No, seriously, we saw a lot of wooden stuff. Ships, churches, all kinds of houses!
I’m not going to pretend I had some real desire to travel to Norway before I spotted the £13.99 RyanAir flights (roughly the equivalent of $21), but I’m so glad we went. We just focused on Oslo this time around, which turned out to be the perfect amount of time to spend there. We’ll absolutely go back to visit Bergen and the west coast, and see more of the dramatic fjords on that side of the country, and perhaps even get to Svalbard. I only read the first book of the His Dark Materials series, but if there are seriously polar bears that talk: I’m in.
Our first day consisted of baked goods at a gluten-free bakery called Bakefri around the corner from our hotel, which was Chris’s dream come true. They had real, serious bakery items—not your run-of-the-mill sub-par cupcakes that most places try to play up as a gluten-free selection. He ate some kind of lobster tail thing. I don’t know what it was called, because it was in Norwegian. But he was seriously happy.
Afterwards we walked over to see some museums (obviously). First was the National Gallery where we saw Edvard Munch’s The Scream, and then the Museum of Cultural History where we saw some amazing medieval pieces, including a ceiling from a stave church depicting about 12,000 Bible scenes.
THEN, we had McDonald’s. And I’m not ashamed to say it, because after three years of suffering from Celiac, Chris deserved a gosh-darn Big Mac.
And enjoy it, he did.
Afterward, we walked along the wall of Akershus Castle before heading back to the hotel and getting ready for dinner.
We ate that night at Le Benjamin, which had some “glums and glows” (if I may steal a phrase from my favorite travel blogger, Ms. Sarah Fox). Glows being the lovely service to dumb Americans who are thanking God the menu is at least in French, too, the nice atmosphere, good house wine, and ice cream for dessert. Glums being that they served fried avocados with our steaks, and that it COST $140 USD. Norway is crazy expensive. See what oil money does to people? THEY FRY AVOCADOS. This is clearly messing with their culinary brains. Or maybe it’s that it doesn’t get dark there until almost midnight. (And for those of you out there thinking, “Hm! Fried avocados! Maybe that could be interesting, Marissa!?” I assure you: It was not a good idea.)
The next day was our boat trip out to an area of Oslo called Bygdøy, where we went to the Viking Ship Museum and the Norwegian Folk Museum. The Vikingskipshuset was impressive, despite its small size. There are three large ships that take up a wing of the museum each, and a fourth dedicated to items found within the ships, which had all been buried throughout Norway as part of mediaeval burial processes for royalty. Most of them were found, however, already raided. I mean, duh. You can’t really hide that you’re burying an entire ship.
The folk museum was an open air museum that had more than 150 buildings relocated from around the country, separated by the regions they came from. In short, it was totally amazing, and while we didn’t get to tour the entire country, visiting the museum really made me feel like we’d seen more than we would have otherwise.
The highlight, by far, was the Gol Stave Church, which was originally built in 1212, and brought to the folk museum in the 1890s.
Our last day before heading to the airport, we managed to squeeze in a trip to Vigeland Sculpture Park and some gluten-free pizza.
Before heading out to the park, we got to meet up with Chris’s friend and Norway-native Kenneth for coffee. Some of you might remember Kenneth from a show Chris played with him in BK a few years ago at that creepy club with the dolls on the walls. If you haven’t listened to Beezewax yet, get thee to your music portal of choice and start with the following: I’m Not Where I’m Supposed to Be, Your New Town, The Snooze Is On, In the Stands, and When You Stood Up. I promise you will fall in love. Frankly, I can’t get over how amazing it is to be so far from “home” and still be able to have coffee with someone you know in a country you never expected to visit. Life is funny.
For fun, please enjoy a very, very, very old, and very, very very poor-quality video of his band, partly filmed in Chris’s hometown/partly in Manhattan:
And finally, Chris and I rating the trip, in terms of thumbs-upness:
In retrospect, we probably should have picked something that made us feel less like losers in public.