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33: From Viking to Kon Tiki

rain 17 °C
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Got going at our usual 9am today with the plan to go and see the Folk Museum, Viking Museum and the Kon Tiki Museum. Unfortunately the weather has turned on us today and it started out overcast with rain likely! Not great when one of your plans is an outdoor museum.

We decided to purchase the Oslo pass (most cities from what I can discover all seem to offer some sort of discount card for a price.. this card normally gives you free entry or a discounted rate to most tourist attractions in a city). So far, for me, it hasn’t been worth my while to get a pass (because unless you plan to do a heap of museums etc in one or two days it isn’t worth the money) but today it was going to be worth the cash so we bought one. The pass gives us access to nearly all attractions in Oslo and includes free public transport or parking! Not a bad deal if you are only going to be in a city for a day or two.

Using our pass we boarded the public ferry and went out to see the museums (they are all located about 10min off shore from the downtown region of Oslo). Because of the likelihood of rain we did the outdoor folk museum first. The museum itself is set up like a lot of those sort of attractions- lots of old buildings and people doing tasks that they would have done a few hundred years ago (think the Norwegian version of Old Sydney Town). Highlight of the museum was going to the bakery where a couple of girls were cooking Lefske. Lefske seemed to be a cross between a pancake and a scone.. Really tasty and we grabbed the recipe so watch out for some Lefske coming soon to Tweed Heads!

After the folk museum (and an all-day gob stopper) we took off for the Viking Museum. The Viking Museum is actually a huge building that houses 3 Viking ships that were discovered inside Viking burial mounds back before 1000AD. I was blown away, here are these huge Viking ships over a thousand years old and you would think that they are replicas that were built yesterday. The preservation of these ships is astounding. The ships were discovered at the turn of the last century after these particular burial mounds were excavated. Inside the mounds they found whole ships (and the ships are at least 30m long and at least that high!), complete with oars, food, cooking utensils, horse drawn carriages, weapons—you name something that you would have used back then and it was buried inside these mounds.. The amazing thing is that all of the artifacts that survived were all wood! I find it amazing that wood can survive over a thousand years buried underground! Apparently the main reason the artifacts are so well preserved is because they were buried in clay, covered in rocks and then had another layer of clay placed on top. This amount of clay has been impervious to water meaning that the wood has survived!

Our day didn’t finish there! By now it had started to steadily rain so we decided to go back to the ferry and go around and see the Kon Tiki museum. Kon Tiki was a voyage undertaken by Thor Heyerdahl and 6 other Norwegian sailors in 1947. The unique thing about the Kon Tiki is that it was a raft built of balsa wood as similar to that built by South American sailors back before the conquistadors. Thor wanted to prove a theory- that the Polynesian Islands could have been colonised by South American people as opposed to people migrating across the pacific from Asia/ Australia. To prove the theory he built a raft and sailed it across the pacific (using currents and winds) to one of the Polynesian Islands. Looking at the raft today I’m amazed he got it across the Pacific! I mean it is a big raft but still it is a raft!

After conquering the Pacific in his raft (and going onto world renown) he then went onto build two papyrus boats, Ra I and Ra II and also led successful archeological digs to Easter Island. He was the first to explain how the Easter Island monoliths had been moved and was the first to really carry out an archeological research on the island. The museum (and really Thor himself) is a pretty inspiring! It is amazing what human beings can do when they really want to!

We finished our museum hopping by seeing the Fram. The Fram is the original ice breaker that aided the first successful crossing of the North Pole by Nansen. It was also used by Amundsen to be the first man to cross the South Pole. The ship is still in great shape and it looks like you could it take it out tomorrow and go for a sail!

Finished the day off with some McDs (after spending a good hour in a pub waiting for the rain to ease) before heading in for an early night.

Posted by weary_feet 13:03 Archived in Norway

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