Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Rainy Day in Oslo.

Last night, two of our friends arrived to join us on our Norwegian adventure. Emdee and I have known each other since our secondary school days. We also went to the same college and she was my bridesmaid 31 years ago. She also married and has two sons, We recently attended No.1 sons wedding. A wonderful day.

We remained friends over the years, meeting up whenever we have had a chance. Sometimes with life so busy, it has not been often enough. Now we have the chance to spend two weeks together. Unfortunately for Emdee, the day before coming ,she came down with a throat infection. They almost decided not to come but now the antibiotics have started to kick in and she is not quite so miserable.

So we had a late night last night waiting for them to arrive and naturally once they got here we began to chat. Her hubbie has recently retired. I am looking forward to finding out how he finds retirement and fills his days. I plan to retire this time next year. Just think, I have 183 more work days! My principal says he imagines I will have a calendar on the wall crossing off the days beginning in September.. I think it is more likely he will be the one crossing them off!!

Anyway, I digress. We woke up this morning to rain. Hubbie and I had planned to go to Vigeland Sculpture Park. We had deferred it yesterday due to aching feet. Alas,  today it was not to be either. I woke at 8.30but on hearing the rain I let Hubbie sleep on. By the time he woke an hour later it was raining  more heavily. He rolled over to get his second sleep.

So another late, chatty breakfast was on the menu for the morning. The rain had eased off, so we set out for the train station to pick up the tickets I had booked online three months earlier. NSB releases a certain number of discounted tickets three months in advance of departure so a ticket that would normally cost  €125 can be bought for €29-40

We picked up our tickets. There are works on the line so the first part of the journey to Lillehammer will be by bus and then we begin a six hour train journey on the Dovre Railway. According to the NSB website the train runs "through the stunning Norwegian scenery of the Dovrefjell. A new challenge for me and my camera. Can I take shots of the landscape from a moving train?

When I noticed we had five minutes to change from the bus to the train, I began to feel slightly anxious. If anything goes wrong not only be Hubbie and I  be seriously out of pocket but also Emdee and her hubbie too. The booking conditions say that unless you leave 60 minutes transfer time in case of delay your ticket will not be refunded!

 I began to tot up what had to be done in 5 minutes......get off the bus, gather the bags, find the platform. I broke out in a sweat. I mentioned it to the girl at the desk and she was unconcerned. She said it was no problem. The bus is to meet the train. Well, I'll breathe easy when I'm sitting on the train.

So with the tickets sorted for the moring , we checked from where the bus departs. Platform 19. We also got the number of Oslo taxis. There are thunder storms forcast for the morning. The station is only a 15 minute walk but that could be very unpleasant in the rain.

We emerged from the station to find ourselves beside the Opera House. The roof of the building angles to the ground, creating a large area, inviting people to walk up and admire the view out over Oslo. It is made of  white granite and Italian marble and amazingly was not slippy to walk upon in the wet. Some of the areas are skateboard friendly while others, near the performance areas are stepped to discourage this. Norwegians seem to have a wonderful relaxed attitude to their public spaces. A sunny days finds the locals skateboarding or sitting on the roof sunbathing. It is wonderful to see people being able to fully enjoy their surroundings. I have also noticed Norwwegians resemble us Irish in a particular way. (I know, we share some of those Viking genes) When crossing the road, they don't wait for the "little green man" If there is nothing coming, they cross. This is the complete opposite of our experience in Germany, where, even if there is no traffic at all, people always wait for the "green man."

The Opera House
Several interior and exterior artworks were commissioned with the building of the Opera House. One of the most notable is "She Lies." It is a sculpture made of stainless steel and glass, on a concrete platform in the fjord beside the Opera House. It floats there and with the winds and tides it shows an ever changing face to the public.

"She Lies"
This gives an idea of scale.

Unfortunately as we walked to the top of the roof it began to rain quite heavily again.We decided to abandon our plan to vist Akerhaus Fortress and to call it a day. It gives us good reason to return again. There are several places we planned to visit but did not have the time. We are paying for those long breakfasts now. We had a nun teaching us in our final years in primary school. She would have called us sugar lumps today (afraid of melting) for not wanting to walk around in the rain.

Oslo, seen from the roof of the Opera House.

So we had a long lazy afternoon. We decide to go out for something to eat and without realising, ended up in an Indian restaurant. We had a lovely meal and then returned to pack our bags for the morning. 06.30 seems like an indecent time to be getting up on holiday.  I hope the train journey will be worth it.

 Because I slept a little this afternoon I'm wide awake now and looking out at the bridge lit up at night. The following photos I took with my phone the night we arrived. It has been a relaxing few days. Oslo, in spite of a lot of construction going on around us is a beautiful city and I would certainly like to return sometime. Renting the apartment has worked out well, the location excellent, the price reasonable and I always love to have my own space.

View from our balcony, The green is part of the building, not a protective covering.
The bridge at night.
There is a lot of construction going on in this area. It will be the new financial district.

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