This past weekend I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Oslo, Norway with three of my friends on the program. We arrived at our Airbnb on Thursday night to the mother of the owner of the apartment who let us in and showed us around. Known to us as our Oslo Grandmother, she was the sweetest little lady, even buying us fruit and juice before we got there and letting us know how worried she was when we arrived later than planned (it took us a while to figure out the public transportation system).
Before going to bed, we explored the apartment a little, before searching the Norwegian Netflix to see if there was anything interesting we could watch. We came across a Danish mini-series called Hjørdis. It’s only four episodes long and it features tons of diversity of all kinds (including diversity surrounding race, gender, sexuality, gender expression, and disabilities), shatters gender norms, and conquers bullying. Not to mention it’s delightfully clever and hilarious and adorable. I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced, and I recommend this show to everyone!
The next morning, Friday, we got up and grabbed breakfast before going to Central Station to get our Oslo Passes, which would get us into museums for free as well as get us free public transportation. They were definitely well worth the price and if you ever go to Oslo, look into them! We then explored the city for a little bit before heading over to do a bike tour. I also highly recommend a bike tour as a way to explore foreign cities. Not only is it super fun, (plus I now feel like I am partial to biking), but it’s a great way to see the highlights of the city and get to know the city a bit before you explore on your own. Plus, your bike tour guides will often have tons of suggestions on places to visit in the city. On the tour, we saw the old castle Akershus Festning, the City Hall and home of the Nobel Prize Peace ceremony, the main street of Karl Johans Gate and the Royal Palace, Vigeland Sculpture Park, and the modern harbor of Tjuvholmen/Aker Brygge. The Vigeland Sculpture Park was by far my favorite stop. It is a huge park with tons of beautiful flowers that is filled with sculptures from the artist Gustav Vigeland and it is breathtaking. The theme of the park is focused around the human experience and most of the sculptures featured men and women in different positions and poses as either individuals or in different group dynamics to depict this.
After the tour, we went home to regroup, before heading to the Frognerseteren Restaurant (a bike tour guide suggestion!), and a restaurant and café near the ski lift at the top of Holmenkollen, where there was a gorgeous view.
The next day was our museum day. We started out the morning by going to the Munch Museum, where there was a Munch and Van Gogh exhibit because I am destined to see as much Van Gogh as possible apparently (I mean no complaints here!). It was really interesting to see the similarities between both their works and the progression of their works as well as between their lives and the events that took place throughout their timelines, despite the fact that the two artists never met. After the Munch Museum, we headed to the Norsk Folkemuseum, an open-air museum that explores Norwegian cultural history through a collection of artifacts and mock homes from all of the social groups and regions of the country throughout history. It was really neat to see the different homes and to be able to walk through them. My favorite part was an apartment building in which each floor showed different mock apartment rooms from different decades to show how Norwegian people lived from 1879-2002. After the Folkemusuem, we went to the Viking Ship Museum because when in Norway! It really wasn’t as interesting as I expected, just because it was such a small museum, but it was cool to see some real Viking boats and to stand in awe at their large size. After the Viking Ship Museum we went to the Nobel Peace Center where there was an exhibit on the 2104 Nobel Peace Prize Winners Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi and their fights for children’s rights. There was also this amazing section called The Nobel Field in which all of the Nobel Peace Prize winners are depicted on screens around the room. If you walk up to them, they’ll change to give you information on the winners. It is this super modern room that has an aura of mystery and excitement and it is so so cool.
After the Nobel Peace Center we went to dinner and then headed to Sognsvann Lake, where we relaxed by the most beautiful lake. Only Courtenay had the guts to submerge herself in the water as it was pretty cold by the time we got there and the water was freezing, but I enjoyed just laying out and reading and enjoying the views! It was a perfect way to end the trip as the next morning we had to leave pretty early to head back to the airport. Overall, Oslo is an amazing city with a good mix of city and nature. Plus I love any city with water and Oslo has tons. Because I realize that I haven’t stuck to my list theme for a while, here is my tribute to my love of Scandinavia and socialism.
Reasons Why I Want to Live in Oslo, Norway (most are easily transferable to other Scandinavian cities/ountries):
- Universal healthcare
- Free education through college
- Highly subsidized childcare
- 49 weeks parental leave at full pay (to be split by the parents how they wish)
- Tons of electric cars
- Short work days and lots of vacation days (but the highest productivity!)
- Beautiful greenery and water everywhere
- Lots of boats
- Bikes have the right of way almost everywhere
- Four meal a day culture (and sometimes five)
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<p>A rising senior double major in Politics & International Affairs and Theatre, with a minor in Women's Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Andrea Anderson is passionate about social justice, exploring the world through different lenses, and tea. Though she may come across as shy and timid at first, this 4'10" girl never backs down from a feminist debate and she is is as willing to try something new as she is inclined to sit back with a glass of wine and an episode of Gilmore Girls. Her favorite things in life include hugs, Harry Potter, and Indian food, and she is so so excited to explore the beautiful culture of Amsterdam this summer.</p>