Steve and Leslie's 2010 Baltic Sea Vacation

Day 2, August 5, Oslo, Norway

Breakfast at the hotel was included with our room, and this was a delightful buffet with lots of smoked salmon (of course!), delicious breads, omelets made to order and much, much more. It was difficult to restrain myself.

The weather looked auspicious for us to spend the day visiting the museums on Bygdøy Peninsula. One could take a bus there (it used to be an island but is now joined to the mainland), but since it was free with the Oslo Pass, we took the Mini Cruise. We expected the first trip of the day to be crowded, but there were only three or four others on board. The mini-cruise is on a converted sailing boat and was quite charming. From the port area it first visits the Oslo Opera House, which we would return to later. The design is intended to evoke a glacier sliding into the water, and you could (and we did later) walk up the roof.

Oslo Opera House

KonTiki and Fram museums on Bygd°y Peninsula

Close to the water are the Fram Museum and the KonTiki Museum. A 15-20 minute walk inland are the Folk Museum and the Viking Ship Museum. The walk was very pleasant, through a residential neighborhood with some very nice looking houses.

Bygd°y Peninsula

We started at the Norsk Folk Museum, which was described to me as sort of like Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, a centuries-old village kept in "the old style" and with reenactors and period-dressed guides. The first part of this is a set of buildings with various exhibits, surrounding a courtyard.

Folk Museum on Bygd°y Peninsula

Then we moved on to the outdoors section of the museum, with its sod-roofed houses and replica shops. There were also real craft shops with weaving, pottery, jewelry and more being created while we watched.

Folk Museum on Bygd°y Peninsula

Folk Museum on Bygd°y Peninsula

Folk Museum on Bygd°y Peninsula

Folk Museum on Bygd°y Peninsula

Next door was the Viking Ship Museum, with actual Viking ships, boats, carts and more that were preserved (and in some cases rebuilt.) A popular image of Vikings is that they wore horned hats, but that was someone's fanciful imagination. For the most part, the Vikings were seafaring thugs, though they did settle down in the end.

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

We walked back to the dock area, gradually accelerating as the dark clouds rolled in. Before the rain started, we made it to the Kon-Tiki Museum, which shows boats and rafts of Thor Heyerdahl and exhibits about his adventures.

Kon Tiki Museum, Oslo

We then walked over to the Fram Museum. We made it to the Fram Museum just as the rain started. The Fram is a large ship, billed as the "world's strongest", that made trips towards the North and South poles in the late 1800s and early 1900s. You can walk inside the ship (watch your head!) and see how the crew lived. There are extensive displays with artifacts from the voyages.

Fram Museum, Oslo

The Norwegian Maritime Museum was next door to the Fram, but it was pouring at the time and we decided to just browse the gift shop.

It was still raining hard and we took the regular public ferry back to the mainland. We were getting hungry and found a wonderful restaurant, D/S Louise, in a shopping arcade near the dock. The food was excellent and so was the service, though we had not yet realized that in Norway, you don't get the check unless you ask for it. I learned another lesson here as well, though it didn't sink in until the next day. According to the Lonely Planet guide for Norway, a "service charge" was included with most restaurant bills. I saw a "MOMS 25%" on the bill and thought that this included a service charge. Lonely Planet suggested rounding up the bill as a nice gesture, and I did that, but I mis-added the total. The waitress, whose service had been exemplary,asked my intention here and I carefully fixed the addition with the small round-up. It wasn't until the next day, when I asked at another restaurant, that I realized the 25% was all tax and that NO service charge had been included. I stiffed the waitress! I felt so ashamed... I made sure I didn't repeat the mistake.

That night, we settled into bed and I plugged in my white noise machine, which required a voltage converter. It had been fine the night before, but I heard a loud crack and the room plunged into darkness. Digging out a flashlight, I first tried to call the front desk, but nobody answered. I pulled on some clothes and went downstairs to explain the problem. First, the bellhop was sent up and he wandered back and forth trying to find out where the circuit breaker was. Then a manager came up and tried to do the same, without success. Finally they offered to move us to another room and we packed up our things. The new room was, ostensibly, a better one. It was bigger, to be sure, but it was in the old section of the hotel and faced the main street, which was noisy. Also, the layout of the room was awkward, with the bathroom directly next to the bed, and electrical outlets hidden behind furniture. We decided that for two nights we'd deal with it, and we did.

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