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Day Two: Oslo

Posted on Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Dave!I don't even want to think about how much money I spent today.

And all I really bought was postcards, guidebooks, pamphlets, and such. But when a postcard can cost as much as $3.00, it all adds up very quickly. Karla warned me again and again not to try to translate Norwegian Kroner into U.S. Dollars or else I'd have a total breakdown, but it's kind of hard not to. When I'd buy a tiny little stack of souvenirs and the total comes to 250 Kroner, my mind is instantly converting that to $50 then deflating in my skull. Oh well... there's always bankruptcy.

Since most museums are still running on winter hours, there is very limited available time to see everything I'd like to. But I did pretty good, managing to see nine museums in ten hours...

Oslo Museums

Which was not easy. But Karla had given me a map and some advice, so thanks to trams, busses, subways, and a lot of walking, I managed just fine with some careful planning...

Oslo Dave Museum Map

Munch-Museet (Munch Museum). Brilliant impressionist artist Edvard Munch is easily one of Norway's most famous artists, so visiting his museum was a no-brainer. It's small, but the collection is quite good. Oddly enough, Munch's most famous painting, The Scream, is not here.

Nasjonalgalleriet (The National Gallery). Munch's The Scream IS at The National Gallery, however... along with an astounding collection of other works. I limited my time here to an hour, but could have easily spent half my day in awe of the treasures here. Features a good number of scenic works from this beautiful country.

Bygdøy. On my first day here, Karla gave me a walking tour, and highly recommended a trip to Bygdøy because of the excellent museums there. I opted to take a boat trip, which affords excellent views of the city as you head out...

Oslo Bygdoy

Here is where I got a lot of walking in because I didn't have time to waste waiting on buses. As I was heading inland to my first Bygdøy museum, I was surprised to see the Apple Macintosh Command Key logo on a sign along the way...

Oslo Apple Sign

Sure enough, a search at Wikipedia turns up that Apple Designer Susan Kare did indeed take the logo from a symbol she found on Scandinavian maps denoting "a place of cultural interest." You learn something new every day!

Norsk Folkemuseet (Norwegian Folk Museum). This museum was a total surprise. I was expecting to come here and find a collection of Norwegian folk arts, and indeed they have them. Lots of them. Like this stunning detail from an embroidered vest...

Oslo Folkemuseet

What I was not expecting was the 155 historic buildings which have been gathered here in a massive outdoor walking museum. It's a fascinating collection, and includes a 13th century stave church in pristine condition...

Oslo Folkemuseet

Absolutely magnificent, and I believe it was the inspiration for the church reproduction that can be found in the Norway Pavilion of Epcot's "World Showcase" at Walt Disney World (which I blogged about here). The only downside to this museum was that the trails are covered with compact snow over gravel, leaves, and dirt, making for VERY scary climbs up and down hills. I nearly fell and cracked my ass on more than a couple occasions. Still, it was well worth the risk, and I really wish I could have had more time here.

UPDATE: In going through my photos, I found a different angle which confirms that this is indeed the church that Disney used to model their version. It's the exact same except that they've stripped off the crosses. This is odd when you consider that Disney still calls it "Stave Church," but I guess they're trying to be all PC and stuff. Kind of lame, really, you'd EXPECT a church to have crosses...

Oslo Church Disneyfied

Vikingskipshuset (Viking Ships Museum). Contains three of the best-preserved viking ships in existence and other Viking treasures. A very nice museum that seems almost impossible when you consider how old these ships are...

Viking Ships Museum

Norsk Sjøfartsmuseum (Norway Maritime Museum). Consisting mostly of detailed scale models of various ships throughout Norway's extensive history with navigating the world's seas, this museum wasn't really my cup of tea. I did enjoy the 20-minute "panorama movie" showcasing dozens of Norwegian coastal cities I'd love to visit. So many beautiful little fishing villages built on a scattering of rocky ocean outcroppings... you could spend a lifetime exploring them all.

Frammuseet (The Fram Museum). The "Fram" is a world-famous ship which made many inspirational expeditions... the most renowned being the journey where Roald Amundsen became the first to reach the South Pole in 1911. I had thought the building would just have a bunch of artifacts and information about the ship's history, so you can imagine my surprise when I walked in the door and found THE ENTIRE FRICKIN' SHIP ENCLOSED IN THE BUILDING...

Oslo's Fram Museum

Amazing. This was easily my favorite museum of the day, and totally worth a trip to Norway to visit. Not only can you explore hundreds of artifacts from the ship, but you can actually walk onboard and look around inside it. Sweet! The thing is massive, and no photo can really put it into scale. Though I did try...

Oslo's Fram Museum

Kon-Tiki Museet (The Kon-Tiki Museum). This museum contains the famous boat constructed by Norwegian ethnologist Thor Heyerdahl who wanted to prove that people from South America could have settled the Polynesian Islands. Using only ancient tools available at the time, Heyerdahl created the Kon-Tiki and sailed it 4,300 miles over a 101 day period back in 1947. You can read more about the fascinating voyage here...

