Baltic Cruise: Oslo, Norway
Oslo was another surprising highlight, despite it being drizzling and grey (and at times full-on rain). We wandered into town with a Canadian couple that we met on a previous paid tour. Thankfully, we had decided to take public transportation to Vigeland Park in the morning, and this was what put Oslo on my list; I had not heard of Gustav Vigeland or the park prior to this, but it was the detailed expression of humanity in the art sculptures that amazed me (can you tell that by now, I tend to be drawn more into art than history?). In addition, the park’s flower gardens that had colorful blooms, which brightened up the gloomy skies. Because we went first thing, we managed to avoid the rain, and the loads of people on the bus tours which arrived as we were leaving.
I hadn’t planned on doing much on this stop, so after a stop at a Viking Museum (so packed with people!), we ventured into town and walked around and did some shopping, including picking up some Norwegian-famous Freia chocolate along the way, and sampling a cup of limited-edition Nespresso Flat White Over Ice coffees and purchasing a few sleeves as gifts.
On the walk back to the ship, we came upon two things that I might have been an interesting to explore had we known about it, and had we have had more time:
- The Nordic Bible Museum – the fact that there’s a Bible museum is already kind of intriguing in itself; part of me wonders how much is actually interesting, and the other part wonders how much is gimmicky. Not sure if I’d pay to go inside, but it was an interesting discovery nevertheless.
- Akershus Fortress – we didn’t have data on our phones, so we relied on Google Maps to direct us back to the ship. Well, the map directed us back to the ship alright, but first through an adult-sized swing set (which I thought was really cool, but now I can’t find it on the map!) and then through this fortress. It felt a little bit like an old town, with its cobblestone, and stone walls, and it would’ve been nice to appreciate it more had we more time. This fortress did its job by containing us in – it felt like a maze! We circled its entirety, trying to find our way out, which brings us to the second “we will miss our ship” scare. Granted, the map did take us to an exit point within the fortress, but it was closed; I saw some other people and asked them if they knew how to get out, and they confidently directed us in the wrong direction because they too thought they knew where they were going (j.w later asks me why I would ask another tourist). Had we been able to jump off the walls of the fortress, or jump across the waters onto the ship, we would’ve made it. Thankfully, we made it back with some time left to spare as tour groups were just getting back as we were.
Oslo was our last stop before circling back to Copenhagen again, and despite the mini-panic, it was a nice final port stop. As we departed the region, the ship glided past some fishing villages and through the Oslofjord, passing by some islands of history and families out for a hike or a swim (young boys in their underwears!) along the way.
Phew, this series took almost 10 months to document, but I’m glad that I finally have it down! – oh wait, I almost forgot about the layover whirlwind stop.
Next stop: Golden Circle, Iceland