we
figured out it is a storage shed.
Norweigan architecture has one distinct superstar, the Stave Kirche.
This is the largest one, about an hour outside Oslo, called Heddal
Stave Kirche, built about 1536.
Stave Kirche are built around massive wooden timbers called staves, and
are a similar style to the stone cathedrals being build elsewhere in
Europe in that era.
After the cruise was over, we over-nighted in Tromso, which is in the
northern part of Norway. It's best known building is the Arctic
Cathedral, shown here.
This is the Arctic Cathedral, as seen across the river from the downtown of Tromso.
Tromso has a good deal of modern architecture, including their new library.