Saturday, 27 June 2015

Four Jews in Search of A Viking

It is very disconcerting to awaken at 4:00am to blazing daylight. It can be extremely unnerving for those individuals who need complete darkness by which to sleep, but for those of us who embarks the summer sunlight, it is truly life-affirming.

That was our first impression of Oslo as we sailed into port this morning through the Oslofjord. Welcome to the homeland of Edvard Munch, Henrik Ibsen, Gustav Vigeland, Thor the God of Thunder, Thor Heyerdahl, and Roald Amundsen. If you need a refresher on any of the aforementioned, Google is a wonderful invention. We had a jammed packed day planned, so advance preparation was important. Once again, I am thankful to Odin (see what I did there?) that we have chosen to travel with such amazing people. Twin Son's Better Half had this place totally scoped out before I even started my morning cuppa. 

We headed to retrieve our Oslo passes which not only allowed us entrance to all museums and displays, but access to all public transportation services, buses, trams, and ferries, throughout the city. It continually amazes me whenever I travel, how truly dysfunctional my hometown is when it comes to transportation and infrastructure. The world is absolutely passing us by. 

We made our way down the the main thoroughfare, Karl Johansgate where Pride celebrations are in full swing. The entire city is festooned in rainbow. It seems all the more appropriate given yesterday's long overdue decision in the U.S. We headed directly to the National Museum so that I could view Munch's iconic piece "The Scream". This extraordinarily disturbing painting has finally be encased behind glass so that the Norwegians can protect their national treasure from yet another theft. I could have spent hours viewing Munch's work. His impressionistic stylings are breathtaking and viewed alongside Van Gogh, Matisse, and others made my morning.

In order to save our aching feet, we hopped a tram headed to Frogland Park where to life's work of Gustav Vigeland is on full display. Covering more than eighty acres and composed of over two hundred bronze and granite castings, the Vigeland sculpture installation needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. The raw human emotions and conditions are beyond impressive, and the detail is stunning.

But it is his imagined connection to a Viking past that had Twin Son all a twitter. Based on some ridiculous notion of a posting of his family name on some log somewhere, has him convinced that his Polish Jewish ancestors had a hint a Viking blood. And so it came to pass that four Jews bused across Oslo to the Viking Ship Museum to view the four massive vessels, circa 800 AD, that have been excavated from all points around the country. Personally, I think he's nuts. There is no possible way that Jews built these magnificent ships. We simply are devoid of the handyman gene. We would have been far more likely to have hired out the work. 

A quick ferry ride (Yay Dawn!! No puking!) back to port where we were fortunate enough to have time to peruse the Nobel Peace Prize museum. Vigeland actually designed the medal which is on display here, but it was the exhibit in tribute of Malala, this year's co-winner, that left me breathless and close to tears. It really does make me wonder how I have been spending my life.

We have been walking our feet off. My FitBit is screaming at me. See you tomorrow from Gothenburg.

No comments:

Post a Comment