Friday was a very wasted day – spent entirely in travel. We left our hotel in Windsor at 9.30 am and finally arrived at our hotel in Oslo at 7.00 pm. That’s a long day for a two hour flight.
Getting to Heathrow was relatively easy. We drove through Runnymeade, which I had no idea was so close to London and then on to the motorway to the airport.. They have changed the freeway exit to the airport since our GPS map was made and that confused our GPS a bit. However, as we drove on, it guided us in to the rental car area from the other way. Getting to the airport was one major task that I was glad to have out of the way. ” We had checked in to the flight by 10.30 and spent some time in the airport lounge waiting for our flight which was scheduled to leave at 12.45pm.
We finally took of at 1.45 pm after waiting in a long queue of aircraft and arrived in Oslo at 4.30 pm. It took almost an hour for our bags to arrive and after passing through customs we found that no one was there to transfer us to downtown. We waited until 6.00 pm and ended up jumping on the airport bus which dropped us a block away from our hotel.
By then we were pretty hungry. The prices at the hotel café showed that a main course was going to cost A$65 each, so we walked along the road to a TGI Friday restaurant where we bought two hamburgers, two glasses of wine and a beer. This cost us a total of A$74.
We began the formal part of our tour on Saturday with a walking tour around the city to the old castle. This was just as old as some of the castles that we had seen in England but a lot less ostentatious. Parts are still used today for formal functions.
There are 35 people (all Australian) on our tour. Our tour leader is a young lady named Tulene who was born in Norway, but who has spent most of her life in Canada.
We had lunch in an outdoor restaurant which operated out of the oldest house in Oslo. It was a very sunny day and almost everyone in Oslo seemed to be out taking in the sun. There were a number free musical events happening throught the city and harbour area and to our suprise, the Oslo Caledonian Pipe Band marched right into the square where we were eating lunch to the tune of Scotland the Brave.
In the afternoon, we went on a short bus tour to three famous maritime museums and saw some fantastc exhibits (all in indoor environments.). The first was to see a number of viking ships that had been recovered from various burial sites. These were a thousand years old and made a fantastic exhibition. We could walk right around them. The second was to an exhibuition of Thor Heyerdals famouis reed boats – the Ra and the Kontiki. It was wonderful to see these boats preserved and to read the story of his attempts to recreate possible voyages in attempt to explain how varous people such as the polynesians might have travelled from South America. The third exhibition (and the one that I was miost personally interested in) was to see the Fram, Amundsens polar vessel. It is contained within a tall building and you can walk around it various levels and even go on board it. The Fram would be the last of the famous polar explioration ships in existance.
Dinner on Saurtday night was a short bus ride away in a restaurant underneath Oslo’s urban ski jump. Dinner was fine and the ski jump was interesting and very high. We just don’t seem to see too many of those in Australia.
Today (Sunday), we headed off in our bus to Lillehammer, the site of the 1994 winter olympics. We headed back past the airport and then onwards to the north. I was interested to see how much the farms looked like those that I had seen in Minnesota in the USA. I guess that makes sense as most of the Minnesotans are Scandinavian. Most of the farms consisted of a cluster of red buildings in the middle of a newly sown grain crop of sone sort that was just popping its shoots out of the ground.
We reached Lillehammer by lunch time and spent most of the afternoon at the outdoor Maihaugen cultural museum. This conains over 180 different types of houses in which Norwegians have lived in cities and towns over time. Apparently, the dentist was given many antiques by his patients and believing that it was innapropriate for them not to be seen, he commenced this museum in 1901.
We spent most of our time in the section relating to rural life. We had a wonderful guide who gave us a very interesting overview. She had us all lined up around the huge table in the farmhouse and told us who would have been suitting in each place. I ended up in the place of the stable hand! In the school room, she had the girls on one side and the boys on the other, even making the boys take of their hats. Lastly, we visited the church (again properly seatd with the women on the left and the men on the right) whcih is still used for weddings and christenings.
We checked in to our hotel by 4.30 pm to find our bags already in our rooms ( a very clever surprise), so now its, off to dinner and then, tommorrow, off to the fjords at Geiranger.