Tag Archives: Oslo

Oslo’s Waterfront

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It was suggested to me that when in Oslo I should check out the city’s opera house. Thinking it wouldn’t interest me I decided I would pass on it, but I happened by it when walking elsewhere and decided to check it out and it was actually pretty cool. It has a roof with all sorts of slants and angles, running right down into the water, that you can walk all over. It’s neat and offers a good view of downtown Oslo and Oslofjorden. After checking that out, I went over to Akerhus Fortress which is a medieval castle (construction started around 1290 according to Wikipedia) that was later renovated to be used as a military fort. Currently it’s used a museum and it is situated next to the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, explaining the guard with an assault rifle in the one picture. I also passed by the Noble Peace Centre.

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The King’s Garden

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When Tim took me on a bit of a walking tour through Oslo one of the notable sites we went through was the King’s Garden, a fenced in garden area behind the royal palace. Supposedly only open to the public at certain times I guessed I lucked out because it was open and I was able to go through both times I went by there. Even though I think monarchies (even constitutional ones) are ridiculous and a manicured park isn’t as nice to me as a truly natural environment, I appreciate good green spaces in urban environments. Oslo seems to have a lot of greenery and nice parks which I think is important for the health and happiness of it’s inhabitants and probably makes for an overall more sustainable city. I was really bothered by the lack of green space in some of the cities in southern Europe, as much as I like cities for the culture they provide I can’t imagine living without an escape from them and good parks offer a a way to feel like you’ve gotten back to nature a little if you don’t have the opportunity to actually get out. Later in the day after taking these pictures I went to a vegetarian restaurant called Vega (I think) and had all-you-can-eat vegan buffet for 99 kroner. Almost everything was vegan and I ate way too much, remembering why I avoid all-you-can-eat. So here are some pictures of the royal palace, the garden, and a couple nearby streets.

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Vigeland Sculpture Park (Frogner Park)

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Today I’ll start posting my pictures from Oslo, broken into a few different posts. I really liked the city of Oslo. Being the largest city in Norway and the capital gives it an urban an cosmopolitan feel but since it is quite small (the greater Oslo area being only about 800,000 I was told) it has a sort of quaint small city feel, I’ve read in travel guides that people say one of the best things about the city is how easily you can leave it and be out in the forests and hills. Th small size also makes almost everything within a reasonable walking distance. One thing I’ve always disliked about Toronto is how it’s surrounded by suburbs, meaning to get out of the urban/sub-urban areas you have travel quite far, most likely by car. Also, I didn’t feel like anywhere I went was really touristy there, which was a nice change from some of the places I had been. The city is attractive and everything seems very clean, well-maintained and efficiently run. And out of everywhere in Europe Norwegians are probably the most polite drivers as well as being the most proficient in English (everyone seems to speak it fluently, similar to the rest of Scandinavia). On the downside everything is really expensive, if you live there it would be a worthy trade-off for their high wages, generous social security system and overall high standard of living, but as a tourist it hurts.

This group of pictures is from the Vigeland Sculpture Park, contained within Frogner Park, both being free public parks. The sculptures are the work of Gustav Vigeland who also designed the layout of the sculpture park. Frogner Park is older and was layout by someone else. As well, on one of the hills visible from the park one can see a quintessential Norwegian sports culture… Oslo’s ski jump.

On a side note, it is also sad to hear about an untimely and horrific loss of life, but I think the recent shooting and bombing in Oslo is doubly sad because it happened in a place that I think is generally seen as an example for the rest of the world to follow. It also hits closer to home because I have friends that live there, and I myself was there not that long ago.

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Picnic V.2

On the subject of picnics, one of the many I had when i was on my trip was at the Oslo’s botanical gardens. It was really nice there, it was a nice day, and I took some pictures. I could see myself going there often to relax if I lived in Oslo despite the fact I got kicked out of my first picnic spot (there are designated areas).

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Greetings and Salutations

Hello reader(s), welcome to my blog. As an alternative to posting the pictures from my trip to Europe on facebook en masse, I have decided to post them on a blog individually, or in small groups, along with a short story to go with it. So if you come to my blog every now and again you can see some new pictures from the trip, and an explanation of what you’re are seeing, or a story from the trip, or something like that. Along with pictures from my trip I will also be posting about what I get up to at home, which right now isn’t much so you can expect a lot of food-related posts, as well as just anything I think is important that I want to post. Because food will be an ongoing theme of the blog when trip picture well runs dry, I will start with a post relating to both.

This is a meal I had in Athens: tomato and pepper stuffed with rice, cooked with potatoes, and some bread on the side. It was from some restaurant near the Akropolis on small twisted street, just off of the main tourist area that I don’t know the name of. It is common in Greece for restaurant owners to stand in the street and talk to people trying to get them to come in, it can be annoying at times when you just want to walk down the street, but the guy at this place seemed nice. He told me about how he had lived in Vancouver and Kenora. After telling him I wasn’t hungry, I said I would come back the next night and he seemed pleased when I actually did. After the meal he had a waiter bring me out some candies that he said were for “his Canadian friend.” I appreciated having some good conversations with locals like that. I also appreciated a good meal, most of the time in Greece I either got cheap vegetable pies or made meals of bread and some fruit (or at times just one of those two).

This next picture is at Tim and Rebekka’s apartment in Oslo. After being on the road for three weeks by myself, and living away from my friends when in Collingwood, I really appreciated staying with them. I think one of the best simple pleasures in life is a home-cooked meal with friends. I really like cooking and food, partly because it has so many dimensions, including a social one, we went to the store to buy ingredients together, cooked together, and then ate and cleaned up together. Eating from a common dish adds to the sense of communality, and slowly eating while conversing is a great way to spend an evening and appreciate your food. I also really liked this because for the most part I was not able to cook proper meals while on the road, something of home I missed. In case you were wondering what we are eating, it is ful medames (middle eastern fava bean dip, recipe here: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/07/ful-medames-fava-bean-dip.html), pitas, and a side salad.

The previous two pictures were from the start and end of the trip, and this one is from the homecoming, which is just always a great part of any trip, no matter how fun it is. I really missed making my own food while I was gone, and I also ate a lot of bread and looked forward to meals where the main component was not a loaf of bread by itself. I also really missed peanut butter, it was non-existent in the Mediterranean, and in central and northern Europe I could generally only find the sugary kind. I planned on having a lot of picnic lunches, but the lack of peanut butter and hummus that I would normally use for such a things was bothersome. Pictured here are Vietnamese-style fresh wraps and a peanut dipping sauce of my own concoction.

Stay tuned for more posts, and I promise they will not all be food related and you will get to see cool Europe stuff.

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