europe,  norway,  travel

From medieval to modern – Day 6


It was another slow-going start, as D was eager to return to Tim Wendelboe for another taste of their coffee. We meandered our way down in time for them to open, and he had another double hit of coffee with an aeropress and a double espresso, which were both thoroughly delicious. Happily caffeinated, we headed off to catch a tram to see the Viking Ship Museum. No good trip to Norway would truly be complete without some kind of Viking fun. We took the tram down to the Central Station and transferred to a bus that would take us out to Bygdøy, a peninsula that houses several museums and parks. It was a lovely scenic bus ride through the the streets of Oslo, and it wasn’t long before we were there. The museum was quite austere, which did well to highlight their Viking ships. They were impressively large, dating back to the 800s. One of them, the Oseberg ship, was beautifully carved and was likely used for coastal journeys and ceremonial occasions (given how shallow the ship is). What was particularly interesting was that these ships were ultimately used as burials for prominent Viking men and women. D marveled that a ship would essentially be taken out of commission and sunk for a single burial. We wandered our way through the museum and had a look at some of the artifacts they uncovered on the boats, including ornately-carved sleds, cooking equipment and chests.

Satisfied with our fill of Vikingdom, we went off to grab some lunch. I’d heard of an area of town called Aker Brygge that was supposed to have a food court of some kind, so we got off near that area to take a look. D made a quick pit stop for coffee, and we ventured down to the waterfront. We were pleasantly surprised to find a lively, hyper-modern area that reminded us of Yaletown in Vancouver and the Pearl District in Portland, which is appropriate since Aker Brygge was originally a shipyard, much like Yaletown and the Pearl were industrial districts back in the day. The boardwalk was packed full of stroller-wheeling, dog-walking folk, out basking in the sun. I was getting quite hungry at the point, so I grabbed a little waffle with jam from one of the stands on the boardwalk and scarfed it down before we continued on. Given the deliciousness of our meal at Fiskeriet from yesterday, we thought we’d have it again; however, after a quick tram ride, we soon discovered, being Sunday, that it was closed.

I had started to feel like I was coming down with something and my energy level was waning. We ducked into a McDonald’s for a cheap bite and commandeered their wifi for a bit to get warm and decide on our next move. We toyed with the idea of heading back early, but ultimately, I mustered up enough energy to take a look at one last attraction: Akershus Fortress. I’m not one to easily pass on a medieval castle. Built in the 1300s, it was originally built to protect Oslo and has never actually been taken captured by a foreign enemy. The interiors were this great blend of austerity and opulence, with the starkness of plain wood floors and stone against finely embroidered furniture and elaborate gilded frames. We saw some impressively long swords and battle axes and a goodly number of expansive halls before we headed out to explore the grounds. Atop the battlements afforded a nice view of the harbour and across to Aker Brygge. We wandered the grounds, admiring their little cannons and impressively high walls (which I declared to be lopsided, since I can’t seem to take a picture with the horizon level for my life). Pleased that we’d taken in at least some of the Oslo sights, we headed back to the apartment for a light dinner of bread and cheese and called it a night.

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