Amazing Ships and Leaving Oslo

Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
Trip End Feb 02, 2011

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Flag of Norway  , Oslo,
Thursday, July 1, 2010

Our last few days in Oslo have been very eventful, we have been busy - for once. Tuesday we updated the blog, caught up on emails, did some business for life back in Melbourne and borrowed Virgil and Julie’s bikes to ride around and do some things. But of course it was not all smooth sailing. Felix, who rarely feels any need to get going  and stop doing this and that while I’m waiting for him to go somewhere decided to call people, muck around trying to fix things of no urgency and do what ever else while I was waiting, under the impression we were trying to go somewhere. I mean its not like I care what time we leave, I only care when we are all ready to go, we’re almost out the door and “hang on,” I just want call ‘so and so’ or check this or that which leads on to something else which leads on to more talking and then something else. Well if I knew all this stuff ‘needed’ to be done before we go then don’t have me under the impression we’re going - because we’re not and I’m just standing around waiting when I could be doing something.

 Finally sometime after two we made it down into the garage and just as I thought we were finally underway, the chain on the bike I was riding broke. So we spent the next hour trying to fix the chain - with no luck. So Felix rolled down to the bike shop, luckily just down the road where a nice guy fixed the chain for the friendly fee of about four Australian dollars. A trip to BilXtra - a DIY car parts shop, a bookshop for maps, and the post office to send some gifts home and finally we were heading to where we were planning to go in the beginning, the Viking Ship Museum. 

 However, naturally because of the late start and delays the museum was closed by the time we got there. Riding a bike again was not as pleasant as I hoped, peak hour wasn’t quite done for the day, the streets were unfamiliar and the bike I was riding was terribly clunky and uncomfortable, the position and seat was killing me. I was trying so hard to enjoy myself,  I was so happy to have a bike to ride again but everything was just not flowing, so many things were just not working out. I was feeling like throwing the bike into something and falling into a bed where I could have hidden and cried, and maybe beaten the mattress and pillows as hard as I could to get some frustrations out without hurting myself

 Although the museum was shut, we still rode around the area which is quite nice before pedalling back towards home, mostly all down hill on the way, so, thats it, up hill most of the way home. I had spied great bunches of parsley at the Pakistani shop we visited with Jess a few days before so I had Tabouli salad on my mind. I was hanging out to make some. We were nowhere near the shop so I let myself be lead rather passively in the other direction. 

 So want to hear another of Felix’s theories? Well Felix has this idea that when we are staying with someone for a while and they have offered us food whenever and whatever we want, sometimes we should turn up for dinner already fed. Then when they offer us dinner, we can say (in semi honesty) “Oh thanks, I’m not really that hungry but if your making dinner I’d love a little.” We don’t say we stuffed out faces just before we got in, but then eating their food we should somehow feel less guilty about chomping down because we also ate before. I’m not sure how it works really but we often stop just before our destination and have a large snack. Fine with me, just a funny little  part of Felix I thought to share, all in good nature. Felix wants to point out that in this case Solveig had mentioned the day before that she would be tired after work and wouldn’t necessarily want to cook, so he thought it the right thing to play it safe and have eaten a bit.

 So on our way home we stopped at a KIWI market and collected a few snacks to have a little pre dinner at Vigelands Park, which was very nice to visit again briefly. We made it home very tired and sore , well I was, and had a nice relaxed evening with Solveig and Finn.

 Yesterday, was a much better day, in fact things went along very nicely. We were planning to ride the bikes again to the Viking Ship Museum and the Kontiki Museum but when I woke up it was pelting with rain, raining cats and dogs it was. So I went back to sleep and when I woke again an hour later it was still pummelling down. So Felix and I stayed in bed and watched a few episodes of Family Guy, an animated TV show we became addicted to in Germany thanks to Daniel and Alex. 

 Finn knocked on our door and offered to drive us to the museum on his way to an appointment. We gladly accepted his offer and an hour later we were creeping along in roadwork traffic. It was still raining when we reached the Viking Ship Museum. We paid our sixty kroner entry and had a wonderful and very fascinating two hours there. 

