Our time in Norway until now has been spent on the west coast so it was time to head east to Oslo (and ultimately Sweden). We decided to split the journey in two and stopped in Seljord after 200+ miles of twisty, windy and sometime narrow mountainous roads. Our campsite looked over a beautiful lake, believed to be the home of Selma, a snake-like monster similar to Nessy! Sadly Selma was nowhere to be seen that night, however we did witness a lovely sunset over the water.
After a leisurely start we were back on the road, this time stopping to check out the infamous stave church at Heddal. It’s a very impressive structure, if a little oppressive and imposing, especially as it dates back to the 13th century. Back in the BFG we made a beeline for Oslo and our first major city for nearly a week…
We were up early to catch the bus into the centre with a plan to visit the opera house, cathedral and fort. The cathedral was up first – a lovely old building with a very decorative painted ceiling, but nothing to blow you away – before we headed in the direction of the fort. We had a look at their impressive visitors centre, learning about the forts history from the 13th century right up to WWII, before wandering around the grounds. From there we headed over to the opera house; an amazing semi-submerged building, with a sloping white granite roof you can walk up and an eye-catching wooden interior. We headed up to the top of the roof to admire the views, however they weren’t quite what we expected! On one side a busy industrial dock-side, on another side the redevelopment of a pedestrianised area and behind they were digging up the main road with five out of place tower-blocks forming a rather dismal backdrop. A bit of a let down, especially given Scandinavia’s reputation for design, so we ploughed onwards to the sculpture park.
We jumped onto a tram (after a false start at an out-of-use stop) to the park and strolled along the various paths in the sunshine admiring the incredible pieces, before heading over to the city museum to find it was closed for a private function!
We decided to wander back into the centre as the tram had taken us through a nice looking neighbourhood and were pleasantly surprised by the architecture, cafes and gardens compared to this morning! Back in the centre we checked out a contemporary art gallery, getting inspiration for future travel photos, before having a mooch around the rather posh dock-side complete with fancy restaurants and rude looking sculptures!
Our conclusion? A city of two halves.
For anyone visiting we’d say check out the main attractions in the centre, but definitely head west to the Vigeland sculpture park and walk back to the Tjuvholmen dock to get a better view of the city. Maybe it was the grey clouds in the morning or the redevelopment all around us, but it wasn’t the dynamic, interesting and engaging city we were expecting.