Oslo – Norway 26/26

We are finishing our trip with 4 nights in Oslo without the car. The Opera House lit up at night shows off it’s structure.
We are staying in an apartment in one of the new BarCode buildings. The city commissioned 12 architects to design 12 buildings that are all thin with space between so together resemble a barcode. A vibrant area with courtyards, balconies, restaurants, retail, offices, and apartments.
From the nearby Munch Museum we got this view of the Opera House in the late afternoon. We enjoyed the wood cut exhibit of Edvard Munch’s and seeing  that version of “The Scream”. We saw the famous oil version at the National Museum.
It is very tactile to walk the roof of the Opera House! A fun experience. We did not kayak to it but enjoyed all the harbor activity.
Please Wait For The Saunamaster….a title we never knew existed. Such great weather: people are using the sauna and then swimming in the fjord to cool off.
From the castle on the hill you can see the entire harbor which we will explore. Watch out for the gulls! They are opportunists looking for your tasty treats.
We stormed the gates of the Akershus Fortress, nicely protecting the harbor for many centuries.
The great hall inside has a gorgeous ceiling and stained glass.
This is designed by Emanual Vigeland who also did the stained glass in the cathedral. We saw a contemporary exhibit of a white unicorn in a blue room that seemed to be a play off of this classic piece.
We walked to Astrup Fearnley Modern Art Museum, designed by Renzo Piano in 2012.
I had never seen braided trees before! Interesting live sculpture.
We took the ferry to Bygdoy, a peninsula across the harbor.
To visit the Fram Ship Museum and also saw Roald Amundsen’s Gjoa, in which he used to complete the 1st transect of the Northwest Passage .
Next we went to the Maritime Museum and saw a Viking Ship from the Gokstad discovery built around AD-890. This is possibly the one being recreated in Sandefjord as it was found near there.
Bygdoy was a perfect Lunch Spot!  What a great warm sunny dry day to enjoy Oslo Fjord.
Near the Royal Palace we were excited to see Norway’s King and Queen – in a 1960’s Lincoln Continental. King Harald V, who has reigned since 17 January 1991 with Queen Sonja – and Crown Prince Haakon was in a car in front of them.
A lovely day to enjoy the Vigeland Sculpture Park. The quantity of the sculptures adds to the quality of the bronze and marble. As well as the entertaining real people watching.
Gustav Vigeland not only was the artist but also designed the park as well. Additionally he designed the Nobel Peace Prize medal.
He studied in Paris and was influenced by Rodin. His knowledge of anatomy and the interest in all ages of human body is extraordinary.
The nearby Vigeland Museum has the plaster works and studies done to create the bronze and marble sculptures.
Really fun to experience both.
Love the details.
The sun has sets on our time in Norway as we enjoy the harbor lights. A great trip!

Ostfold – East Oslo Fjord – Norway 25/26

After a ferry crossing of the Fjord, we spent a couple nights near Moss, which is only an hour or so south of Oslo but a world away.
Fredrikstad is a wonderfully preserved medieval town. It is protected by sea and by a moat – luckily the draw bridge is down!
There are several gates to the old town of Fredrikstad
We enjoyed coffee and pastries while wandering the old town. This sign reminded us of Pipo’s love of traveling!
We followed the Oldtidsveien, Highway of the Ancients. Pre Roman Iron Age Circles of standing stones.
Nine concentric circles – quite an achievement to contemplate how these were put in place.  There are burial mounds near by and these were perhaps part of the ritual.
There are many petroglyph sites also on the Oldtidsveien. Ships of the Sun: the legend is  believed to be the twin warriors helping their sister the Sun, move her around the world through the darkness and through the day.
This rock has 22 amazing carved ships. It is thought that the sea would have been closer to this panel, and that sunset could have been seen from here as a ritual to honor the sun, so that it will return. Or perhaps it is about ….

Vestfold – West Oslo Fjord – Norway 24/26

Heading  south we went to Verens Ende at Faerder National Park. This is a picturesque old lighthouse on the west coast of the Oslo Fjord.
Most of the Faerder NP is protected sea but we could walk along the shore. Gorgeous weather today made this a perfect outing.
We even watched this jellyfish pulsate around the coast.
This beach and marina looked like The Perfect Lunch Spot!
The Vestfold County Museum in Tonsberg had an amazing recovered Viking ship as well as a replica seen through the window. It also told of the whaling history of this area.
This is a Blue Whale – the largest animal ever known to live on earth. Massive!
Tonsberg is Norway’s oldest town and we visited the remains of the Castle. This structure seems typically Norwegian – we have seen many similar ones in the countryside.
A replica of the Viking Gokstad Ship is underway in downtown Sandefjord. It all begins with the perfect tree, aged to perfection before it is split to size with the same tools the Vikings would have used.
You can see some planks slit in the foreground and the size of this operation to reconstruct a replica of the Gokstad Ship. Four Viking Ships have been found in this area of the West Olso Fjord (Vestfold) and they are proud of this sea heritage.
Borre NP preserves Viking Burial Mounds and is overseen by this Rune Stone. The carvings have been painted to make them more visible.
Midgard Viking Center is next to Borre NP. Besides an interesting museum they have recreated a Viking Long House area through these gates.
This long house is  based on archeology finds to similar dimensions and what is known about the construction.
The details similar to the Stave churches which were built later.
A staff person dressed as a Viking told us some history and kept the long house warm with an expertly built fire. The more important you were the closer to the fire you sat. A long house was for community, government, and religious activities.
The columns all tell different stories. The Vikings as warriors with their shields that went on long voyages and conquests.
And they all reported to The Red Maiden…

