Monday, September 29, 2008

Oslo Misc 08-30-08

As some of you know, Andy and I visited Oslo at the end of last month. While we had a good time, it wasn't due to Oslo, so I haven't really been geared up about posting photos from the trip. Now that it's been a month, I'm feeling better about the trip, and the photos make it look like a great place! Why Oslo isn't great: there's nothing of real interest besides the sculpture park (which is very cool), everything costs at least twice as much as it does in the US, not everything is worth half it's price and finally, Bilbao was cheaper, more interesting and just as beautiful. That being said, I wouldn't mind going back to Norway for hiking - it's a beautiful country, and I understand that the coastal areas are absolutely breathtaking. It might look like Oslo is on the coast from our photos, but if you check out a map, it's on a bay pretty far inside the country. If you look at the photos of the water, you'll notice that they look more like a lake on a calm day than the ocean - that's because the only waves were wakes, and it's not the ocean. =)

Now to business. The photos here are just a bunch that didn't quite fit into other categories, but they're all from our first full day in Oslo. I don't remember exactly what building the photos below were in front of, but the building will be included in the architecture post. 0=) I recommend that you click on the third one, simply because it's kind of neat, and it gets lost in a small photo.

I made poor Andy take a picture of this silly wall of stuff, so I felt like I had to include it. It's not very exciting is it? The other two are from the downtown shopping area where we ate TGIF and enjoyed some pretty decent hamburgers and free refills (the cokes are more expensive, but you only get one 8oz glass all over Europe! insanity!).

I've been known to get a bit seasick from time to time, so I convinced Andy and Peter to let me sit on the side of the boat for the bay tour. This is me pretending to puke (in my own lap, no less!). I didn't get sick and quickly felt a little bad about insisting on the outer seat since the water was so smooth. There are more photos from the tour, but they're elsewhere.

One interesting thing we learned is that on two of the islands there are these little houses, and they can only be painted yellow, red or blue on one island and green, or ummm, two of the other colors, which I have now forgotten on the other. Their sizes are also regulated - originally houses were not allowed on either island, so people would bring out their camping stuff, marking off their territory. Then in order to protect their stuff, they built shelters without walls, and eventually added walls, so they weren't TECHNICALLY building houses, but that's what they become, and now their sizes are regulated.

Our last stop before dinner was the opera house - a great, white, pointy edged edifice that's supposed to look like a glacier. I'll give it a giant iceberg. There are photos from a distance in the architecture page. It turned out that the surface was slightly sparkly (don't ask me why), so it was VERY bright on top, but we hiked up it, took some pictures, and walked back down. That's Peter, Andy's friend who was doing research in Oslo for the summer. He's smart, though - he's going home at the end of the summer. ;)

After the opera house, as I've said, we went to dinner and had one of the best meals since Spain. There are a number of restaurants lining a section of the bay near the municipal (?) building, but most look somewhat touristy or kitschy, so we kept walking, and finally turned a corner to find a little, out of the way place (but not a hole in the wall, which rarely ever serve good food). Andy's mussels (oysters, clams? I have no idea) were excellent, as were my skewered shrimp, though plain white rice is generally not my thing... That meal was almost worth the price we paid. ;D

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