Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in all the world to visit – not only to experience the beauty of the fjords, northern lights and the midnight sun during the summer, but the people themselves are authentic and represent those qualities of kindness, integrity, and strength of character. The visitor is touched emotionally as these gentle people are genuine, filled with wisdom and sincerity for they are but a reflection of Nature's beauty.
Traveling in an airplane we often fly through the Northern Lights – the brilliance of the green streaks of light that seem to hold the plane in its embrace. On a recent trip, it was exhilarating to feel we were part of some magical mystery, being swept up through this portal of light to the Divine.
During summer, the sun never sits so you may wake up at 4:00 am and think you have missed your tour! So if you need to get some rest, be sure you close the curtains!
For your first visit to Oslo, the capital city of Norway, some of the “must see” destinations include: Town Hall, Aker Brygge, Viking Ship Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, Holmenkollen Ski Jump, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Munch “The Scream” at the National Gallery.
Town Hall: is a massive four-squared building with two towers, 38 bells that chime on the hour/half-hour. The facade is decorated with sculptures and reliefs and the interior displays rich frescos by famous Norwegian artisans Edvard Munch, Per Krogh and Henriks Sorensen.
Aker Brygge: is part of the harbor, just down from Town Hall. It is a popular destination to visit the shops (enclosed) as well as to visit many pubs and restaurants along the harbor. Most interesting is that during the New Year's celebration, most restaurants and pubs are actually closed as the festivities are reserved for celebrations in the home! This exemplifies the nature of the culture in valuing family and friends! The festival of lights around the harbor is magnificent in welcoming in the New Year!
Viking Ship & Kon-Tiki Museum: The Viking Museum displays three 9th and 10th century Scandinavian sea vessels, including one that is intact, and were used as tombs. Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian adventurer crossed the Pacific in 1947 in his Kon-Tiiki vessel! All are on the Bygdoy Peninsula and a short ferry ride from the city center in Oslo.
Holmenkollen Ski Jump: Even if you have never skied before, this a must do visit. You can experience what is must be like to go down this ski jump through a video re-enactment! Fun for all!
National Gallery: A visit to see Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944), “The Scream” one of the world's most recognizable works of art that depicts a man in a moment of anguish and despair while others seem unaware. Munch made several versions in oil, pastel, and on lithograph. In his own diary he explains the meaning: “I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting suddenly, the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”
Frogner Park/ Vigeland : is the world's largest sculpture park containing 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron. What is truly amazing about the granite sculptures is that they first appear crude, but conjure up a deep emotional experience for the viewer! One truly can feel the emotion that they represent… pain, suffering, joy and ecstasy!
The theme represents man's journey through life, from “cradle to grave.” Perhaps this was the anxiety that Munch expressed in his “Scream”, for he was anxious about the path that life has in store for each of us.
Gustav Vigeland also designed the Fountain; a bronze sculpture with 60 reliefs portraying children and skeletons in the arms of giant trees … depicting from death comes new life.
When entering the gardens, you are met with the most popular Monolith, made from one solid piece of stone which took 14 years to complete. It is 46.32 feet high with 121 human figures wrapped together rising toward the sky, representing man's quest to get closer to heaven or the divine. One cannot help but get the feeling of togetherness as these reliefs embrace one another as they together are carried to salvation. Such an emotion one finds reflected again in the sincerity and kindness of the Norwegians today – helping each other in their own journey through life's paths, filled with sadness but with the hope of joy and peace.
I was there after the horrible Utoya massacre in July 2011, and was amazed to see the immediate side of forgiveness these people displayed in placing flowers and wreaths throughout the city. They displayed no hate but only forgiveness though their own hour of grief and despair. Innocence was lost but their light conquered the darkness of evil.
April 21, 2013