Yesterday we went to the market to get some fresh veggies and fruit- the stand had an indoor part with all these great foods from around the world (none from America though…). It was a bit cheaper than the grocery store, but it was PACKED. Lots and lots of people. Afterwards, I got myself equipped with a Norwegian cell phone and then purchased my first six-pack of beer! No need to wait until you’re 21 here…. Although I got the cheapest brand, it tasted as sweet as ever, because I’m the one who bought it!
Today, Maria and I went downtown. We checked out all the main tourist attractions- Slottet (Where the King and Queen live), the National Theater, and the Opera house. Walking around, there was a jazz band playing in the street with dancers all around them- apparently it was in preparation for the Oslo Jazz Festival. As we were walking around to the Opera house, we got a free mini concert by the orchestra- they have open-air rehearsals! After downtown, we went to the Munch Museum, which was awesome. I didn’t know too much about him, and they did a great job with the museum.
Today Maria, Ola, and I toured the city. Ola is a Polish girl that lives downstairs from us. We decided to take some ferries around and explore the Oslofjord. What a beautiful place! We stopped at a few islands to walk around, take some pictures, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The houses there are adorable- all painted the same shades of red, blue, yellow, and green. It’s quite apparent that nature is very important to the Norwegians. One of the islands we visited was Hovedoya- the home of the Cistercian monastery, Hovedoya Abbey. There isn’t much left, but the stone walls that once stood tall made for some great climbing. (Although later we discovered a no climbing sign tucked in a corner- oops!) After a quick coffee and look-through of an art gallery that was on the island- we made the ferry ride back to the mainland. We then walked to another port where the ferries took us to the Viking Ship museum as well as the Maritime museum (both of which we did not venture into….not really our thing). We walked around the area a little bit and decided that the people around there must be very wealthy; all the houses were gated and looked like there was at least a staff of 6 running each place.
Ola went home at that point and Maria and I went to go shopping. A little known fact about Oslo is that despite it being a large, urban city, most shops are closed on Sundays. Crazy, right? We thought so too. So since shopping was out, we got a quick bite to eat and headed to Vigeland Sculpture park- a magnificent displace of Gustav Vigeland’s work. All of his sculptures revolved around a common theme of family- from birth to death. It included mother to mother, father to father, father and child, mother and father, etc. They were amazing! Being the largest park in Oslo, it certainly was a masterpiece.
We then took the tram back to the central station where we walked to the Opera house for a free concert demonstrating little bits of what the upcoming season had to offer. After sitting in the rain for about 30 minutes waiting for the concert to start, they decided to let everyone come inside. It was wonderful! Built only in 2007, the architecture is wonderfully modern and Norwegian. With the simple lines and beautiful wood, it was very elegant. The concert was fabulous! The tickets are only about 100 Nkr (~$17) for the in-season performances, so Maria and I will definitely be attending some Operas and Ballets this semester.
After a long day out and about, we took the number 5 metro home and changed into some warm clothes and put the water on for some evening tea. Tomorrow will be another busy day, but it will be a day of new people! It’s the first day of Buddy Week, a time for getting to know the people you’ll be attending school with! Let the festivities begin!