Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday June 28 - Oslo

I tried some Norwegian brown cheese at breakfast this morning.  The milk is boiled until the sugar caramelizes.  It tastes like salty fudge.  Evidently an acquired taste.

Oslo is one of the most screwed up cities I have come across in Europe.  The transit system is in a state of chaos because of road closures, the various maps available conflict with each other, there is no information available - even in Norwegian.  Even the transit Gestapo, who go around in platoons of six, do not know what is happening.  I pointed out that the tram stop was barricaded off and they just smiled and said "Sorry, I don't know".  The only city that is worse is London - and even London Transport plans your travel chaos.  On top of this, there is extensive construction, reconstruction and renovation going on.  The royal palace is half covered in plastic and the national gallery is completely covered although they have painted a nice picture of what the entrance looks like.  We have to take a bus for the first part of our journey on Saturday and the Airport Express train has been replaced by a bus.  If I had realized the place was so badly f----d up I most certainly wouldn't have come.

There is a very strong police and security presence here.  We have seen more police in one day than we have seen in the rest of our time in Scandinavia.

We took a bus down to the ferry terminal (should have been a tram) to look around.  It is an upscale, trendy area now - many warehouses converted to shops and restaurants.  City hall, is a large brutish, brick building - it is better from the inside by all accounts.  We took a tram to Frognor Park to admire the many statues by Gustav Vigeland.  Each one is nude, each one is different and many are amusing - the unhappy child that is crying, the man trying to get rid of an infestation of babies.
The unhappy child

An infestation of babies

The expression on the man's face is thought provoking
 A short tram ride took us to Majorstuen where we found a high class cheese shop called Fromagerie.  There were many French cheeses, including Pyreneean sheep cheese.  The number 12 tram morphes into the 19 tram here and it took us back into town.  We got off at the National Theatre but were disappointed to find the Royal Palace was only partially visible so we wandered back into town.  The parliament building is not very imposing but the cathedral is quite pleasant inside.

We used the bus to take us back to the ferry terminal, Aker Brugge (Bryggetorget means ferry square) and caught the number 91 ferry to Bygdoy the island which has a number of museums.  There was a good climb up away from the pier and then we were quickly in the country.  Rather than visit museums we thought we would like to see an old stave church.  However, this turned out to be in the open air museum.  Having been to two similar ones in Odense and Stockholm we didn't want to visit a third.  In any case this was a good walk in the country back to the second ferry terminal on the island. 
A Pepto Bismol boat
The ferry
We had a good meal for our 22nd wedding anniversary.  Mary started with an excellent fish soup then had baked cod in a lobster sauce.  I started with foie gras then had whale wrapped in bacon with potatoes and mushrooms.  The whalemeat was quite dark and finely textured - like a piece of beef or venison.  It was all very good, well prepared and the service was good.  We ate outside and the wind picked up a little.  However, the canvas roof was rolled down and the somewhat noisy heater warmed things up considerably.
Whale meat is found only in Japan and Norway.

No comments:

Post a Comment