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Cruising to the Islands in Oslo fjord

When you look at my blog you see lots and lots of lovely blue skies and nordic nature. It may then surprise you to know that if I am being truly honest the weather this summer has really sucked! It is statistically the 4th rainiest summer in the recorded database and the Oslo area didn’t have a single day over 30 C (85 F) this year. That said you can understand why we run out and make the most of summer anytime the sun shines.


On board with incedibly large sunglasses

This is why I was so disappointed in myself when I slept away my day on Saturday. Because days like that have been few and far between. It was a relief then when I woke up on Sunday and found the sunshine was still there. We had a bit more clouds on Sunday but all in all a good enough summer day to get out and enjoy living by the fjord.


Oslo Island Ferry Boat

The Ferry system to the local islands is part of the total public transportation in Oslo. In a land divided by fjords it is only natural that the boats are a part of the local transportation scheme. And since I need to have a montly pass to get back and forth to work it means my little boat trip out to the islands cost me nothing – nada – zilch – because my card works on the boat too.


View of the Opera from the fjord

When sailing out from Oslo towards the islands I looked back and had a great view of the Oslo Opera House, which you can see is the white building right on the water. It looks like a glacier running out into the fjord. In the years to come all the traffic around it will be put into underground tunnels (the reason for the construction work you may see) and a renewed area of the city will appear.


Family fun on the fjord

Private family boating is a popular recreational activity here. I would love to have a boat myself, having grown up with one in upstate NY, but in this area the cost of docking your boat is incredible, so I am quite happy to use the ferry and thrilled when friends who have a boat invite us to visit!


Inviting green paths of Hovedøya

Hovedøya is a lovely green national park where all the plants and animals are protected. In addition it has a rich cultural heratige with monastery ruins from the 1100’s, the remains of a shipyard from 1640,and a bathing area from the beginning of 1914.


Monestary ruins from the 1100's

Above the remains of the Hovedøya Monestery. In 1532 the monastery burned down and was demolished. Stone remaining from the Monestary was used to build Akershus Fortress – Castle. Fourteenth century recycling! Cool!


Chinese kite flying on the beach

After crossing the island I came to the beach I was looking for. You didn’t think I forgot the beach did you? It wasn’t nearly as crowded as it is mid summer but as you can see there were people out enjoying the day. Like this chinese family who were really experts in flying a special kind of kite!


Lunch break for the Kyak group

Or a group of (totally hot) Kyakers who stopped on the island to eat their lunch and take a break, and even a little swim.


Romantic late summer swim

Not exacly the tropics, but romantic none the less!


View across the fjord to Oslo City Hall

On the way back I just had to take this photo with Oslo City in the background. The town hall is directly in the middle and I thought, this photo will make my sweetie proud hehehe. The weather on the way back was if possible even better then on the way to the island but one learns the hard way. If you wait too long to leave Hovedøya you might wind up waiting for a ferry or three before you get room on board. The island wasn’t SO crowded this Sunday afternoon but I wasn’t taking any chances. Besides RennyBA was home from his adventures and I wanted to hear about his trip!

Oslo Opera House tour at OsloBG

We couldn’t invite our friends to Norway without showing them the new pearl of the city shoreline. The Oslo Opera House opened in 2008 designed by the award winning architect firm, Snøhetta. The Opera House is best seen from the water as you see in the photo below. I admit this photo was taken in July when my father was visiting, as we had better weather and a boat ride! As you can see it resembles a Glacier flowing out into the ocean. The surface reflects the natural elements of snow and ice and has a cold feel to it. Covered in pure white Italian marble it sparkles on the landscape.


Oslo Opera House

The concept of the Opera House was that they wished it to be available to the Norwegian people in other ways. Therefor it is the only Opera House in the world where the roof is intended for use of everyone. It gives a wonderful view of both the city and the fjord and is a popular place for Norwegians and tourists alike. In the summer time free concerts are held on the roof for all to enjoy.


Guests walking on the roof

Looking through the window increases the feel of ice, and yet you can see the warm “wave wall” which adds the element of Norwegian Oak Wood. The wave wall which contains the main scene and several others appears to rise like a great old oak tree right in the center of the opera house, and the large glass windows allow you to see inside, allow light to enter from outside, and even allows you to see the fjord right through the buildings.


Lookinglass Opera

On the main floor there is also a restaurant -cafe serving fine dining both indoors in the main hall and outdoors in good weather on the Opera roof itself.


Opera Cafe

RennyBA and Lawrence were kind enough to arrange a guided tour for us with a most excellent guide, in english of course. She brought us through the galleries elegently designed in fine Nowegian Oak, and into the main scene, which of course we were not allowed to photograph as they were setting the scene for Figaros Wedding.



We had a peek at the ballet as well! The Opera House is also the home of the Norwegian Ballet, and has rehersal rooms in the same high quality as the ballet floor itself (which is lowered from the roof onto the scene of the main floor to insure optimal quality for the dancers).