Oslo Kon-Tiki Raft

Museet for Samtidskunst (Norwegian Contemporary Arts Museum). I am not a big fan of "modern art" so this museum already had a strike against it. But things went from bad to worse when I went inside and discovered almost all of the museum areas were closed. I understand that winter is the slow season and the best time to change out exhibits, but this was ridiculous and they shouldn't even have bothered to keep it open.

Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst (Astrup Fearnley Museum for Modern Art). This museum became famous after purchasing Jeff Koons "Michael Jackson and Bubbles." I'm guessing there must be multiple copies, because I'm certain I've seen it before. Or maybe it gets moved around, I don't know...

Koons Michael Jackson

In any event, I went to the museum expecting to see it there. What I was not expecting to see was another Koons creation hanging to the left of it called "Blow Job-Ice." Apparently this is one in a series of hard-core pornographic works showing Koons having all kinds of sex with his porn-star ex-wife Ilona (you can see them here, but this link is obviously Not Safe For Work). Frightening.

And that's all the museums I had time for today before everything started closing. Hopefully I'll have time to do more exploring when I'm back Friday.

After all that I went to the grocery store. If you want to take a look at what I found there, I've put it in an extended entry...

Oslo Groceries

As I had guessed, there's a lot of really pricey groceries to be had in Oslo. Though, for some reason, I actually think that the Corn Flakes are cheaper than they are back home. Odd...

Frozen Pizza: $9.25
Small Carton of Orange Juice: $5.85
Carton of Six Eggs: $4.30
Wedge of Premium Cheese: $27.25
Box of American-Style Frozen Burger Patties: $9.75
Snickers Bar: $1.70
Six Small Tomatoes: $4.90
Herbal Essence Shampoo: $5.85
Box of Corn Flakes: $4.70

Karla has already blogged about the wacky names they give toilet paper here, but they're totally amusing and bear repeating...

Oslo Toilet Paper

These packages are quite a bit cheaper at the grocery store than the $4.50 single rolls I found yesterday. Interesting how going "Long and Soft" costs you $5.80, whereas "Wipe and Clean" is just $3.50... you'd think it would be the other way around, judging from the sound of things. When I wipe my ass, I want it to be as clean as possible... apparently Norwegians have different priorities.

UPDATE: Ah! As "SeaSlug" points out, the "Wipe and Clean" are actually paper towels... I hadn't noticed. This is even more vexing, because I think it makes a better name for toilet paper!

Once I had done some comparison shopping, I grabbed a bag of SMASH! candies, which Karla had recommended I try. They're Bugles Corn Chips drenched in creamy milk chocolate. Of course, now I am totally addicted. EVIL KARLA! EVIL!!!

Alrighty then... since it's almost midnight and I have to get up in 5-1/2 hours to catch a train, I suppose I'd better call it a day.

My vacation is passing waaaaayyy too quickly...

Categories: Travel 2008Click To It: Permalink


  1. ssp says:

    They used to have one of the Scream paintings at the Munch museum but I think it was stolen a few years back. IIRC it has been recovered and should be back on display at some stage.

    You shouldn’t miss out on Vigeland park while you’re there.

    And wait until you go out and discover the six Euro beers…

  2. SeaSlug says:

    Hey, your second package of toilet paper appears to be kitchen towels, eh? See the little note on the bottom right — the first package says “4x toilet” and the second one says “2x kitchen.”

  3. kapgar says:

    That’s gotta be one of the coolest reasons for choosing any logo. It symbolizes a place of cultural interest? How cool is that? Just heightens the coolness quotient of Macs.

  4. Mrs. K says:

    I’m just glad it wasn’t Michael and Bubbles in Blow Job Ice!

  5. Oooo! Those Smash candies sound amazing! If you ever find them in the states, let us know!

  6. Beth says:

    I especially love the puppies and cherubs thrown in between all the blow jobs and dildos. It just makes good sense.

    I can’t believe you made all those museums in one day – that is making the most of your travel dollar!!

  7. thanks for the evening porn. now i want chocolate covered bugles!

    i’m thrilled that you are getting this chance to travel and have these experiences. enjoy!

  8. Sayuri says:

    Dave, seriously dude.

    Don’t. Convert. Your. Prices.

    Karla is right it will make you insane.

    It’s so weird to see the same places but covered in snow. I have been to Oslo in the Winter before but usually in November and it never seems to frickin’ snow.

  9. kilax says:

    Is that museum in the lower left icon the one with the boat in it? I wanted to ask you what was in that one!

  10. adena says:

    I don’t think “Long and Soft” is really a slogan you want to use for paper that will be used in…um…intimate areas.

    Especially if you’re marketing for male consumers.

  11. Karl says:

    Whew, good thing those price tags aren’t in dollars! $29 for a jug of orange juice would be a tad exorbitant.

