A fabulous weekend in Oslo and the aurora has been visible

It was a privilege to spend the weekend with our friends and their two boys in Oslo. 

They were very kind and generous hosts and we had a great couple of days seeing the sights of the city and discovering that we could count a Masterchef amongst our friends. We were treated to some fabulous Norwegian specialities, including dried and salted cod and moose as a main course last night. That’s not something that we eat every day! (And neither do they, to be fair 🙂 ) His cooking really is exceptional.

  
We had a great walk around the city, its parks and the castle on Saturday, with a lunch in a very nice cafe in the centre, before buying some oven gloves on the way home. Living the dream!

We also went past a Persian rug shop that is unfortunately closing down due to the rent being tripled at the end of the year. Having almost bought a rug at 50% off, plus tax free savings too on export, common sense prevailed and we will wait until we get home to measure up the space that the rug will need to occupy. I have the business card of the store manager in my wallet, so I can email them to see whether the rug we would have bought is still in the shop. I am sure we can work something out when we get back.

On Sunday, we went to various museums in the city, including the Viking ship museum where they have a beautiful ceremonial longboat from around 850AD on display, together with the queen’s funeral possessions that would have been on the ship. Absolutely superb carving both on the ship and in particular the funeral byre and other artefacts.

  
A trip to see KonTiki followed, bringing back memories of Blue Peter in the 1960s. Why they were telling the story then, I don’t know, but you have to say that Thor Heyerdahl did lead an amazing life, proving that it is possible to travel around the world on ancient craft made out of balsa wood or reeds and string.

Next door, is the Fram, the ship that Amundsen used to get to the South Pole before Scott, who obviously should have got there first! The ship is beautifuly preserved and well worth a visit.

Finally, we went to the Munch Museum, where there is an exhibition of Munch and Mapplethorpe self-portraits (plus some of Mapplethorpe’s other work). Some readers may know Mapplethorpe, and others not, but the exhibition didn’t hold back on some of his more “challenging” work, not suitable for children. The really interesting aspect, and entirely down to the skill of the curator, was the remarkable similarity between some of the work of the two artists. Whether Mapplethorpe, a photographer from the late 20C had studied Munch’s work from the early part of the century I will have to find out, but the arrangement of the paintings and photographs was extremely well done. It was enjoyable visit and I would recommend it to anyone visiting Oslo in the next month or so.

Munch’s most famous work, “The Scream” is in the National Gallery in the city centre, so that will have to wait until another visit to this interesting city.

So now, at 35,000 feet above the clouds and the snowy landscape, we are off to Tromso. There was a solar storm last night, with the aurora being visible in the UK as far south as Oxfordshire, apparently, which is just typical! However, the forecast is pretty good for where we are going, so let’s hope that our luck holds out over the next few days.