Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Norwegian Experience: Day 2

Sorry about the missed post yesterday, but by the time Judy and I were able to chat it was the end of the day. However, that means today will be a two-fer because I'm posting yesterday's activities right now and later today I'll hopefully have more updates to share about today's trip to the Hadeland Glassworks. I can't wait to hear all about it, but in the meantime here's a recap of her activities yesterday.

Tuesday started off with a light breakfast at the Hotel Continental, after which Judy and her guest were picked up by a private car and taken on a guided tour of the city. Over the next four hours their tour guide, Lisbeth Linbach, showed them some of the best sights Oslo has to offer. First they went back to the harbor, this time touring the east side and gazing at the opulant private yachts in their moorings.

From there, the motor-tour took our Norwegian Experience winner down to Akershus fortress, the castle originally built in response to an assault from Earl Alv Erlingsson of Sarpsborg in the late 13th century and designed to protect Oslo from further attacks. From there it was on to Oslo City Hall, which is, among other things, home of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Next, Judy's guide took them into an area called Gamle Oslo, which means "Old Oslo". Old is no misnomer, either--in times when present Oslo was named Christiania, this area was called Oslo. The area has a number of points of interest. It's the home of the Edvard Munch Museum and Oslofjord.

From there Judy and her guide made their way to the Oslo Opera House, the Old Seaman's School and Vigeland Park. Judy and her guest made their way through the park on foot, spending time being amazed by the world famous sculptures. When I asked Judy about her favorite she thought out loud about a number of sculptures, including the Angry Baby, the Bridge and the Main Gate. In the end she told me her favorite was tied between the Fountain and the Monolith. Judy followed this up by telling me "the size of these sculptures is so impressive! It's really hard to imagine one person could do so much in 14 years. I mean, I know he had assistants and craftsmen to create the final sculptures, but he created each one himself, first."

After Vigeland Park, the only thing left for the morning was to visit the Vikingskipshuset (Viking Ship Museum). From everything I've heard it's an amazing place and a must-see for anyone traveling in Norway. It's claim to fame is that, as its name indicates, the museum houses three ancient Viking ships, found in archealogical excavations. The Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune ships, all found in burial mounds in Norway, are on display for visitors to take a trip back into distant history.

Did I mention that Judy and her guest did all this before lunch? A couple of hard chargers, I tell ya.

Anyhow, after lunch it was on to the Nobel Peace Center where Judy discovered something that I find to be exceptionally cool: an interactive book with projected illumination. Check out a vide of it here (middle video). Actually all the videos are great because they show how technology is being used to inform and educate in a whole new way. According to the website, the Nobel Peace Center officially opened on 11 June 2005, as part of the celebrations to mark Norway's centenary as an independent country. Since then, the Nobel Peace Center has been educating, inspiring and entertaining its visitors through exhibitions, activities, lectures and cultural events. The Center is financed by private and public institutions and its main sponsors are Telenor, Hydro, Orkla and Yara.

Judy had a full day, I think! She ended her day with a scrumptuous dinner at the Theatercafeen, one of the amazing restaurants in the Hotel Continental. A full day indeed.

Ok, so that was day 2--I'll hopefully have an update from today's trip to Hadeland later this afternoon. Check back for more!

The Norwegian Experience Recruitment Contest is a joint venture between Sons of Norway International and its partner Borton Overseas. The contest is open to all Sons of Norway members who sign up a new, dues-paying member between January 1 and December 31, 2009. A winner will be drawn at random in January of 2010. For more information about this year's contest, visit or click here.

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