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City Map of Oslo.
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  Visiting Oslo in Norway  

This article and photos have been contributed by Snow Li of China*

This souvenir store in Oslo is guarded by two trolls. These mythical creatures, born with a long, crooked nose and having only 4 fingers and toes on each hand and foot, are omnipresent in Norwegian folklore.
Being a Chinese girl, my favourite place in the Scandinavian region is Stockholm, (seriously that city never sleeps) and my least favourite place is Copenhagen (way too quiet, not energetic at all) where I spent a whole month under an internship programme. Oslo is somewhere in between the two cities.
I spent a weekend in Oslo on 29-30 October 2011. It was already late autumn, a little bit cold, but not frizzing yet and there was a lot of fresh air.
The best way to see Oslo is from a Fjord Cruise, which is kind of common sense. Most of the cruises only run in summer and is closed at the end of October. I was lucky indeed to get on the last Fjord Cruise of the year! It was a Sunday afternoon, with sunshine, breeze from the sea, cuddling in warm and comfy blanket and there was a running commentary by a lovely young lady in English. But the only thing I could think of doing was to ENJOY the spectacular view. Doesn’t it look like a fairy-tale wonderland? It reminded me a lot of the classic fairy-tale happy endings where the prince and princess lived happily ever after, period. Oh! Wops! But I must wake up to reality. I am not a princess and I did not meet my Norwegian prince on this trip!
     Click on photo for a larger version.

An eye-catching sculpture in front of the Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret.

Backyard of the Maritime Museum. The unruffled waters is not a lake but the sea - and it’s still Oslo on the other side.

After seeing the numerous palaces everywhere in Scandinavia, I find them all the same, so this time I just took a glance from outside of Slottet, the Royal Palace in Oslo, and didn’t spend some time inside. However, I found the backyard of the Palace quite attractive, as it was almost fully covered by golden leaves, and the golden leaves continued to keep on falling whenever the wind came. There were many local residents and tourists walking by, with lovers holding hands. Indeed this is a nice area to take a walk, either with friends or just to enjoy some “inner peace”.
Talking about museums, the one I enjoyed the most is the National Gallery, although I was pissed off by some tourists who made a huge noise inside the gallery, which is supposed to be a quiet place. I felt like being buried in arts, and I wish I could die this way - buried in arts.

Main entrance to the National Gallery of Norway. You can find the principal works of Norway's foremost painter Edvard Munch here (the rest are to be found in the Munch Museum, also in Oslo).

Edvard Munch's Scream is worth $120 million. More.

Madonna (not the singer), another famous painting by Munch.
One hotel in Oslo that I can recommend is the Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret, which is just a couple of blocks away from the central station. What is unique about this hotel is that the breakfast and dinner (both of which are served buffet-style) are free. Yeah, there is no extra payment for breakfast or dinner in this hotel, and the food is quite good! Love the sculpture in front of the hotel (photo above)!
Note: The cheapest single room here costs around 100 euros (slightly over 200 euros for a double), reasonable perhaps in a city that, according to a CNN report in 2011, is the most expensive city in the world.
An interesting place to visit is the Nobel Peace Center. In fact the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway on 10 December every year (being the anniversary of Nobel's death) although the other Nobel prizes (in science, medicine or literature) are awarded in ceremonies held in Stockholm, Sweden.
Oslo is also active on the rock scene. There is the 4-day Oya rock festival in August every year which draws up to 60,000 people as well as the 4-day Norwegian Wood Music Festival in mid-June. Some of the artistes who have performed here include Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette.
One Norwegian who has gained world-wide renown is the playwright Henrik Ibsen, considered by some to be second only to Shakespeare. His home in Oslo, where he lived the last 11 years of his life, has been turned into the Ibsen Museum. The museum, fully restored in 2006 for the 100th anniversary of his death, is located at Henrik Ibsen's gate, next to the Royal Castle.

The Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo is a hommage to Thor Heyerdahl's remarkable expedition in 1947 when he and 5 companions left the harbour of Callao in Peru on a raft named "Kon-Tiki" that they had built and succeeded after 101 days in crossing the 8000 km to reach Polynesia.

Fallen leaves on the backyard of Slottet, the Royal Palace in Oslo.

Vigeland Museum, Oslo
  Vigeland Museum, Oslo
Vigeland Park, Oslo
  Vigeland Park, Oslo

  What's new in Oslo: The Ekeberg Sculpture Park  

  The park was open to the public on 26 September 2013. Some thirty sculptures are to be found there.
Bronze work by Tony Cragg at the Ekeberg Sculpture Park in Oslo
  Bronze work by Tony Cragg.
Marble work by Knut Steen at the Ekeberg Sculpture Park in Oslo
  Marble work by Knut Steen.

Useful Links For Oslo:
Official Travel Guide to Oslo
The Kon-Tiki Museum
The National Gallery
The Oslo Pass
The Munch Museum
The Vigeland Museum and Park
Nobel Peace Center
The Maritime Museum
The Viking Ship Museum

Tourists heading for the boats to take a Fjord Cruise, a Norwegian experience not to be missed. (Click on photo for larger version).

*Snow Li is an executive with the FLSmidth Machinery Industry in Qingdao, China.
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