Continued from Part 7
Day 27 (Trollhättan > Oslo)
It's not that I'm trying to be terse, it's just that nothing happened.
Got up. Paid for camping. Packed up tent. Picked raspberries. Ate lunch. Walked to train station. Caught train. Very crowded. Got to Oslo S(urely no more Oslo S jokes?) Failed to find correct bus stop. Found correct bus stop. Got to campsite. Put up tent. Had shower. Ate sausages. Played chess. Slept.
Day 28 (Oslo)
A day of five museums. We set off from Ekeberg Camping (good facilities, great views over Oslo) at about 1000, then walked from Jernbanetorget (the bus station) to the Radhus, where we caught a ferry to the Bygdoy peninsula. We'd bought Dagkorts for 50kr, so buses, trams, T-bane and ferries were all free.
First up was the Viking Ships Museum. This was simply presented, with the three ships in three wings of the building and additional finds in the fourth. The boats were exceptionally well preserved and you had to remind yourself frequently that they were over 1000 years old.
I continued alone to the Kon-Tiki museum which appealed since I had brought the 'Kon-Tiki Expedition' to read during the trip. Though the expedition didn't tell me anything about the voyage that I didn't know already, seeing the raft itself put the book into perspective.
Another ferry and some confused wandering (I misread the map) led me to the museum for contemporary art. There were rather too many uninspiring black and white photos and squares of colour for my liking, but the collection of Ilya Kabakov was worth the admission price alone. "The Man Who Never Through Anything Away" was a truly bizarre installation. Kabakov kept and catalogued every piece of rubbish he had, so there are walls full of tiny scraps of paper, fabric, buttons, nail clippings etc etc etc all labelled and dated.
Museum no 4 was the National Gallery. All the ususal suspects were there: Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, as well as Norwegian painters like Dahl and of course, Munch's "The Scream" was there.
My final museum of the day was the Munch museum itself. This held 20 more versions of "The Scream". There was also an amusing temporary exhibition "Echoes of the Scream" showing how other artists, cartoonists and advertisers have used Munch's timeless image.
Back at the campsite we went on a wild goose chase seeking the local Rimi. Having failed completely I went to get beefburgers from the Spar instead. The penultimate night!
Day 29 (Oslo)
I was first up and first into Oslo this morning; two bus rides took me to the Vigeland Sculpture Park in the northwest of the city. The number of coaches parked outside suggested I hadn't chosen the best time to come - a view confirmed by the crowds of people crossing the bridge into the park.
Once inside though it was impossible not to be impressed. The tall obelisk in the centre was surrounded by sculptures of men, women and children playing, fighting, sitting and standing, all brilliantly captured in stone. I was very impressed.
I returned to the centre to get some lunch then took a long T-bane ride to Holmenkollen, home of the Olympic ski-jump.
The initial jump tower wasn't immensely high, but after the take-off point the ground fell away rapidly down a stomach-churningly steep slope to a lake at the bottom. Luckily for the ski-jumpers the lake is drained each September.
I bought another Dagkort and got the T-bane back to the city centre (nobody checks the tickets, it would be VERY easy to fare dodge. I am far too honest of course.)
Since the Norwegians are in favour of an 'open' monarchy, there are no gates and crowds had gathered at one end of the Palace where a line of guards was standing. I decided to wait at the other end and await further developments. This turned out to be a sensible choice as it was from my end that a large column of guards arrived, marching straight past me.
To my amusement some of the spectators didn't notice the guards coming up behind them. They turned round to see thirty fierce-looking Norwegian soldiers coming straight towards them. The look of horror on their faces was priceless. There followed lots of foot-stomping, rifle-waving etc.
The new set of guards then set off around the Palace perimeter to relieve the old set of guards one at a time. At each sentry-box there was a ceremonial handover of a walkie-talkie before the party moved on again. Eventually the soldiers retired inside.
I walked to the Vippentangen quay and caught a ferry to Hovedøya, a charming island about ten minutes by boat into the Oslofjord. I wandered around the ruins of an old monastery in the sunshine and walked along the beach for a while before returning to the city and the campsite.
I went on another wild goose chase (there are a lot of these geese about) to the Spar and Rimi supermarkets (both closed), so we ended up with pork balls from the camp shop. Our FINAL NIGHT!!!
Day 30 (Oslo > Crawley)
The final day of the holiday and we just wanted to go home.
We woke up at 08:30 for the very last time, packed up the tent and got the bus into town, then a train to the airport. We used up our last krones on ice creams and postcards and checked in our luggage at the huge SAS desk.
After what seemed like an eternity our flight was called and we boarded our flight bound for Heathrow. The food didn't quite match up to the outward flight but we did get two bread rolls again and the Sunday Times.
To complete the symmetry we received the same salt packets as before
"The colour of snow. The taste of tears. The enormity of oceans."
We were home.
£1 = 15 krone (Sweden)
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"At each sentry-box there was a ceremonial handover of a walkie-talkie."