In my last blogpost I asked the question: When you buy a Eurail Pass, what’s the best route from Bordeaux to Lagos, Portugal? And the answer is….. Norway.
The Eurail Pass is not what it used to be and we’ve already spent over $400E for reservations to both first and second class tickets already purchased ($2600E) just to travel around France. So I’ll beat this game by taking the “Road not Taken” and I book to Trondheim Norway enroute to Portugal…… so here I’m sitting on the bridge from Denmark to Sweden with the military running down the tracks ahead of the train waving their machine guns, helicopters hovering above and military-like boats are starting to show up….. Never heard the details except to say I missed my next connection and arrived in Oslo 5 hours late. (And all this after boarding my train in Copenhagen only to be left 5 miles out of town locked inside; but that’s why they put these little red glass-breaking hammers nearby….). I later read it was some sort of terrorist attack (shrug).
Waiting for me at the Oslo train station is my old college buddy, Magnus and the first thing we visit in the morning is the Viking Ship Museum where artifacts from Tune, Gokstad, Oseberg and the Borre mound cemetery are displayed. Norwegians are very proud of this museum and so am I. I won’t go into historical detail as it’s all on the internet, but this ship made it 1000 years and could still be rowed across the North Atlantic and most likely take over New York or even better, Washington D.C. This is an amazing museum considering the Vikings conquered the known world 1000 years ago in these arriving in diverse places like Moscow and North America.
Look at this sleigh. Incredible detail and yet functional. It was found in the Viking Ship used as burial booty.
Then there are the “tent pegs.” Tent pegs, you say….. Well, the Commodore of the South Kupreanof Yacht Club, who has been around the world (now 37 times*) knows these are not tent pegs.
The museum thinks these are tent pegs, but not the Commodore……
These are rope tension devices fully described in Bernhard & Oystein Faeroyvik classic book “Inshore Craft of Norway.”
And here I’ve duplicated these on my faerings at the South Kupreanof Yacht Club……Hrummph! OK, I’m museumed out. Let’s look into other Norwegian sports.
This is the newly constructed Holmenkollen ski jump which trains all the Olympic skiers in ski jumping. Truly awesome but I can’t think of one good reason to ski down this ‘hill.’ Of all the Olympic events though, this is one that intrigues me the most.
And here is Oslo’s City Hall which is simply beautiful with it’s murals–painted in a style similar to our WPA era art. It is in this room that the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded each year contrary to the other four which are awarded in Stockholm. Alfred Nobel’s younger brother, Emil, was killed in a nitroglycerin explosion which prompted Alfred to devise a better, safer handling of this powerful explosive–dynamite. Later, another brother died unexpectedly in Cannes, France, but the French got it wrong and printed Alfred’s obituary instead. Alfred upon reading how he was viewed as “the Merchant of Death” set up the prizes with his $3.1B fortune.
Well, three days visiting and you start to smell like lutefish, so it’s time to “yump” on the Kong Harald (Hurtigruten mailboat) and head up the coast. I took the Harald Jarl about 15 years ago around Nordcap to see the midnight sun, but this time I want to experience the Norwegian North Sea in winter and was not disappointed. Next stop, Bergen…..stay tuned! (*about 35 of these ‘world trips’ were running around the South Pole marker)