Back in August, I went on an excellent holiday to Oslo in Norway. One of the first things I did after checking into my hotel (a very smooth process, I’d definitely recommend them, and they are literally next door to Oslo Central Train Station) was to take a walk around the city and familiarise myself with the local area. Some of these places I visited again more fully and some I chose not to revisit because there were other places I wanted to see more since there are only so many hours in the day even for me when I’m in full on travelling mode. (You may have noticed I can pack a lot in when I go travelling!) But this is a good starting place for what will be a series of posts about the places I visited during my time in Norway and mainly focus on places I visited but did not explore fully.
Oslo’s Opera House was my first destination, not only because it was directly opposite my hotel but because I had read that you could walk up to the roof and see some beautiful views of Oslo; it’s well worth doing if you’re in the city. Guided tours of the inside are offered, though I didn’t take this up myself.
It opened in 2008 as a home for the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. The architects wanted to create a new public space in the centre of Oslo which they’ve certainly achieved – judging by the accents I heard it has become a focal point for locals and tourists alike, especially during the warm weather.
One of the things I noticed straight away about Oslo was the abundance of statues everywhere. In the case of, well, most of them, I’m afraid I don’t know the significance of the person portrayed, even in the cases where their name was mentioned, but they seemed photo worthy nonetheless. One of my favourites was that below, found near the National Theatre.
I couldn’t resist including the tiger outside of the Central Station, even though it’s one of the city’s most photographed objects.
This at least I can explain: Oslo’s nickname is Tigerstaden – The Tiger City – which comes from a poem by the Norwegian Bjornstjerne Bjornson where he describes a fight between a horse (the countryside) and a tiger (the city). The statue was made to celebrate Oslo’s 1000th year anniversary in 2000.
Another place I wandered to was the Parliament building, Stortinget, which has been the seat of the National Assembly since 1866.
It too comes with its own sculpture – in fact the lions outside the building are said to be the city’s first outdoor sculptures.
I also walked by the National Theatre, a lovely building that opened in 1899 and is seen by many as Ibsen’s theatre as his plays are most often put on there.
After the theatre I carried further on along the street until I arrived at the Royal Palace, the residence of the Norwegian royal family. Built between 1825 and 1848 it has three wings and is built in the Neoclassical style. It is also surrounded by public park land which I had planned to explore, but in the end I never returned to that part of Oslo.
Oslo is a very photographic city and you can see more of my photos of Oslo here.