Safe to say I didn't really sleep at all on the plane. Still fairly with it. The plane did arrive early in Stockholm. The next leg to Oslo was real quiet. Easily the least crowded plane yet. At least 4 of the passengers were SAS employees. It arrived in Oslo early. So far everyone speeks english, we are getting spoiled fast. Customs person recognizes my name. I must look very norweigan because all the natives look at me & start speaking norsk, then they realize that I have this blank look on my face and switch to english. Got directions to the express train to Oslo, the young man who help us told us to look for the space ship, no lie. The thing shows up and just like he says it is one stainless steel flash gordon super train.
It wisks us into Oslo. It is so soothing that I find it difficult to stay awake. The ride is long, the airport is in the boondocks. But the train drops us right at the T-banen so we hope the next T and head to our booked B&B. We don't have enough money to pay for the stay so we give her everything we have (no sleep != good judgement). As soon as we close the door to our room we fall asleep for a good 3 & half hours. So much for seeing Frogner Park.
We ride the T back into town. We then begin the Oslo minibank (atm) shuffle. We honestly plugged our card into 5 or 6 atms. None worked. So we would just walk to the next one. Joanna then spotted a NOR sparebank, scored! Jo wants pancakes (cravings). Nordmenn eat them as dessert w/ ice cream & chocolate sauce. But the thought of ice cream on pancakes makes Jo sick so she suffers.
Instead we go to Vegeta Vertshus, Dad recommended it. I thought it was edible and cheap. Jo could barely keep it down because it wasn't in the pregnancy flavor zone (PFZ). Go back to B&B, stay up till 8pm and then sleep until 7am. Can you tell we were exhausted?
We pretend that we have recovered from our jetlag and head into Oslo. We decide that we were not exactly welcome at our B&B so we make arrangements to check into a place closer to downtown. It is another home out of Rick Steve's guide (forever to be refered to RSG). We take our luggage there to drop it off. This guy starts talking my ear off. He prattles on about how to get around Oslo (which I have already got wired) and decides our itinerary. He is bugging. We would find out later that going to his place was going from bad to worse.
Our first steps out of Marius' (the old guy we are staying with) should have been towards food. Instead we try to see some sights and get info. We start fighting and Cravor (Jo) decides she has to have an egg mcmuffin. Wait, this egg mcmuffin idea never dies. Anyway, all the McDs in Oslo don't serve breakfast, just burgers. It took two stops to get that idea killed. By then we would have eaten anything. We find a bakery and eat whatever they hand us. Afterwards we go to the TI and buy our train tickets to Bergen, the last two for the day! We then powowed to decide whether to get an Oslo Card. We decided against it and it turned out to be a great decision. Most places accept student IDs and the other places aren't open yet for the tourist season. If I was going to be in Oslo, maybe the card would be a good idea but not likely. Instead we get 24-hour bus passes (DAGSKORT) and then picked our museums sparingly.
Armed w/ our DAGKORT we took the ferry to Bygdoy. It almost did Jo in, she can get really sea sick. We walked to the Folk Museum and by the time we arrived she was back on track. The folk museum was chocked full of kids. It was a fantastic day and the museum is open air. They were braiding flower crowns out of the wild flowers, running, screaming and having as much fun as if they were at Disneyland. We strolled through the exhibits of actual buildings from around Norway. It even had a beautiful Stavkirke. One lap around the whole place pretty much wiped Jo out. So I finished the indoor exhibits myself. Some were full of such beautiful pieces of wood carving and ceremonial dress. All if it was spectacular. I learned about the Sami, a culture of people much like the eskimo or the Native American.
After we were done with the museum we had lunch from the fruit stand across the street. We also bought enough for our lunch tomorrow. While I am on the subject of fruits & veggies, we have seen several stands all over Oslo. They are pricy but the food is fresh and plentiful. I don't want to know how they get all that fresh food here and whether it is like that in the winter. More importantly, the English and the Irish have not quite figured this out but the Nordmenn have. I should mention it to the Irish next time I am there. The Nordmenn in my opinion are not the Lutefisk eaters I am told they should be. They have very cultured palettes and I for one am very glad. GO Nordmenn!
