Mårkk Alsøps Top Deck Scenic Scandi tour - Norway
Trip Start May 01, 2009
48Trip End Ongoing
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It was only a short flight, around an hour and a half, and left Stansted at 9:30am bound for Torp, Sandefjord in Norway. As I went with a budget airline I flew into a smaller airport, so had to catch a bus into Oslo itself, which took around 2 hours.
As this was my first trip to a country where English isn't the main language (other than a one day trip to France), I was a bit curious as to how hard it would be to find my way around. When I landed at Torp all of the Norwegian signs had English translations below them, which helped, but it wasn't the same everywhere
Once I arrived at the central bus station in Oslo, I had about 4 hours before we had to meet up with the rest of the group who were arriving from Stockholm, so I went for a quick wander around the closer parts of the city. It was an interesting little wander, and I quickly learned how expensive Norway is. A quick look at a Burger King sign showed that a double whopper with cheese meal costs NOK105, or around NZ$25! (I'd guess that you'd pay around $8-9 for that in NZ!).
Later in the day I caught the bus to the campsite without any problems, and met up with Roma our tour leader from Lithuania, Deans the driver from Australia, and Matt the cook from South Africa along with the rest of the tour group. It was a bit awkward at first as everyone else had already been on the road together for around 10 days so they all knew eachother, but everyone seemed pretty friendly and got on alright. Once I had met up with the group I felt much more at ease, as I knew that if anything went wrong now, it wouldn't be up to me to worry about fixing it!
For the first full day of my tour, we visited the Vigeland Sculpture Park, a public park on the outskirts of Oslo with over 200 granite and bronze sculptures created by Gustav Vigeland
Next stop was at a Viking Museum, which had a few viking ships on display. These were discovered amoungst burial mounds for members of the upper classes buried hundreds of years ago. Three ships in varying condition were on display. The Tune ship dates from around 900AD, the Oseberg ship was built in the early 800s, and the Gokstad ship was built around 890. It was great to see these boats, and I was amazed at how good the condition of some of them was.
Following this I went to the Kontiki Museum, which was dedicated to the Kon-tiki voyages across the Pacific (and elsewhere) undertaken by Thor Heyerdahl and his team in the late 1940s to prove that the South Americans could have settled in Polynesia using relatively simple boats. The museum contained a lot of interesting artifacts and interesting stories.
After that I caught a ferry over to the centre of Oslo with Sarah, a teacher from Australia. We then went and explored the city on foot, and saw the Akershus Castle by the wharves, a mini bottle gallery, the Royal Palace, St Olav's Church, the National Theatre and the Nobel Peace Centre.
After a few long hours of walking around, and once the rain started to set in in the late afternoon, we decided to find a pub and have a beer, and what better place to stop than a pub called the Beer Palace! I tried a local beer called Borg, and at NZ$17 a glass it certainly wasn't cheap...just the one then!