The witching hours pre-dawn at Heathrow are amazingly different than just 8pm at the very same place…it was an absolute zoo then, and an empty desert now! For anyone following along, I did get to the Windsor Castle Pub in Notting Hill, and my second-best batch of cider, the March 24th batch I brought for Teje and brought some small bottles for myself, is in my opinion BETTER than the Addlestones cloudy cider it was inspired by! Granted, my first memory of Addlestones was sweeter than tonight, so it could be the differences in batches, but I’ll call that a success for Brittahytta Brewery!
28 Hours in Oslo
I had set my alarm, so I actually got up BEFORE Teje on Friday morning, to be sure I’d be completely packed plus presentable to the public for my day in the city. Tobias was going to sleep in, load our luggage, including my 3 heavy bags, into the car, then drive to Oslo, meeting up with some of his friends, since this is the only vacation time he gets this whole year. I was thankful not to have to carry around my own luggage while sightseeing all day!
Since Bygdøy was the farthest afield, we took the bus from Sarpsborg to Oslo, then bought a 24-hour pass which was good for the local ferries, busses & subway, the jumped on the ferry to Bygdøy across the fjord for the Kon-Tiki museum, the Viking ship museum and the Norwegian Folkmuseum. I decided to skip the maritime museum in favor of all the authentic houses from all over Norway in the folk museum, and I’m glad I did. It was drizzling already on our boat ride over, making Teje complain about the weather for my sake, but having a baby in a stroller with us was almost as good as having a friend on crutches with us for standing in line…haha! 😉 We spent about an hour in the Kon-Tiki museum. I knew there was more than one voyage after Kon-Tiki, but not all the details, nor the work Thor Heyerdahl did on Easter Island later in his career, so it was very interesting. With an ice cream each to accompany us, we walked around the harbor to the other two museums, starting with the Viking ship museum. Very impressively large ships and beautiful curves! I tried to take photos of the photos of how they were originally found in the clay soil in Oslo before excavation, and it’s even more amazing to me that so much survived for a thousand years! Amazing how many woven and embroidered textiles survived as well. So much of the detail work whether metal, wood or textiles was so impressive that anyone would take the time to do such good work with much more primitive tools. Maybe I get my rabidly detailed artistic tendencies from my Viking heritage? 😉
The Norwegian Folkemuseum was great. Teje hadn’t seen it all before either, and it had turned out to be an absolutely beautiful afternoon almost to the point of being hot. The summer schedule of events showed not only a Telemark wedding dance using a Hardanger fiddle with extra resonant strings, and Teje comes from Telemark herself, but also a lefse baking demonstration! I photographed that copiously, even though it was the Hardanger lefse with flour, not potatoes…it was still very cool to see them rolling them out with the grooved rolling pin, and using lefse sticks on a griddle in an open hearth to bake the lefse. I could see it was very thick, so I didn’t spend 20 NOK on trying to eat a piece since I have bought plenty of lefse examples that are currently packed in my luggage… 😉 I took WAY too many photos of all the old houses, furniture and details, some for my mom & some for me. She loves rosemaling and painted furniture, and the cauldrons and cool doors are for me. Well, the house with the turquoise doors & windows was also for me. 😉 Since I had no time to see the one in Bergen on the way to Grieg’s house, plus that one has been completely rebuilt after a fire anyway, I finally saw my first wooden stave church at the museum. It was beautifully carved, and extra bonus that I had blue sky & clouds behind it…then extra bonus again that a guide in costume came strolling by… After I waited forever for enough tourists to move to get my best shot, I went inside and took detail photos. I was surprised that the rust on the metal hinges and locks would make them blend into the reddish wood color, making it more tone-on-tone, but richly textured, like even more carving. The lectern is a carved Lord’s Prayer from 1574, and the church is from the 1300s or so, but moved piece by piece to the museum location to preserve it.
We were still strolling around the outside museum, not even going inside to any exhibits yet, when we found out Tobias & his friends invited us to dinner at 7pm back in town, so we had to rush to make the ferry back in time to make it there. We popped into the “doll’s house” which was more a house about children’s toys than a dollhouse like I thought but still interesting. That led to an exhibit on the Sami culture, what used to be known as Laplanders, which was also interesting, then we HAD to go! We got our money’s worth with still lots left to see! I stood up in the back to try to get some open air photos, then past the parliament building again on our way to the bus then we were at dinner early. Just as well since I needed the toilet and Sixten was hungry, so Teje got the chance to feed him again before dinner. The dinner at Kampen Bistro was tasty, the menu changes every night, but I can’t say I like rhubarb & chocolate together, since the dessert was a bit odd for me, and I honestly ended up eating it in shifts, with the lemon sorbet with the rhubarb, then the pannacotta with the chocolate.