Ballet Dance Floor

My favorite part of the tour, I have to admit to dreams of being a dancer or an actress when I was around the age of 5, was our tour through the costume rooms. We were allowed into some of the costume storage and had a peek at the beautiful creations being made. Here are some colorful tutus for this years presentation of the Nutcracker. Yes, already in August they are busy making the costumes for Christmas’ high point.



The guide, also a visial artist, showed us the elaborate details of the work.


Nutcracker ballet skirt

And we also had a breif glimpse of the wonderful costumes to Figaro’s Wedding.


Figaro's Wedding

Some of the best experiences from Oslo Blog Gathering was experiencing new things together with interesting and curious friends from around the world. It was also fun taking photos together and seeing how some of the others captured the details around them. All in all every day was an experience of a lifetime.

If you want to learn more about our experiences at OsloBG please visit my friend’s posts:
Lelè Batita
My Grand Adventure II
Return to Norway

Memories of OsloBG, Vigeland Sculpture Park

Well now OsloBG is over and most of our guests have gone back to their homes. A couple are still wandering around Oslo but they are welcome to stay as long as they want of course! I was so tired Sunday night I went to bed at about 7 pm, and slept until 7 am. Then of course it was back to work, vacation over.

Vigeland Sculpture ParkI’m sorry but I can’t get the slide show to embed, please click on the link above to see the side show. Here is a sample photo from the set.


Vigeland Sculpture Park

So now I am looking through all the lovely photos we took and remembering what fun we had! I hope you will enjoy a slide show from our first day, a trip to Vigeland Sculpture Park. The weather was a bit grey but the art work is beautiful just the same and our guests were happily shooting away with their cameras and learning a lot with the help of our excellent guide, Margaret!

Blogger friends exploring Oslo at OsloBG

The Oslo Blog Gathering is already half over!! Time goes by so quickly! We are really having a wonderful time meeting our blogger friends face to face, some for the first time, and others we have greeted before. It is truly an experience of a lifetime, and we feel like we are quickly becoming friends and we have so much in common. Even if we come from different cultures and struggle with the language from time to time everyone is so interesting, open and friendly. It really is a dream come true for Renny and I.


I don’t want to use very much time writing a post now so I will go into more detail later, but I know some friends who wish they could be here are following along around the world, so I want to give you an idea of what we have done so far! I am starting to realize that we really can’t manage everything in four days, so some of our friends will just have to come back and visit us again. But still we have managed to fit a lot into our schedule


First Oslo Guideservice provided us with an excellent guide who took us through Vigeland Sculpture Park, Holmonkollen ski jump, and Bygdøy. Many thanks to Margaret for her excellent information and sunny personality!


Then of course we were received at the City Hall by the Mayor of Oslo and served champagne and wonderful party food. We were treated as Royalty, and again provided with an excellent guide who could give us a lot of information about this very special building and its history.


We started our second day, after a good nights sleep and a nice breakfast at First Millenium Hotel with a visit to the new Oslo Opera House, and Renny and Lawrence were able to arrange for an incredible guided tour there as well. Only the best for our guests you know! We were given an explaination of the thoughts behind the architecture, as well as a peek in the main stage, and a peek behind the scenes where dancers and musicians are practicing, scenes and costumes are being made and art is being created long before it reaches our eyes and ears!


In the afternoon it was time to visit the Royal Castle and of course all the tourists want to see the changing of the guards!


And in the evening we took a boat ride on the fjord out to a little island where we were served the most delicous dinner.

Many of us chose the fresh seafood of course, but if you are not a seafood lover there were very good choices of chicken or meats available as well.

I feel it is safe to say that everyone is well satisfied and enjoying the trip here in Oslo. And we are having fun playing host, getting to know people and acting like tourists in our own home town. We are even living at the hotel you know so we don’t miss any of the action!! Now it is really time for bed hahaha! Good night and see you all again soon!

OsloBG preparty party!!

Yes friends the day has finally arrived, it is after midnight so now it is the 19th of August and the Oslo Blog Gathering 2010 is underway. This evening we were at TorAa’s home where Claudie and her husband Pierre, plus Mrs. and Mr. Lifecruiser are staying for the OsloBG. Since Claudie was nice enough to open her home in the south of France to us last year Tor is returning the favor and inviting the people from her gathering to his home this year for OsloBG. We had a reuinion with our old friends this evening and it was a lovely time.


TorAa, Lifecruiser and us were all eager to give our French friends a taste of Scandinavia, and thus we have all made some food and had a tremendously large 5 course (at least) dinner!! I think next time we are eager to introduce our food maybe we shouldn’t try to do it all in one day hahaha but it was lovely, and delicious and fun. But honestly I couldn’t eat even one crumb more!!


Mr. Lifecruiser is excellent on the keyboards, so there was music and food, dance and of course Tor was ready with champagne for the guests. It is rumored that Claudie drinks nothing but champagne you know…and I am not telling if that rumor is true or not. You will have to find out for yourself.


So we are off to a roaring good start to the OsloBG and upon our late arrival to First Millenium Hotel we heard the good news that all our guests who are staying at the hotel have checked in. So tomorrow we are off for our first site seeing and will likely greet the rest of our guests at the morning buffet! Better get some sleep then!! Good night!