In search of the mighty Aquavit
Trip Start Jun 12, 2005
14Trip End Jul 02, 2005
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Where I stayed
When we finally did get going we walked up to the National Gallery. The museum was smaller than I expected but contained an interesting collection mainly of Norwegian artists or of others (Gaugin, Picasso, Manet, Van Gogh, Degas, Matisse and Cezanne) painting or sculpting scenes of Norway. Their was of course many regular paintings as well. The collection spanned from early works from the 17th century to a vast collection of 20th century modern art, focusing a lot on cubism. From many of the more modern pictures you could see where the "Scandinavian Design" (think IKEA) is derived from
After the museum we walked up through the Royal Palace and its gardens, through the upscale Majorstua district (home of all the embassies, etc...) to Frognerparken and its centerpiece Vigeland Park. This is a beautiful 80-acre park that is decorated with 212 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. Vigeland's works in the park have a wide range, showing elderly couples, small children and intertwined couples. You can see from the pictures the interesting design of his works. We relaxed and had lunch in the park for a few hours (we were still pretty tired from the early wake up and Pistons loss).
For dinner we headed out to the Grunerlokka district. It was highly touted in Lonely Planet and this free Oslo guide we picked up (if you come to Oslo the Use-It Budget guide is a great resource for cheaper and FREE stuff...Oslo is damn expensive so this thing can help out a little)
After dinner we headed to this cool Jazz club named Bla (yes very similar to the all important saying of "Blah, Blah, Blah..."). As we were walking down the small road the club was off of, we came across what seemed to be a Porn shoot...the things you don't see everyday in America. When we finally did find Bla (it was set back and tucked away behind a few warehouses and along the river), we were quite impressed. It was pretty hoppin' for only 10 PM but we somehow managed to snag a little table outside along the river. You can hopefully see from the picture the cool setting of Bla
After Bla we had one more task to fulfill before we left. I had to have Norway's national drink Aquavit. Arvid had told me about it in Voss a few days prior and I was determined to sip on some before we left. Sall (our crazy Italian waiter from the night before) had recommended we venture up to the top of the SAS/Radisson hotel and enjoy their Bar that overlooks the entire city. 34, as it was called due to its location on the 34th floor, was definitely worth the trip. Although a tad overpriced (as most bars of this nature are, think Signature Room in the Hancock), it offered an amazing view of the city. The hotel was the tallest building in Oslo so we looked down upon everything. The sun was still up as we looked out the north, poking through the overcast sky forming quite a scene (see picture). One of the smaller buildings below us was also shooting off a fireworks display, which was quite nice. Most importantly however, they HAD Aquavit. Aquavit "is made from a grain or potato mash that is fermented and then double distilled. The second distillation features the addition of various flavorings, which can include one or more of the following: caraway (the most common), cumin, cardamom, lemon peel, aniseed or fennel." It has a very distinct smell and taste and was quite strong straight
So now we have arrived at the far away Torp airport (2 hour bus ride from Oslo) to part for a few days. Ashley is off to visit her friend Stephanie in St. Andrews, Scotland and I am off to wander aimlessly around the streets of London, and to visit Eric as he moves in for the summer study in Middlebury's Breadloaf Program at Oxford.
Catch ya on the flip side from Jolly 'ol England,
- M and A