  12. kaelb says:

    I am absolutely sure that “Michael Jackson and Bubbles” is at the SFMoMA. Unless, of course, they moved it.

  13. Troy says:

    Hmm. That Michael Jackson thing reminds me of the Wayne Gretzky in Pastels (by Andy Warhol) that I saw in the Brussels Modern Art. Weird in a way that you didn’t expect 🙂

  14. amandarin says:

    The Scream was stolen from that museum in 2004 and recovered two years later. It’s not on display now because the museum has yet to upgrade the security system.

    (According to my Norwegian friend Thomas “they’ll get around to it eventually.”)

  15. Iron Fist says:

    That Koons work sure is, uh…art.

    It’s funny the little ways cultures differ — I can’t imagine something like ever hanging in a mainstream American museum.

  16. Suzanne says:

    I agree with ssp. The Vigeland Sculpture Park is not to be missed.

    Happy belated birthday!

  17. turnbaby says:

    You RAWK as a vacation posting blogger.

    And I am totally holding of for the dark chocolate Cap’n Crunch.

  18. Göran says:

    Nine museums in 10 hours! That´s a world record. Were drugs involved? 😉

    I really liked the Kon-Tiki Museum. Frammuseet looks great, I´ll have to visit that next time.

  19. jake titus says:

    great travel post. Sad that I’m not doing the same right now. Happy that you are. Be safe, have a great trip.

  20. Mr. Fabulous says:

    Seen any Norwegians yet?

  21. diane says:

    Wow. I never knew I wanted to go to Norway, but now I do thanks to you Dave! Thanks! 😉

  22. Miss Britt says:

    Wipe and Clean.

    Now that’s marketing I can get behind.

    None of this “extra quilted” shit.

  23. Patty says:

    Looks great there….closest I’ve been is Sweden. Thanks for sharing, enjoying the vacation posts!

  24. Lewis says:

    I can’t believe that I missed a few days on the internet and YOU LEFT ME! High and dry. In the dirt. For some LONG AND SOFT floozie. Damn you. My first attraction with Norway was in the early 1970s (long before you were born).

  25. Wow, this was FASCINATING! That should hush up those who thought a trip to Oslo was an odd choice. There were so many amazing things to see and do. I’m loving it! Thanks, as always, for taking us along on the journey.

    PS: The command key icon was super find.

  26. Tracy Lynn says:

    Wow, porn with my raisin bran. Not nearly as disturbing to me as the kitten sculpture.

    Yeah, I probably need some coffee.

  27. sam says:

    When I was there in 2003 The Scream was still at the Munch Museum. Some guys walked in there, picked it up off the wall and walked away with it a few years ago.

    You’re going to hemorrhage if you keep converting the prices.

    (While there we were on the hunt for the most expensive hamburger and fries.. it came down to a little restuarant that was $35US)

  28. ajooja says:

    “Wipe and Clean” sounds like a great name for a sitcom. Awwwww, yeah!

  29. ChillyWilly says:

    Fascinating history and artifacts. Amazing how much they have there and the number of museums.

    As for the grocery store visit, that was equally fascinating to me. I’m always interested to see what things cost in other countries, especially since the dollar is a worthless piece of shit.

    I’ve seen Jeff Koons work before, but didn’t realize the “art” he did with his pornstar wife…. Ripped from the pages of Hustler.

  30. karla says:

    I’ve lived here for almost 6 years now and you make me feel totally guilty that i have seen maybe 4 of those museums in that time. And you saw then in ONE DAY.

    Kinda hate you. Eat more Smash, willya? BWAHhahahahahahahaha……well, at least now i know what to send you in care packages.

  31. Hilly Sue says:

    You seem to be getting a LOT out of this vacation so yay you! I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  32. Uhm, and Herbal Essences hasn’t put their shampoo in bottles like that in like….3 or more years. (I am a shampoo goddess so I know these things.)

  33. Penelope says:

    This is like an armchair holiday where you get to do all of the work and I don’t have to spend the money! Oslo makes England look cheap, which isn’t easy to do lately!

  34. Stephanie P says:

    Hey, Dave. Happy belated birthday! I’m glad you’re out there enjoying yourself. I’m also glad you didn’t get hurt slipping and sliding at the 13th century stave church. You may want to take a look in the mirror to be sure your ass isn’t, in fact, cracked. I wouldn’t be so sure. Keep me posted.

  35. liz says:

    I stumbled upon your blog TODAY and it does my heart good that someone out there took a vacation just to go some place new. I love the adventurous spirit!

    Happy return trip-

  36. ETinNY says:

    I especially like the maritime theme museums. I’ve always had a special interest in Kon Tiki ever since I read Heyerdahl’s book when I was in Junior High School. Thanks for taking us with you, Dave.

  37. othurme says:

    I now realize what she actually said, but originally I somehow misread that Kentucky Girl was indicating Herbal Essence wouldn’t be putting their shampoo in those bottles for three more years and then thought to myself how it really would take a Shampoo Goddess to know that.

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