Explore Norway's Capital
31.12.2015 - 31.12.2015 -1 °C
Last day of 2015. What an eventful year it has been. We started the year travelling to South America and Antarctica - 66 degrees south and ended the year in Iceland, 66 degrees north.
My mother passed away in May; Phil became a grandfather for the second time in November and my son and his family started a new life as macadamia nut farmers at Belmore Creek, New South Wales.
The bathroom floor tiles in our room are heated. Very easy on the bare feet and SO easy to dry the washing - just lie it on the floor!
Had a lovely breakfast in the Atrium this morning and then headed over to the railway station to find someone of authority who could set our minds at ease about our train trip to Stockholm tomorrow. We found a very helpful chap who explained everything quite comprehensively and even walked us to the platforms from where the Swedish trains arrive and depart. The station is within easy walking distance from our hotel, even if you are dragging a big bag. We even mapped out a route that would keep our bags on reasonably smooth ground and not too many cobble stones, that wreck the wheels on the bags.
On the pavement outside the station, there are lots and lots of beautiful butterflies set into the concrete.
Also, a statue of a magnificent tiger. Not sure of the relevance of him.
We walked a couple of blocks and on our way to the Oslo Cathedral, we came across these little guys. Quite a few Norwegians still believe in trolls but the interesting thing is that a huge percentage of Icelanders believe in elves and their 13 Yule Lads. Fascinating.
Oslo Cathedral is lovely.
There were a few museums on the other side of the harbour that we wanted to visit so we had to negotiate the local bus system to get there and back. New Year's Eve here is quite different from Australia. Shops start closing at midday and there are not many restaurants open tonight either. We are lucky that our hotel is hosting a three course New Year's Eve dinner, commencing at 9 am.
So, making enquiries about the museums - some people said they were open and some said they were closed, but the Polar Ship FRAM museum was open and the Viking Ship Museum was closed. We decided to catch the bus out there anyway and if everything was closed, at least we had seen some of the outer suburbs of Oslo. Our bus tickets, for two seniors, cost $4 AUD.
We passed the Viking Ship Museum and it was open, but we stayed on the bus and hopped off at the Polar Ship FRAM Museum. We were very impressed with the museum. The ships FRAM and GJOA are displayed there and we walked all over the FRAM - up and down. We saw a couple of movies about Roald Amundson and Ernest Shackleton and their race to get to the north and south poles. Amundson used the FRAM to sail to Antarctica and he used the GJOA to discover the northwest passage. He discovered the northwest passage first and then headed for the south pole.
As Australians, we all know that Amundson beat Scott to the South Pole by 37 days and Shackleton never got to the South Pole, however he survived his ordeal miracously, against all odds. We visited Antarctica in the summer of 2015 and I find it so hard to comprehend why any of these explorers would subject themselves and their men to such an ordeal. The cold, the wind, the snow and the ice, not to mention ships getting caught in the ice and being crushed into a pile of rubble. They truly were magnificent men.
They were all searching for a way through the northwest passage, to make trading with the orient much easier and quicker. We were fascinated to hear about Thomas Button, a Welshman, trying to find the northwest passage from 1612 to 1613.
There was a film of the northern lights and I just had to take a couple of photos to remind me what we didn't see in Iceland.
Some famous Aussies with some very famous Arctic/Antarctic explorers.
We caught the bus back to town and noticed that out here in the suburbs, near the water, there are some stunningly huge homes. As we got closer to the city, the apartment blocks take over.
It has been very cloudy and overcast today and it was supposed to snow, but it didn't. We arrived back in the city at 3.30 pm and it was dark.
Had a rest and then dressed for our New Year's dinner at our hotel.
Entree - Lobster Salad served with truffle dressing, pine nuts, sultanas and pomme allumettes
Main - long time fried beef fillet served with pea cream, glazed oyster mushroom, black pepper saus and potatoes confit
Dessert - licorice mousse filled with lemon panna cotta, served with raspberry salsa, licorice and meringue
Happy New Year! Roll on 2016