Norway in a Nutshell

We arrived in Oslo, Norway with our list of things to do and an idea of what order we wanted to do them in.  We spent our first night settling in and finding our bearings by walking around Oslo.

Norwegian Parliament Building (flag is up when Parliament is in session):

Thursday we got up and headed over to the City Hall, which is where the Nobel Peace Prize is handed out every year.

Nobel was Swedish and the rest of the Nobel Prizes are handed out in Sweden, but he wanted this one prize to be handed out in Norway (there are some assumptions to why he did this, but no one is sure).  We had an excellent guided tour by our guide, Ivan, who was paid by the city to give tours throughout the day at no charge.  They only had two murals on the wall of previous people who had received the Nobel Peace Prize: Obama and Wangari Maathai from Kenya.  I had the opportunity to meet Wangari Maathai when I was in Kenya at an Obama Election Party… kind of cool.

Pic in Oslo City Hall of Wangari Maathai receiving Peace Prize:

The City Hall is decked out in amazing artwork from different Norwegians.

Next, we took a ferry to the Folk Museum, which had what I was most excited about seeing that day: a Stave Church.  In the early 1200s, Norwegians (before they were Norwegians) used their wood working skills, which they acquired making boats, to make churches.  Stav in Norwegian means “staff” and you can tell that these churches are made from lots of tall, vertical staffs.  There used to be a little over a thousand of these churches in Norway, but now there are only 28.  Sadly wood burns….

Friday we headed northwest to see the famous Sognefjords of Norway on a tour called “Norway in a Nutshell.”  First, the express train from Oslo took us along the most mountainous stretch of railway in Europe.  It was impressive.  We sat across from two Norwegian college students and struck up a lively discussion as well.  One of them worked at a light bulb store for the summer, which she said was ironic because the sun sets at 11 PM and rises at 3:30 AM so no one needs light bulbs.  She said that yesterday she had sold six bulbs in eight hours.

Second, we hopped off the train and took an old-fashioned slow train to Flam, where we, third, jumped on a ferry to take us around the lower half of the Sognefjords.  This fjord is the longest at 120 miles long and the deepest at 1 mile deep.  Fjords were formed during the Ice Age three million years ago when glaciers advanced and cut their way to the sea, now Norway is left with this breath-taking piece of nature.  I took some 720p video with Knox’s GoPro camera to try to capture what the fjords are like:
I took out the audio and added a Song: “Doubting Thomas” by Nickel Creek:

Fourth, we leapt onto a bus, which brought us, finally, to one last train to Bergen.  Bergen is on the west coast of Norway and we walked to the waterside and had dinner there.  We sat enjoying dinner until we realized that everybody else had left and it was 10:30 at night, even though the sun was still out.  Tricky.  After this realization, we headed back to the train station to catch the overnight train back to Oslo.

We returned to a deeply troubled Oslo that morning.  However, we were blessed with Rachel finding a really cool person for us to stay with via couchsurfing, Alf.  Alf is taller than I am, which I don’t appreciate.  However, he welcomed us graciously and took the time to answer all of our questions about Norway: how health care works, how maternity and paternity leave work, how taxes work, and he patiently answered any question we could think up to ask him.  As with my previous couchsurfing experiences in Europe, I am impressed with how I have always found the most informative and best experiences can come from staying with someone who lives locally.  Alf was definitely a highlight for us in Oslo.  Thanks Alf.

We are now in safely in Copenhagen and I will write more after we move on to Helsinki, Finland.  God bless.

Electric Car We Passed: Notice the Charging Stations that were on a Few Streets:

Oklahoma License Plate I found in a bar while we were looking for a place to have dinner:

6 Responses to “Norway in a Nutshell”

  1. Dave Olson July 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    Great photos and video. What was the song in the video? Where was the OK plate and how did it get there?

    • RTQ July 27, 2011 at 3:52 am #

      The song is “Doubting Thomas” by Nickel Creek. We found the license plate as we looking for dinner in a bar.

  2. Helen Quiring July 26, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    Dad and I just watched your video and looked at your pictures. Neat! It’s interesting that Dave reacted to the same items we did. We were curious about the song(which we had never heard before) and how did you happen to come upon the US license plates? Thinking of you and wishing you safe and fun travels. Love, Mom

  3. Jon July 27, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    Enjoy Copenhagen! I remember visiting Denmark a number of years back and buying a bunch of Legos not available in the US. Don’t forget to see the mermaid 😉

    Will you be able to travel outside of Copenhagen? When I visited, I went with a friend up to Kronborg Castle (better known as Elsinore Castle from Hamlet). Such a beautiful castle and country.

  4. Allen Noah July 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    Robert:
    Thank you for sharing your journeys with us. I could feel the spiritual awe of experiencing such a beautiful expression of God’s handiwork.

    I look forward to tomorrow’s adventure.

    Your bro.
    Allen

  5. Jamie Hathorn July 31, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Thank you for sharing your adventures! I wish I was able to do half the cool stuff you can! I really enjoyed the pics and video! Hopefully, I’ll get to experience it for myself one day! When you are in Helsinki, there is some great architecture you should check out by Alvar Aalto, I believe one is the city hall building in Helsinki, as well as, the city library. Take lots of pics, be safe & have fun!!!

    Love,
    Jamie
    *aka* the Red-head 😉

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