After dinner was the search for a hotel. Since none of the relatives had space for more than one person due to remodeling & Tobias was able to stay with his sister, Teje & I were looking for a hotel, and she was confident we’d find one without calling ahead. Since our luggage had been dropped off at the pub since Tobias’s sister runs it, we tried the closest one to the pub which was my previous hotel but they were full. They recommended the Comfort Hotel much closer to the train station, and luckily they had a double room with separate beds so I didn’t have to worry about rolling over on Sixten! We headed back to the pub where Tobias fetched me a Bulmers cider while so many of the pub staff and patrons fawned over Sixten. It’s so cute to see such proud parents, both Teje and Tobias. He was beaming the whole time showing off his little son. Tobias couldn’t let us manage the luggage by ourselves since he was too gentlemanly for that, so I lucked out! We were so tired we just went to sleep as soon as we could, and I didn’t even turn on my computer…will wonders never cease? 😉
We got up before 9am, got ourselves ready for breakfast just before 10, thinking it was cloudy enough for jeans, grabbed the hotel breakfast, then were out on the subway in the tail end of our 24 hour pass out to Vigeland Park where all the famous statues are. It was impressive, and I liked how so many ages and body types were represented, even though only Nordic, but honestly, must EVERY tourist grab the little naked stone boy’s weenie? It’s not THAT funnny… *sigh* Sixten left his mark on the statuary steps by barfing after another feeding session, so he’s been a good little tourist himself. 😉 I was already wishing I’d worn less clothes since it was so warm in the sun! At least it was very nice in the shade. After Vigeland Park Teje wanted to show me a pub, but it was closed for summer until 4pm everyday…darn! It was Old Major’s Pub Lab on Bogstadveien, all in mad scientist lab decor, include werewolves in the bathrooms, so I’m sorry I missed going inside! I took as many photos through the windows as I could!
To save time, we used Teje’s last two single ride passes to catch the subway over to the Royal Palace, then past the old university and to Hard Rock Cafe. Lucky for me I didn’t visit Oslo until now since they just barely got a Hard Rock Cafe last year! haha… I really need to build a nice display cabinet for my shot glass collection! On our way to the fortress, we passed some rock sculptures that were just begging to be a photo opportunity, then we were at Askershus Festning. We saw the army band’s truck, then heard a little bit, then when we came through the front archway we heard them rehearsing with some operatic vocalists, and they were all quite good. We kept on, taking photos showing that Sarah Winchester wasn’t the only person who made doors to nowhere several stories up the wall, and we could actually pay to tour the inside of the castle, which Teje hadn’t seen before either, so we decided my last hour of sightseeing was well-spent seeing a castle! Thankfully photos were allowed, so of course I took too many. There was a lot of gilded leather furniture, very cool chests, and I’ve started trying to collect possible spooky portraits for Halloween, hence so many of those photos. Our timing was good, since we were trying to leave by 2pm, and we were heading out just as the main concert started, so I got to hear a little bit before we left. We met Tobias at a cafe nearby, and he insisted on being a gentleman again by going with us to the hotel, then helping me carry everything to the train station to see me off. He said “I don’t care what you think about Norwegians, but I can’t have you leave saying anything bad about Swedes!” haha…That’s one thing that hasn’t been distorted from coming to America: how much the Norwegians and the Swedes make fun of each other, even if they’re married.
P.S. from London
Thankfully the flight from Oslo was on time, it took me about an hour to wander through Heathrow finding where to park my luggage for the night, which is costing me 12 GBP for 2 bags, since there are no lockers, just a storage company, then plus the time on the Underground, it was 8:30pm before I reached the Windsor Castle Pub in Notting Hill for my Addlestones cider. I ordered dinner as well, and it had been raining but wasn’t at the time so I sat outside underneath the greenery and a light fixture, taking silly comparison photos of my cider vs. Addlestones. When it started raining and I was still bravely eating my sticky toffee pudding, a guy from the table next to me asked if I was staying dry. His name was Ryan, on his way home to Australia in the morning before coming back in a couple weeks for a job in Dublin…and they were saying I was the world traveler! Not only was his college having a reunion party at the pub, which included another Australian and his parents who I chatted with a bit too, but he was hanging out with his British friends, so quite a crowd. We moved inside, mostly standing since the pub was so full inside because of the rain. I showed them my empty cider bottle and they laughed as I expected. The pub closed down at 11pm on the dot as I said it would, even though they didn’t believe me (I know the neighborhood has made it hard for the pub to stay open later in previous years), so when they left, Ryan & I went to a club down the street for another drink, then I was too paranoid about missing the last train back to Heathrow if I stayed out too much later in town, so I excused myself and got on the train back to the airport where I loaded photos, wrote up the last couple days and bought wifi in Terminal 3.
There you go! Photos since the last update start at the bottom of the page here, and fair warning there are a lot! Except for the flight home which should be as uneventful as always, that’s the whole trip. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed my Scandinavian sortie!