Hardanger Bridge – Norway 23/26

The Hardanger suspension bridge is the longest tunnel to bridge to tunnel in the world. It is the longest suspension bridge in Norway and one of the longest in the world.
There is a viewing area so you can see the bridge disappear into a tunnel. This bridge is longer than the Golden Gate Bridge. Impressive.
There is a pedestrian/bike tunnel as well to access going across the bridge.
Blue sky. A fun bridge to experience. These supports are both on land, not in the fjord.
Nicely designed cable supports. That is all that is holding up this roadway?
How lucky we were to see this beautiful rainbow cross the bridge as well.
This is the Hardanger Tunnel Roundabout. There is a roundabout in the tunnel. Really – there is a roundabout in the tunnel. This looks like a movie set out of Mission Impossible!
Heading towards Bergen we stopped in the town of Kinsarvik and saw this double rainbow.
Back at Saebo cabin we saw yet another rainbow, now over Eidfjordvatnet. A magical day.

Hardangervidda NP – Norway 22/26

Saebo Camping on Eidfjordvotnet is a perfect spot to watch the world go by!
Our Saebo Camping Cabin is the larger one in the center.
It is very close to Hardangervidda National Park.
The trail we took is well marked with red ‘T’. There were some cabins here – how fun that would be to hike to this spot for the night.
Getting us located on Locus Maps. This app has been so helpful in all our navigation. We loaded all of Norway for free.
Great views!
Great fall colors!
Detail of those wonderful colors and textures.
Amazing variety of lichens and moss.
Even a comfy rock for a picnic lunch!
And back to Saebo Camp to enjoy the fjord lake: Deep breath. Exhale. All is well.

Vøringsfossen – Norway 21/26

We have no idea what to expect as we head out to visit the Vøringsfossen waterfall along Norwegian Scenic Route Hardangervidda – a few miles from our Saebo cabin.
This is the Vøringsfossen!
This puts it in perspective to the huge size. And see the bridge over my shoulder?
That bridge  is this magnificent pedestrian crossing!
We are pretty much speechless to see such an engineering feat.
Imagine building this. Imagine designing this. A 47 meter span equals 154 feet, which is like a 14 story tall building – and is equally that tall of a waterfall into the canyon below.
The underside is equally interesting.
2 stairways on each side lead to a center portion.
A dizzingly viewpoint.
Getting up close to the spray from the upper part of the Vøringsfossen.
The Pretzel Tunnel, that the car climbed between the falls and eidfjord, replaced the old switchback road. Why not?

Aurlandsfjellet “Snow Road” – Norway 20/26

Happy Autumn Equinox! A kaleidoscope of changing colors invites us to explore.
Our first stop on the Aurlandsfjellet Snow Road is a waterfall which is being guarded by this sheep: Baaa baaa ra!
A powerful amount of water makes this an enjoyable wander.
Wow. The overlook called Vedahaugane is spectacular today.
Coming out of the “Bear’s Den” art exhibit, looking for a meal. Vedahaugane
Looking the other direction it is blanketed with red on the Aurlandsfjellet Snow Road
No snow today!
Several nice lakes as the clouds move in.
Is that a canyon? Or is there a fjord ahead?
The fjord view point Stegastein. What a fun way to end our travel across the Snow Road.
The view of the fjord and Aurland. Flam is around the bend where we enjoyed a picnic lunch.

Gaularfjellet Scenic Route – Norway 19/26

Sunshine! This Kvinnafossen waterfall was a delight on our way to the ferry.
We got the Sogneflorden Ferry from Hella to Balestrand.
Still some low clouds over the Gaularfjellet Scenic Route…
Interesting to watch them but we hope the views we are coming to see are not in the clouds.
Waiting for the sun to break through, we strolled along the fjord in Balestrand to the Viking Burial Mounds and found them guarded by this statue of King Bele.
Ooohhh Wow! Did you see that reflection? Stop the car!
Or how about this one? Surreal.
The highway engineer that designed this road in the 1930’s said that a good road is 10x better than a bad road, and a bad road is 100x better than no road!
We took these hairpin turns to climb up the valley on the Gaularfjellet Scenic Route.  We have a view!!!
The clouds are still playing around at the Utsikten Viewing Platform…. But that makes it a bit more mysterious.
Isn’t this spectacular! The Gaularfjellet Scenic Route basically follows the Gaula River – this looks like an oil painting.
The Likholefossen has this very cool pedestrian bridge so you can be right over the waterfall.
Like this. The sound is deafening – it is a bit of sensory overload with the sun and fall colors. Soooo much water!
And on the other side is a picture perfect wetlands. Really it looks like this – can you believe it?  We feel so lucky for a pleasant sunny day.
As we ferried back across the Sogneflorden we wondered: Is that the Loch Ness Monster in the water?