Vikings and crowns

Trip Start Dec 23, 2012
Trip End Jan 23, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Norway  , Oslo,
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Temp. -9C

Bit of a slow start today, after yesterday took a lot out of me & my legs were sore all night. Thankfully today most of the ice on the footpaths had been scraped up so I didn't have to concentrate so much on where I was walking.

The agenda for today is history & culture. First stop the Folk Museum. The bus trip out there was very interesting as it obviously drove through the expensive suburbs with Norway's versions of Mega Mansions. On the way the bus past Kings Garden which is a huge public park with walking, bike & x-country skiing tracks. Close to this was the Royal Farm, which surprisingly again was quite open. No security fences or high walls.

In this suburb, you find 5 museums for various subjects. I guess you could say it's a history trail. The first I visited was the Folk Museum. It is a similar layout to Sovereign Hill, but twice the size & it covers eras from 1200 to present day. There are buildings that have exhibits with various artefacts including the indigenous Sami culture. Then you walk around the park to see different eras & styles of living, from a medieval village to a 1700s town. There is one building with apartments furnished in different time periods starting with 1600s and including 20th century, so the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s to present day. Unfortunately unlike Sovereign Hill, even though this place is open everyday, because it's winter & not the weekend, quite a number of buildings were shut & there was no one doing demonstrations or role plays. Apparently in the summer months there are festivals, theatre, markets etc. But what does make it better than Ballarat is that a majority of the buildings are not reconstructions but actual relocated historical buildings. Fascinating story of how this museum started. In the 1880s the King of Norway saw the need to preserve the country's culture. The 1st building brought here was a church built in the 900s. It's an amazing church with intricate wood carving & a very dark & solemn interior. Worth the effort still going despite the lack of atmosphere.

The 2nd visit for the day was the Viking Ships museum. It contains 3 actual Viking ships, the most intact record in the world. One in particular was virtually complete except for jewellery & weapons that had been stolen by grave robbers. The ships were not used for transport but were ceremonial burial vessels. They were found in burial mounds, and similar to Egyptians, had various artefacts buried with the body needed in the afterlife. The most complete of the 3 had been for a Viking Queen & therefore was the largest & most ornate. It was quite spectacular to see these ships considering the age & history. Obviously the Norwegians are very proud of their heritage. History fact for you; Vikings came from Norway, Sweden & Denmark, definetely not Finland. If you want to insult a Finnish person ask them if they have Viking ancestry, as they are very proud not to be associated.

I had also hoped to visit the Munch Art Gallery to see the famous 'Scream' painting.
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