Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Our Baltic Cruise: Oslo, Norway


The Regal Princess sailed into our first port of call - Oslo, Norway - shortly after 10:00 on the misty, rainy morning of Wednesday, June 15th. We had registered for a combination boat tour of the harbor and visit to the Polar Expedition museum, so the weather was not particularly promising. But you pays your money and you takes your chances, and so we donned our rain gear, gritted our teeth, and headed out to board the good ship Lady Mack for our very wet tour.

You can see from this picture that the rain convinced most of the tour participants to remain aft, under the rain cover. The figure in the red raincoat is Agnes, bravely positioning herself to see what could be seen ...


The city is built on the mainland and on islands, and the architecture is very colorful, with bright yellow, blue, red, and green predominating. According to our guide, the color schemes are set by law on the various islands ... a form of zoning to keep the harbor colorful.




This church, built out into the harbor at the end of a long causeway, was intended to greet sailors returning from their time at sea ...


The harbor tour ended when the Lady Mack docked in front of the maritime museum complex*.


We visited the Fram Museum, dedicated to Norwegian polar expeditions and containing the actual vessel Fram, the first ship specifically designed for polar exploration and used by the famous Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen, and Otto Sverdrup. It was difficult to get good photos inside the museum, but here's the Fram in its display ...


The ship was open to visit, and we were able to walk through the entire vessel, marveling at how small groups of men (no women on the expeditions) could live for months at a time in such cramped and crowded quarters in arctic conditions. We could easily have spent at least a full day in the museum complex, which was filled with marvelous historical and hands-on displays like this one ...


... but we were driven by the time limits that required us to get back to our bus by a certain time.

We decided, since the rain had moderated a bit, to walk around the museum grounds. I liked this scene of small boats at a small dock ...


This photo shows statues of famous polar explorers in front of the museum ...


This was an unusual monument on the museum grounds ... there was no translation available of the inscription, but because it features a mine, I believe it was dedicated to sailors lost in World War I ...


From the Fram Museum, our bus returned us to the Regal Princess, but we still had several hours before the ship sailed, and we were docked right in front of the Akershus Fortress. We figured we wouldn't get much wetter than we already were, so we decided to hike up the hill and visit ...


Free admission was nice ...


A view up the hill toward the entrance ...


And a glimpse of the Regal Princess through one of the archways. You can see how steep the path up the hill is ...


The grounds of the fortress are dotted with a series of statues called "Silent Howlers" which were both realistic and somewhat unsettling ...




There were numerous other statues dotting the grounds. We spoke with a young woman who really didn't like this one, saying that it "creeped her out" ...


The castle is actually a military area, even though the grounds are open to the public. Agnes took a photo of this young woman standing guard in the rain ...


The fortress grounds were very interesting and beautiful, but it was difficult to get good pictures because of the large number of swarming tourists who kept getting in the way. We finally decided we'd seen everything there was to see, taken enough photos, and were as wet and cold as we were likely to get, so we swam walked back down the hill and returned to the Regal Princess.

We sailed out of the Oslo harbor just after 10:30 that evening ...


headed for a day at sea before our arrival at the harbor of Warnemünde, Germany and our visit to Berlin. That, however, is a topic for another day.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* Unfortunately, the tour did not include the famous Viking Ship Museum, which I'd visited on a brief visit to Oslo many years ago, and is well worth seeing if you have the opportunity.

5 comments:

KathyA said...

Beautiful!! What was the purpose of "The Howlers"? Was that a literal translation?

Mike said...

You have to wonder how many times the church at the end of the causeway has been rebuilt. It looks like storm fodder where it's at.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Great pix. The weather not so good from the looks of the photos but it looks like a beautiful city.
Glad you are home safe and sound. :-)

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Beautiful photos of Oslo. The Howlers pique my curiosity. And that mine is a bit jarring!

John Hill said...

Thanks for the tour!