We all slept in a bit later than normal today, probably to recharge after the trip to Kragerø. After waking up at around 10:30 AM, I sat on the balcony to catch up on news in the US and was joined later by Anders. We ended up watching some videos by Ylvis, who are famous for their ‘What Does the Fox Say?’ video. They are a hidden camera comedy group as well as comedic song writers. I was in stitches watching some of these videos — especially a video where they block off rooms at IKEA where shoppers have entered, only to be confused and unable to leave.
After that, we deemed it necessary to visit a couple of cool locations in Oslo. My grandfather would be happy to know that I was up close and personal with three Viking ships today. These things are MASSIVE!
For perspective, I’m around 6' 6". I wasn’t prepared for this photo, so I look somewhat underwhelmed, when in reality, I was blown away by the intricate detailing on the ships along with their sheer size. The history books don’t tell you how large these ships were. Marte and I discussed how intimidating it must have been for a village to see a Viking ship with full sail approaching on the skyline.
It took around 100 men to man the oars on a single ship.
Each of the ships on display were used in burials for important people. The most intricate ship was the burial place for two important Viking women — one that was in her 80s and another that was in her 20s based on bone analysis. The skeletons of both women were on display at the museum, but I did not take pictures out of respect for the dead. There was also a skeleton of a man that was buried in the ship above. Based on his bones, he was a very tall and sturdy man that seemed to die as a result of being attacked by two people. He had stab wounds and lacerations on his bones, and the number of these indicated that he must have been attacked by more than one person. Also, there is no evidence of the body healing any of these wounds, so it seems he died right away as a result.
Once we left the Viking museum, we passed by Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s home as well as Skaugum (the royal farm). I wasn’t fast enough to capture a good photo of either, so these will have to suffice.
The home was heavily guarded by Norwegian military. The farm didn’t seem as heavily guarded, and was adorned with King Olav V’s insignia since he was the original owner.
Next, we headed to Holmenkollbakken, a famous ski jump hill that can be seen from almost any location in the city, as it resides atop a large hilltop.
Along the same route, there are some amazing views of the city. Also, I look a bit happier in this photo.
Next, it was time for lunch, so we visited a famous hotel along the hilltop, but it was closed. However, I took a picture of some local wildlife for my mom.
We finally made it to a restaurant nearby that was open and specialized in pizza. I opted for the reindeer and lingonberry pizza. It was delicious!
And you couldn’t beat the view from our table! If you look closely on the right, you can see the ski jump.
Finally, we stopped by a kolonihagen, which is a really cool concept. Basically, in the early 1900s, the Norwegian government set up housing for those that were too poor to afford a home of their own. Since then, these very small homes have become a place where you can buy the right to live there as long as you plant and maintain a certain amount of fruits and vegetables, and you adhere to basic rules for keeping the area in good shape since the land still belongs to the city of Oslo. You also must have a home in Oslo. The homes can be passed down to a child, but can also be given back, or sold, to people on a waiting list to purchase one of these homes for themselves. The maximum price is 250,000 kr (kroner), which is about $30,000. Not a bad deal! Most folks will use these small homes as a summer home and close them up in the winter. The first thing I noticed were the cherry trees — almost every other home had a cherry tree planted. And the yards were maintained better than most country clubs.
Marte and Anders are on the waiting list for one of these homes. Here they are inspecting their future summer home. By the way, Anders is wearing a Detroit Tigers cap! Eat ‘em up, Tigers — eat ‘em up!
One more picture, for good measure. Do you see the cherry tree?
Now we are back home and plan on having a relaxing movie night, where I will experience a famous Norwegian movie called Max Manus: Man of War.
As the day grows closer to Candice’s arrival, I’m getting more and more excited to show her around this incredible country. The people are wonderful and the land is stunning — she will love it here! Our plans are starting to come together for our trip to the west coast to visit my ancestors’ homeland, so I’m getting very excited. This all seems very surreal to me.
I miss everyone back home — hello to Candice, Mom, Dad, Maja, Faja, Grandma, Grandpa, Brett, Cassie, and Jon! Don’t worry Grandma — I’m eating well and getting plenty of green vegetables. Grandpa — you were right, the sild is delicious!