I have stretched this last post quite a bit, or rather posting it, and therefore extended the Oslo experience… Oh, Oslo. You have won my heart.
With these feelings tugging on the sensitive strings of my soul, we got up to fill up our last full day in Oslo. The perks of having an evening flight is still having enough time to do things after checking out in the hotel. We left our bags and off we went. The Oslo City Hall had been popping up in front of us the previous days as we returned by different routes from our various escapades. I had read that it was free and it seemed fitting to visit this building (completed in 1950) which was important to Oslo before leaving the Norwegian capital.
A short ride in the tram and we hopped out at the familiar dock from where we had made the beautiful ferry trip on the Oslofjord. It was another gloriously sunny day and I couldn’t remember when I had last taken so many unfiltered Instagram photos. We confidently proceeded to the front part (as I thought) of the City Hall facing the water, to discover a polite note on the door that said the main entrance was at the opposite end. We could have actually walked straight there from the National Theater, but maybe the subsequent discovery would not have left such a strong impression otherwise.
The part of the City Hall which one usually sees when out and about is noticeable, but not necessarily immediately arresting. It deserves a closer look, a longer stop to see that this facade already includes some reserved, but artistic details among its marked rectangularness and red brick. But the main entrance took me completely by surprise.
I had read about it, or maybe I had not read enough. A beautiful clock adorned one side of the facade in front of us, while numerous carvings, engravings and sculptures stood out from the stone parts of the display. Everything you see is responding to events in Norway’s history and also depicting scenes from Norwegian mythology, like the colourful murals lining both walls stretching towards the entrance. My favourite? The three valkyries. And once inside, the quite dignity of the spacious, light-flooded main hall and its beautiful upper floors make for a joyful and respectful observation of wall-high murals depicting life and work in Norway, especially after World War II.
In short, don’t miss this, the City Hall is an absolute must among (free!) places to see in Oslo.
After that we dashed to the Popsenteret for some afternoon fun, Oslo’s museum about the history of Norwegian pop music. Slightly hidden in a courtyard situated parallel to the street listed online, the Popsenteret is an interactive museum. Inevitably and quickly we walk past an exhibit about the band A-ha and I start singing along. “Taaalking away/ I don’t know what I’m to saaay/ I’ll say it anyway/ Today’s another day to find you/ Shyyying away/ I’ll be coming for your love, OK?/ Taaake ooon me (take on me)/ Taaake me ooon (take on me)/ I’ll be gooone/ In a day or twooo…” Ach, the memories! Such nostalgia. There’s also a booth for recording yourself and a drum set with some headphones where we let loose. The results did not sound bad at all!
A very special city, indeed. A kaleidoscope of impressions, experiences and memories. Oslo!