Flåm ⇒ Oslo
Tuesay, July 5th
We took the 8:30am train to Oslo from Flåm. We traveled on the famous Flamsbana Railway to Myrdal and changed trains for the rest of the journey. Our short, 1hr, ride to Myrdal was complete with 2 stops -one a view of the mountains and another a view of a waterfall. Then, another 4hrs to Oslo. It really was a beautiful journey, and one I would highly recommend to anyone traveling in Norway.
The Oslo train station – Oslo Sentralstasjon – is huge AND a mall! We couldn’t even figure out which exit to take to our hotel without asking. Fortunately, the hotel, Clarion Royal Christiania Hotel, was just across the street. The hotel is old but nice and our family room was rather spacious. Breakfast is included and the location is central to most everything we wanted to do or to pubic transportation.
I had a horrific migraine, so Bryan and the kids went on a walkabout before dinner. We were all craving Asian, so we headed to Rice Bowl – a local Thai restaurant with decent reviews, allergy info and an easy walk. Perfect. I had green curry that could burn your eyebrows off, Bryan had Tom Ka soup, Lincoln had Chicken Satay and Tip had fried rice. We were all satisfied and sleepy. We stopped for an ice cream on the way to the hotel mostly because you see ice cream eaters everywhere, and it seemed the thing to do. Then off to bed after a long day of traveling.
Wednesday, July 6th
We decided to walk to the harbor and then take a ferry across to 2 different ship museums on the island of Bygdøy. First up, the Viking Ship Museum.
The museum houses 3 different Viking ships: The Oseberg, The Gokstad and The Tune. All 3 were uses as funeral ships for burials of prominent citizens of the Viking community. There were intricate wooden carvings and elaborate items included in the ships for burial goods to support the dead in the passage and afterlife. It is truly amazing to see items created in 800-900ad.
We moved on to the Fram Museum next. The Fram is an exhibit of the polar ship that traveled the farthest the north and south poles. The entire inside of the museum is the ship. There are 3 different levels you can walk with walls full of information about Nordic travels and survival. There is an section geared towards kids that is very hands on: could you pull a sledge – test your strength; could you shoot a polar bear – test your shooting skill; could you traverse frozen surfaces – test your balance and agility; etc. You can walk through all of the different levels of the ship and see the cabins, mess, engines, etc. It is really a well done exhibit with so much information. The cafe is even situated on one of the levels with various little nooks with tables and pictures from expeditions. We all loved it.
We caught the ferry back to the harbor and walked back to the hotel briefly before returning to the harbor for a dinner cruise. My mom’s good friend, Carol, who used to live in Norway, suggested we take a shrimp cruise on the fjord, so we booked it!
You sail out of the harbor on the fjord and eat and drink and listen to music. It was lovely, and I’m so glad we did it. We ate gobs of shrimp – all of which were loaded with tons of eggs somehow! We even saw a rainbow!
Travel is often enhanced by the people you meet, and we met a young boy from Saudi Arabia traveling with his family. We visited with him the entire cruise back, and he was fantastic. He spoke about the horrors of his part of the world, and was terrified that Lincoln went to camp. Where he is from, going to camp is dangerous and children are stolen regularly. He also had sage words for Lincoln about watching movies for older kids that will give you nightmares and for drinking soda that will rot your teeth and make you crazy. He talked about bullying and treats and soccer and playing video games, too. It was wonderful for Lincoln to experience the enrichment of worldly connection. We docked and his family headed in one direction while ours headed in another. A full day, fuller bellies and sleepy heads and we landed in our beds.
Thursday, July 7th – Our final day
We have fallen into a pattern of sleeping in until just before breakfast finishes! However, we always make it in time!
We ventured on the trams today to the Vigeland Sculpture Park. I love public transportion and sincerely wish we had something better in Austin. It is just so easy. The day was brillant blue and just the right temperature – the locals thought it was warm – hahahaha. The sculpture park is vast and teeming with tourists. We were able to find a quiet spot at the top after wandering through all the gardens and sculptures to enjoy the lovely day.
After we had our fill, we made our way back to the entrance for Lincoln to play on the massive playground before heading back to our neck of the woods for a brief break before dinner.
On the way back, we decided to stop off at the harbor again for a snack since we missed lunch. What’s a little travel without getting lost! We got off on the wrong stop, wandered around for a bit before finding our way and listened to a cranky boy who’s BONES were tired at this point. We found some food trucks around the harbor and purchased 2 Austin Burgers (fitting), chicken tacos and nachos without the nacho cheese – that’s extra! Then we had ice cream – again because it seems to be what you do here in the short summer.
Once back at the hotel, we took a break, packed, read, watched movies and restored ourselves for our last dinner of the trip. Carol suggested Ekeberg Restaurnt for its view of the harbor and lovely food. We weren’t dissapointed with the food or service and the night was just as lovely as the day. A wonderful end to our voyage.
It was wonderful. Now we’re all headed to pack and bed in preparation for our 5am departure time from the hotel. Flight is at 7:55a to London and then on to Austin with an arrival time of 4pm.
As I am writing this last bit at 12:30am, Lincoln is still awake. I hope it is not a horrible trip home! We’ll be home tomorrow, y’all!
Oh, I keep forgetting to post these two pics – frequent images of our trip…
Next up…the trip home and recap! Hard to believe it’s over, but I’m looking forward to tacos, my own bed and home, sweet home!