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  • Day13

    Vasa museum and Gamla Stan

    July 11, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    This is my second attempt at this entry. The first entry was lost when my iPad crashed. It makes me feel like I am at work and one's dictation gets lost. I am actually working on this on a high speed train to Oslo. One can watch the speed of the train and at times we have been doing 200k per hour which seems pretty fast but maybe not as fast as the TGV trains in France. Maybe someone could fact check this for me. We finished our stay in Stockholm on a strong note. We toured the Vasa museum which contains the Vasa ship from 1638 that sunk in Stockholm harbour within 40 minutes of it's maiden voyage. The guns made the ship too top heavy. Due to cold water, low oxygen levels from fecal matter and a low saline water, all of the wood and fabric on the ship and many non metal items were perfectly preserved. It was raised in 1961 and the ship and contents made the perfect tourist attraction. It is the most visited site in Stockholm. The ship is very large and all of the ornate wood carvings are incredibly preserved. This combined with all of the preserved nonmetal items including shoes and cloth made it a very interesting museum. We lasted about 2.5 hours which is pretty good for the West family. After the Vasa museum we headed back to Gamla Stan for Rob's quick tour of the old town. We started with theRoyal Palace where none of the Royal family live but was being over run with tourists. In fact the old town was all over run with large bus groups following numbered ping pong paddles. We checked out some of the old church's which served the various nationalities of the merchant communities from the 17 and 18 century. There was an impressive statue of St. George slaying the dragon and the tiniest little statue of a boy looking at the moon. If you rubbed the boys head it would bring you good luck. We wandered the narrow streets of the old town trying to avoid the hoards of bus/ cruise ship tours. By 2:30 we had had enough so headed back to our BnB to make supper for some Swedish guests. Our friend Jennifer Klein's first cousin once removed Astrid and her boyfriend Oscar came over for supper. We made the quintessential Canadian meal of macaroni and cheese. It was a more luxury version compared to Kraft dinner. My children certainly enjoyed it and I think our guests did as well. It was nice to get together with them as it is always nice to meet the locals. When one is travelling one doesn't always get the opportunity to do so. They also brought over a Swedish game called Hukke that we went to play at the park after supper. It consisted of throwing batons to try to knock down one competitor's blocks. After several spirited games we let them go home so we could start packing up for our trip to Norway today. After three transfers we made it to Flemingsberg station in good time. Chris was very helpful figuring out where the commuter trains left from as it was a real three dimensional maze in the train stations figuring out where to go.Read more

  • Day15

    A day in Oslo

    July 13, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    The train trip from Stockholm went pretty well yesterday. We got in around 8 and successfully navigated the T subway system to the hostel. The hostel is very nice. The boys have a room for two and Madeline, Cheryl and I have a room for three with our own shower. We had a gourmet meal at the hostel of Ichi ban noodles which we had stocked up on in Sweden. We had been munching the whole train trip so we didn't need a big supper. It has supposedly been quite warm in Oslo this summer with temps of 29 degrees Celsius the last few weeks.Fortunately it cooled off over night and we all had wonderful sleeps. We didn't get to bed until 10:30. It was still pretty light out when we went to bed. There were people playing frisbee golf in a park beside the hostel. It really is the place of the midnight sun as it is so far north. Breakfast was included and was a wonderful spread not like the youth hostel meals I remember from my youth.

    We headed downtown on the T and visited the car rental place to make sure all was in order for our car rental tomorrow. We then took Rick Steves tour of downtown Oslo. My favorite part of the tour was the City Hall. A large Art Deco building build in the 30s. The front was covered in wood carvings of Norse mythology. Inside the central hall was covered in Art Deco murals. We wandered around a little and saw the room where they present the Noble prize which has a spectacular view of the harbour. We then proceeded to walk around downtown Oslo taking in the National theatre, the parliament building which was less impressive then the city hall, the cathedral and downtown train station which were all spread out principally along one street with a lot of high end shopping stores. We bought some groceries for lunch before heading off to Vigeland park on trolley 12. In 1921 an artist by the name of Gustav Vigeland made a deal with the city of Oslo that they would support him and provide a studio if he produced bronze and stone statues for the park.He produced 600 nude statues of men and women which were all gracefully arranged throughout the park. Some of the statues dealt with the phases of life others dealt with the interaction of men and women. They were very beautiful. We spent a long time wandering around. It was a little sunny and by the time we were done viewing the sculptures we headed to a nearby outdoor swimming pool to cool off. It had a 50 metre pool and 1,3,5 and 7 metre pools. The kids were in heaven. I had hoped to make it to the National gallery to see the Scream but we just ran out of time.
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