On to the Viking Ships! We strolled in barely ahead of a French tour group and two japanese groups. Close one. The boats were awesome. I really can't believe someone though they could sail across the open seas w/ one. Their preservation is exquisite though.
After the scare on the ferry we decide to take the bus back to Oslo downtown. We pick up the bus going the wrong way but no biggy because it will turn around in a couple of stops. The bus driver is Jo's type, long hair, blue eyes, studly northern european. Jo starts chatting w/ him. We find out his prejudice for the Yugoslavians and the Swedes. But nice to us and patriotic to Norway. He gives us a tip on an Italian restaurant in town called Mama Rosa. The bus ends at the National Theatre (just like every other mass transit in Oslo). We change some traveller's cheques and try to make it to the Nazi Resistance Museum. The Museum closed early because summer starts on the 1st of june according to Norwegians. Our next mission is one we will do over and over again. We were on the hunt for a perfume store. Why? Because Jo's pregnancy augmented sense of smell (which is already too acute if you ask me). This sense of smell is making her life with her wrist cast absolutely unbearable. It stinks to her, badly, she complains about it constantly. Her solution at the moment is to douse it in perfume samples she gets at perfume stores. Once soaked in perfume it becomes a headache talisman to me but not as bad as the headache I am getting from her complaining. We find a shopping mall just north of the Nat. theatre. And in usual fashion I find something that is suited perfect for me. It is a strange phenomenon that manifests itself in garage sales with tools I need or a computer store right next to the clothing store Jo has to go into. In this case it is a comic/role-playing-game/sci-fi book store. The place is a nerd dream. Everything is in english, so much so that I couldn't find a native norsk comic as a souvenir. All the comics are a couple months behind the states but they are there. There is a mass of people in the front staging a medievel battle of herculean scale. This one is going in my special guide book of Oslo for Geeks. The mall also had a perfume store and the cast is properly annointed. We head to Mam Rosa and had a great meal. Chalk one up for the bus driver.
After the meal I convince Jo that she has enough left to make it through Frognar Park. It is the park which displays the Vigeland Sculpture garden. It is less then 5 blocks from where we are staying so it is an easy walk. The park is everything Dad said it would me. Easily the most beautiful thing we have seen in Oslo. It has a very dramatic feel to it where you are slowly progressed through different and more varied pieces of art. This park is nothing like any of the parks in my hometown. First off it was 8:30pm at night and the place was packed. At least another two hours of daylight and the people were taking full advantage of it. The skate rats were grinding their decks all around the sculptures. No police to harass the kids doing dangerous manuavers on their boards. Even with all the people the sculptures hold your attention. They are nudes of people in various different poses and what not. The garden takes you from a bridge which helps you detach from the world into Vigeland's world and you move uphill. The sculptures become more exciting and complex. It climaxes with a pillar made of nudes of different sex and age. It is a perfect finale.
We make it back to our room at Marius' just in time. Jo is dead on her feet. She keeps falling asleep while I am talking to her. I need to pay Marius so I am onslaughted by the Marius' chatter about how my middle name is spelled wrong (it is Eilers, I don't care if it is spelled wrong). I also have to get towels for a quick shower we are going to take. This dude won't shut up. I am so close to telling him to put a sock in it. Especially since he springs a new fact on me. The price of the room is 100K more expensive then I thought it was because we are only staying one night. He starts explaining how sorry he is (doesn't give me the price I asked for though). While this is happening Jo figures out that the 'shower' is really a tub with a shower head in it. Sit down showers, could the accomedations get any better? Add this on top of our beds that are singles and too short for either of us (I have to sleep diagonally w/ my feet hanging off) that are crammed into the back of his living room which is wall to wall crap and the beds are right under the window which faces the busy street and has no shade. We are at the Ritz! I tell Jo that we only have to shoulder it for 8 hours and then we are on the first train to Bergen. Off to bed.