 In this museum there are three Viking ships and a bunch of other treasures and artefacts. It’s not a very large place but it is really amazing. The three ships are from around 900 AD and were preserved in burial mounds until they were discovered and excavated (one sometime around 1904, the others I’m not sure). When someone of wealth, royalty or great importance died, The Vikings took a ship (it is unknown if it was one the person used in their life) and on land built a little hut on deck, filled it with the persons treasures, possessions, sometimes a servant, animals and enough food, cooking and travelling equipment to last them the trip to their next life. They then buried the ship under a huge pile of rocks, moss, clay and dirt, making an excellent place for all this to be preserved. (I’m pretty sure not with us in mind.) Sadly all three burial mounds were broken into and the precious and valuable things stolen.

 So standing next to these massive majestic ships is very, very amazing. They were all built by hand, using no plans and all measurements taken by eye. They are so open and their hulls are like the belly of a whale. And to know that they were really made so, so long ago by real Vikings is so incredible. In the wing of the museum showing artefacts from the graves, was the only example of a Viking chair. Never, anywhere else in recorded history, is their any other record of Viking chairs. The only example of a Viking chair in existence is the one found in the ship of a wealthy lady. Pretty amazing.  

 After the Vikings, we walked about twenty minutes down the road to the Fram Museum. Fram is a spectacular example of Norway’s ship building Exploring achievements. She is a ship built like an egg, but of wood and everything braced to the max so she can sail into ice and when she becomes stuck and the ice tries to crush her, she just pops up out of it. The theory was to get her stuck in the ice then as the ice drifts closer and closer the the North Pole, Fram would get a free ride along with it.

 On her maiden voyage, all went to plan. They got stuck in the ice, she popped up nicely and wasn’t crushed, but the ice was drifting so slowly the crew thought they would never get anywhere. The sat stuck in the ice for three years, waiting, waiting, waiting. Not knowing if Fram would ever be freed again, not knowing if they would be stuck in the ice until they died, not knowing if they would ever make it to the Pole. 

 In a final bid to make something happen two men set out from Fram, in hope of finding something, someone or even maybe to reach the North Pole. They ended up bumping into another explorer and eventually making it home. In the meantime Fram became free from the ice and began making her way home. They hadn’t reached the North Pole but had carried out extensive arctic research and only lost one man to illness. On arriving home she was given a royal welcome, thousands of people lined the piers and other boats filled the harbour.

 Fram undertook about four more voyages including to Antarctica before coming to Oslo and was about to be stripped for parts and furnishings but one of the men very closely involved with her for her whole life insisted she be taken onto land and put in a museum. So the Fram Museum was built around her and she still stands there today. And how wonderful it was so se her and learn her incredible story. 

 We went onto her deck and down into her cabins and living spaces. It was so amazing to be inside her and see the cabins of the men who lived there, see the place were they ate and rested and amused themselves and each other during the frustrating three years stuck in the ice. Seeing her engines and all the spare parts and tools, and to stand under her and appreciate her size and shape was incredible. 

 And then there were stories to read and examples of food, clothing, medical supplies, kitchenware, hunting equipment, animal skins, documents and the hundreds and hundreds of other odds and ends carried on board. Another small museum but enough to keep us entertained for hours and well worth every cent.

 We left just before we were kicked out at closing time and caught a ferry back into the middle of Oslo, we went to a Turkish shop and found all the things we needed for making tabouli salad and stocked up on things for the ride North. Back at Solveig and Finn’s apartment I prepared the salad and Falafel for taking with us tomorrow and we had moose for dinner, prepared by Solveig

 We sat up late into the night talking with Finn about family history and history in general. It was such a nice few hours, Finn has seen many, many fascinating and incredible things in his life, it was a honour to hear his stories. When we went to bed we stayed up having a very nice talk on Skype to family back home until after three AM.

 So this morning we woke up at a very leisurely hour and packed up Nina and left Oslo about two PM. We rode about sixty kilometres out of Oslo then stopped for a few hours to have a late lunch of falafels. Felix noticed the same gasket that gave us trouble coming over the Swiss Alps was leaking again due to a loose head bolt that he noticed was damaged in Dösingen but only after he had ordered too few spares to replace it. We decided to carry on anyway and see how it felt. Now another twenty kilometres down the road we have stopped and Felix is pulling parts off Nina and trying to find a solution, at least he knows the problem and just has to try to find a solution to the threaded bolts not holding everything together. Their is a mechanic over the road thats why we have stopped here, so in the morning we can hopefully find some help there. Bloody hell, barely out of Oslo and we are broken down again. Really, how long can this go on?
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