If you’ve landed on my blog before now you’ll probably know from me going on and on about it that I loved Oslo. I wrote about why I thought it was so great here, but today I just wanted to talk about a morning we spent there. It was one of those times when you’re travelling that everything just seems wonderful and lovely and funny without one particular reason making it so, and it’s one of my favourite memories from our Scandinavia trip.
It’s also something I might have been tempted to skip from our itinerary, but I’m glad we didn’t. Plus we took a lot of photos, so I thought it would be nice to post about it specifically, rather than just mentioning it in other posts.
The weather was pretty glorious when we were in Norway’s capital; think blue sky, bright sunshine, and the type of medium temperature which means you’re not too hot with a jacket, but not too cold without one. When we woke up on our first full day the sun was streaming into our loft apartment, and having enjoyed what we’d seen of the city the previous evening, we were looking forward to exploring. I wasn’t feeling rushed about it though – for some reason, Oslo made me way more easygoing than a city break usually does, as I’m normally more of an oh-my-god-we-must-be-out-by-8am-and-see-stuff kind of city breaker (no YOU sound like a really fun person to go away with…).
We ate toasted rye bread and banana for breakfast with a cup of coffee, and discussed our plans for the day. Our host has said that Vigeland Sculpture Park was worth seeing and it seemed as good a place as any to start, particularly given the weather, so we hopped on the number 20 bus from Torshov (more about our Airbnb in this post) to Vigelandsparken stop.
When we got off the bus it was onto quite a vast expanse of grass; turns out that Vigeland Sculpture Park is actually part of a much larger public park called Frogner Park. It’s super easy to access by public transport and a really cool place to spend a morning wandering, especially in good weather.
Everyone seemed to be heading in much the same direction, so we took a path from the gates that the bus stopped at and soon found ourselves in Vigelandsparken, the sculpture park displaying works of Gustav Vigeland. Hands up here – I’m no art buff. There’s no real insight that I can give on that side of things, so hopefully if you are super into Vigeland’s work you don’t think I’m too ignorant.
Anyway, the subjects of these sculptures are all naked. Naked men. Naked women. Naked children. Naked pairs and groups. Much nudity, basically. There are over 200 of the things, and some of them make for quite an amusing mix of reactions; people looking sheepish, people trying to look dead serious and arty (or maybe they actually were), people giggling, and the odd person just roaring with laughter at a particularly humourous coupling. I mean it shouldn’t be, but it’s kind of weird in a way, unless you happen to spend your time looking at sculptures of willies and boobs and bums – but it’s also totally adorable seeing people reacting to them and posing with them. There’s a lot of this involved (soz Rob):
The fact that the place is pretty vast meant that how busy it was (very – its a big attraction and coachloads of tourists get dropped at the gates) was nowhere near as annoying as it can be elsewhere. In fact, it was actually enjoyable to explore the sculptures and fountains and gardens with other people since it didn’t involve having to slow to a standstill or squeeze past anyone. Instead, it involved a lot of amusement at people imitating the sculptures and knowing smiles between strangers, I guess because hey, we’re all human and we all have bums and we’re looking at a sculpture of a bum and isn’t that funny?
The park contains several particularly notable pieces, but it’s also beautifully maintained, very interesting, and free of charge, so well worth a look even if you’re not into art. We wandered in the sun between sculptures until I’m pretty sure we had seen every last one, unrushed and full of the feeling of freedom that only travel brings. When we’d lost all ability to tell one naked sculpture from the next we made our way towards a bus stop where – we hoped – we would be able to hop on a bus to the Viking Museum.
In case you’re wondering, that all went according to plan and our day continued in the same positive vein, but I’ll leave it here for now. It’s not like we did or saw anything mindblowing I know, but I started this blog in part to record things that I wanted to remember – and as I enjoyed this particular morning so much I wanted to make sure I wrote it down before any more time passes and I forget even more of the little details. Does anyone else ever feel the need to do that?
Oh Oslo, I enjoyed your naked sculptures and I love your excellent vibe.