18.07.2011 - 18.07.2011 18 °C
Early start this morning as we wanted to get maximum use out of our Oslo Pass. Headed out to the Vigelands Park first thing via Oslo’s very effective tram system. Vigelands was designed by a Norwegian Sculpture by the name of Vigeland. The park’s main draw card is a road lined by human sculptures. It was really nice to get out and go for a walk but the sculptures really aren’t my cup of tea.
The rain started up again this morning so after seeing the sculptures we decided to go and see Akhus Castle before having some lunch. To begin we decided to enter the Resistance Museum. The museum outlines the impact of WWII on Norway and the impact of the resistance movement on the Nazi offensive. It’s probably one of the best museums I’ve entered in a while.. Really interesting tales and facts. A couple of amusing facts that I discovered at the museum;
- one of the ways that the pow’s received the resistance radio signal was by rigging up a crystal radios in people’s dentures!
- Dental health issues in Norway were reduced during the war years because sugar was heavily rationed by the Nazi’s!
- One POW’s (who was in isolation) only means of communicating was by writing his diary (using a pin prick) on toilet paper
Clearly it wasn’t all lighthearted information in the museum, most of it was quite compelling and in some cases shocking. As I was wandering through the museum, I spent some time contemplating whether or not I would join a resistance movt if another world war broke out and our country was attacked.. I would like to think that I would be happy to sacrifice my life either in the armed forces or as a resistance fighter to ensure others could live a free life but on the flip side………. I came to the conclusion that it is the sort of question you can only answer if you are ever placed in that position. Many Norwegian’s sacrificed their lives in order to protect others (as did millions of people throughout both wars from all nations).
On a lighter note, after leaving the Resistance Museum we went next door to the Akhus Castle. This castle was originally built in the late 1300s as the main fortress to protect the then city of Christiania. The castle was added to over the years to what we see today by the 1500s. It is the first real medieval feeling castle that I have entered in Europe (all the others have been 1700s styled castles). It had the stone floors and the wooden buttressed ceilings and the watch towers, dungeons and crenellations! Just awesome! Apparently a ghost or two still haunts the castle but we missed out on seeing it!
By now the rain was really coming down so we adjourned back to our digs for lunch. The rain had eased by about 4pm so we headed to see the Munch Museum. Munch is the famous painter who painted “The Scream” amongst others. He lead quite a torturous life, constantly struggling between alcohol and depression (hence the weird paintings). He died at quite an old age (mid 80s) in his house in Oslo, leaving more than 1100 works of his own art to the city of Oslo. The artwork that he left behind is the basis for the Munch Museum. Personally, I’m probably not the biggest fan of his artwork, I did really enjoy his pencil drawings more than his paintings. His pencil rendition of ‘The Scream’ and the ‘Madonna’ are much better (in my opinion) than the oil paintings! I have to give him credit though.. you can tell when you see a “master’s” painting.. the brush strokes are so vivid that up close it just looks like a bunch of lines, and then you move back a couple of meters and those brush strokes all blend together, adding the subtle colour and shape definition to give you an incredible painting.
To finish the day we boarded another train and headed up outside of Oslo to their new Ski Stadium, which was built for last year’s world cup. The centerpiece of this ski area is this huge ski jump. When you get up close to one of those jumps it is incredible to think that anyone would have the guts to actually take off on one… Imagine the biggest roller coaster you’ve been on and then imagine it double the height (at least) and you come close to what a ski jump’s angle is like! Conductor and I couldn’t resist but go on this simulation of the Ski Jump and a Men’s Downhill event… The G’s that are created on that downhill is just incredible.. there is no way you are ever, ever going to get me even close to one of those ski runs or the jump for that matter!
By now it was pretty late so we headed home to find some dinner on our last night together before Bookie and Conductor head on home to AU (for the record we had fish soup—Bookie and Weary—and some Plaice for Conductor.. it also wasn’t the cheapest meal that Conductor has ever paid for….!)