Friday, May 15, 2015


When I made a list of what countries and cities I wanted to visit during my semester abroad, Scandinavia didn't really top the list. But sometimes you book trips at 1 am and end up having a blast!

Always trying to accomplish as much as possible, Tori and I decided to tackle Norway and Sweden in one weekend, taking advantage of our lack of Friday classes to spend two full days in Oslo and two full days in Stockholm (though we returned the morning of King's Day, the Netherlands' major holiday, and I would have liked a little time to rest before heading out in my orange gear!). 

I took WAY more pictures than I realized, and while this trip was supposed to fit into one post, I have to break it up; so, here's a few snaps from Oslo. I didn't have any expectations- none, zip, zero, zilch- about Oslo. I just didn't know what to expect and I didn't have a picture of it in my head. For Stockholm, all I could picture was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. 

However, I really, really loved Scandinavia. I really don't know what I was thinking, but I was so surprised by both cities, yet at the same time they felt very, well, Scandinavian- clean, beautiful, and manicured, particularly Oslo. We were also blessed by clear blue skies on our first day- I was ready for a cold and rainy weekend (which we got the next day). 

I'll let the pictures tell the story, but I loved Oslo. 

Our first stop was the National Gallery to see Edvard Munch's 'The Scream.' Munch is the only Norwegian painter I knew (he is surely the most famous Norwegian artist to date), and we knew if we came all the way to Oslo we had to see this iconic piece- it's the most stolen piece of art. There are actually four versions of the painting- one hangs in the National Gallery, while one hangs in the Munch Museum along with a pastel version. The fourth version was bought by financier Leon Black for $119,922,600 at Sotheby's in 2012 and hung in the MoMA in New York for a short time. 
First seen here. Please excuse my ridiculous expression (why am I raising one eyebrow?) but I had to take a touristy picture while we had the museum to ourselves. 

The royal palace.

I've been spoiled living in the Netherlands and I am not used to hills anymore!

The National Theatre. 

The Norwegian Parliament building. 

How perfect and adorable is this?

Akershuss Fortress. 

After exploring Oslo, we decided to take a ferry cruise across the Oslo fjord, which is the 4th largest in all of Norway. A fjord is basically a valley, with mountains on either side, filled with water. Norway is the only country with fjords (yes, the things they talk about in 'Frozen'). 

Summer houses on the Oslo fjord. 

Can I have one??

I guess they don't have to worry about neighbors...

On our walk to our hostel we stumbled upon the most adorable street by accident, and took lots of creepy pictures of these poor people's houses! I'm sure some of them were watching us in confusion, but sometimes you have to play tourist!

On our second day in Oslo, we only spent the morning in the city (you'll see where we spent the afternoon in my next post!). One of the things I really loved about Oslo is the big, green spaces seemingly plunked down in the middle of the city. 

We made our way back down to the ferry, where we hopped on and headed to the island where several museums are located, including the Viking ship museum. When you get off the ferry, you walk through a neighborhood full of gorgeous houses that look like they belong on Cape Cod or in East Hampton. I fell in love with this little island of white houses!

Tori wanted to visit the Nobel Peace Museum, something I had secretly also wanted to visit! This year's exhibit honors the latest winners, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, who both campaign for the rights of children to be educated. I've raved about my admiration for Malala before, so I was super excited to see her exhibit and learn a little more about the Nobel organization's decision to give her the award. 

I didn't take many pictures inside the museum, even though they were allowed, but I did take one inside this cool room where you can look at a tablet that tells all about every Nobel winner in history and why they were awarded! Even if you aren't up to date on the Nobel Prize, the museum is worth visiting if you're in Oslo and have a little time to kill- the museum is small and easily done within an hour but so worth it. 

We left Oslo for a quick little trip outside of town, more on that tomorrow, so stay tuned!

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