After a couple of weeks of idyllic western Norway, I went for three weeks with my Dad to Oslo. I went there to start on the microscope work for my dissertation, as a collegue of dad had kindly lended me his microscope and his desk whilst he was on holiday. As for microscope work it didn’t go great, and tbh I am so sick of thinking about it and so I am barely going to mention it on my blogpost. It was slow, I had to teach myself everything from scratch, and most of the day consisted of me battling serious levels of doubt and lack of knowledge. In the end I pretty much had to scrap what I did and start again, outlining to myself more clearly what features etc. fell into what categories that I am tallying. I still don’t know if it suffices, but it’s at least better than before. So in the end, like my parents kept encouraging me to think, at least it was wasn’t wasted time, because now I have already had some practice and have become aware of mistakes I can make in preparation for a new attempt back at UEA.
A very good summary photo from my time in Oslo: Gorgeous weather (at lysaker brygge by dad’s office) and a statue representing my emotions towards my dissertation. Hahahaha.
Anyway, for the fun parts! I got to spend three weeks in sunny Oslo with my dad! We travelled to Oslo by car, going via voss, over the hardangervidda from Eidfjord, towards Gol and down via.Sandvika. As usual we started off in Bergen with grey, dreary, heavy rainy weather, meandered through valleys, along fjords, rivers and lakes before we started climbing up towards Vøringsfossen, where we left the wall of rain and entered into Eastern-Norway sunshine and fair weather.
One of my absolute favourite things from Oslo was the rasperry bush down the drive way from Dad’s flat. It has got to be the best raspberry bush I have ever come across! The bush was literally dripping in huge, juicy berries. It became a bit of a adored routine for us to get home after work, dad starting getting the tea ready and me picking berries for desert outside, followed by eating it all whilst watching Murder Mysteries, Darling buds of May or a movie. A full cup per evening resulted in multiple photograph sessions. Also, I’ve got to give an honourable mention to the amazing grilled mackerel Dad and I made on one occasion, stuffed with lemon and dill soaked bread, served with new potatoes and asparagus.
On the continued subject of food (my favourite subject of course), our first fun activity of Oslo was heading into the capital during the first week to do some restaurant surveying for friends of my parent’s we were taking to dinner the following week. We took the T-bane in and walked around the colourful buildings in search of restaurants that would meet the allergies criteria of our guests. I love Oslo’s streets, there is a feel of it’s history and importance as the capital of a country that cannot compare with quaint Bergen. The buildings are beautiful structures from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Their rendered structure of plaster and stone is something that to me is often quite interesting, as a lot of the buildings I see are wooden. I adore the bright colours, wide windows and heavily ornate frames. So many different architectural styles mashed into one city, oozing with so many cultural eras and history. Statues of Norwegian legends, from literature masters to political figures, are scattered around in parks and along pavements, reminding locals and visitors of the people who helped shape Norway to what it is today. Seeing the statues of people I learned about at school, who paved the way for national pride and identity, made me remember how young Norway actually is and how modern all their history really is. For me, Norwegians only really have two eras of heroes, their vikings, and then their post- Danish union “freedom fighters” that fought with pen and paper, pianos and violins, brushes and paint that restored and re-found national pride in a country that had been Danish for 400 years (let’s ignore the fact we were in a not so friendly “union” with Sweden for a while, the fight was still happening). After enjoying all the buildings and statues we ended up eating outside at Cafe Skansen where we enjoyed a glass of wine and some good fishy tucker. Afterwards we took a walk to Akershus Festning where we we sat on the wall and looked out on Aker brygge and out onto the Oslo fjord. We got caught in some surprisingly heavy rain heading home for the t-bane, and were soaked by the time we reached home!
At the weekend Dad and I decided we wanted to head out if city centre and out into some Oslo forest to go moose spotting. I had no idea where to start, but dad knew to go to Frognerseteren, so we headed there with the t-bane early in the morning. At the last stop on the line we got off and went to the Frognerseter restaurant for a sweet treat and a cup of coffee. I was reading about the Frognerseter building yesterday actually, it’s part of the “dragonstyle” architecture that Norway adopted from Switzerland in the wake of finding a national building style. Inside the interior consisted of wood, shades of dark red and green, decorative carved wood beems and ornaments, moose antlers, and with dark, moodly cabin lighting giving it a really atmospheric feel. Afterwards we headed out on a leasure walk around Rishøgda to Sognsvann. The walk was partially on gravelled paths and partly on forest trails. It was beautiful pine forests that dominated the landscape, with beautiful carpets of moss, ferns and blueberries covering the understory. We walked along paths, and I took lots of photos of beautiful flowers, mushrooms and berries. We didn’t see any moose, but that didn’t make the forest feel any less magical.
On the following day the weather was less pretty, so we headed to the Henney- Onstad museum to see the Nikolai Astrup exibition that was currently on. My parents love Nikolai Astrup, and I must say I definitely like him too! Perhaps forced appreciation, as I probably have been to every museum about him, throughout my life, including visiting his home in Jølster. It was a massive exhibition, showcasing paintings usually in the National Gallery and even privately owned pieces. I think my dad and I’s favourites were the bonfire paintings.
Luckily the weather improved during our gallery visit, and by the time we were done it had brightened up a bit. We therefore headed off on a second little adventure to a place called Brønnøya, a place Dad knew about because he went to look at a house there when he first got a job in Oslo. It was a perfect little island, and I must admit I am a bit sad Dad didn’t opt for this beautiful place (although I see that it is perhaps a little less convenient than his apartment that he is in now). To get on the island we had to cross over on a little boat you pulled yourself across by turning a weel to move the rope the boat was attached to. On the other side there were no cars and only tiny little paths. To get around you either walked or cycled. There was therefore absolute silence, apart from wonderful sounds of birds, leaves and your own feet crunching the dirt as you walked along the paths. We walked past cute wooden houses, mostly red, white or yellow. Around us flowers and foliage were bursting in life, and from most of the gardens there were ripe berries and fruits hanging teasingly from the branches. We eventually ended up by a little beach where families were enjoying the beautiful sunshine. Kids throwing rocks into the water and paddling by the shores and parent’s chatting amongst one another set a relaxing atmosphere. By the quay a ferry eventually pulled in, dropping more families off who looked like they were about to spend some wonderful summer days on the island. They unloaded all their stuff from the boat before putting it onto wagons to pull it all up to their cottages. On the way back we heard the noise of the woodpecker, pecking against a tree before we spotted him passing among the trees. It was in fact the most perfect place to live.