Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Norway 2

Lom stave church at night
We finished up our Juntenheimen/ Fjords touring with a daytrip into the famous Geiranger Fjord (viewed from above on Queen Sonia's chair and on the ferry)

and then back over an old mountain pass with waterfalls

and glaciers and a walk into the middle of the park.  The walk to Olavbu was a bit grey but we still had atmospheric views of the mountains and enjoyed a great sunset from the hut where we overnighted.

I was very glad we weren't camping when we set off after a nice warm night and breakfast into the threat of storms on the way back out!  It was beautiful country but we figured it was best not to push our luck with a longer trip home down an extra valley out to the car which when the wind and rain picked up was a good call!  After one last tasty bun in Lom we were back on the road.

Oslo is a great city with lots of interesting modern architecture. The iceberg inspired Opera House is fabulous!
There is an amazing park filled with Vigeland sculptures including an obilisk of figures.  We found a Somali restaurant with no menu which introduced us to some new tasty foods.  They were very nice given we had virtually no common language.  I was dubious about the addition of banana to curry vege and spice grilled meat with rice but it actually worked well.  Sadly both the Ethiopian places that Lonely Planet listed had closed but it did give us the opportunity to find Somali!

The Viking boat museum completed our Viking boat tour with three amazingly complete wooden boats.  They were again from Viking graves and were dug up in the early 20th centry after being found on farms near Oslo.  The mounds also included intricate carved wood sleighs and objects that are displayed.  I feel we've gained an appreciation of the Viking boats and their finds after seeing one in the ground, some rebuilt after being sunk and finally these very complete ones.  Nearby the Kontiki museum displayed a boat that was used to sail from South America to Tahiti as part of the "experimental archiology movement" to show ancient peoples had greater mobility than expected.
Renzo Piano has designed an impressive private art gallery down on the waterfront.  The exhibits are varied: some hits and some misses.  Although there was theoretically an emphasis on Scandinavian artissts I found it difficult to find at times.

While the National Gallery whet our appetite for scandinavian art and particularly Munch the Munch museum had a great exhibition of Much and his inspirations in nature.  His print making using wood that transferred the patterns of the grain in the wood was particularly lovely.  The camping overlooking the city in Ekeberg was good and had an adjacent sculpture park to enjoy.
After Oslo we went to Finneskogen on the Norway-Sweden border.  This nice wooded region with lots of lakes is a place which had lots of Finnish immigrants in the 1600s earning it's name.  It is known as being mystical with lots of traditional beliefs like sickness trees and markings on rocks still in practice today.  The proprieter at the camp ground was lovely and very knowledgable about the surrounding area and it's wildlife. Sadly we didn't get to see any of the wild Elk or bears that apparently live in the area but the walking was delightful.  I could not believe my luck in the pine forests where the understory is a carpet of blueberry bushes and they were in season!  To add to the variety there were raspberries growing where the trees had been felled.  In the end Tom ahd to remind me if we didn't stop picking and keep walking we may never make it back! We also got to criss cross in and out of Sweden on our hike.  Here's tom on the border cut through the trees.

The views of the lakes were nice too and we got our dream of camping on the beach of a lake.  What a great day when your greatest concern is whether the ducks will stop quacking overnight.  A nice end to our Norway stay and a contrast to the spectacular mountain scenery in the west.