The approach to Oslo reminded us of the inside passage of Alaska, though the the slopes were more gradual and the population more dense. Not many cruises go there, perhaps due to its position between the Baltic and the North Sea. The Oslofjord is not actually a fjord since it was not created by glacial erosion. It is a rift valley created by geological shifts. It is clearly a recreational playground with many small marinas and beautiful summer homes and cottages.
Very near where the ship docked is the famous Oslo City Hall, which is where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded. Completed in 1950, the building features large halls with stunning murals by artists celebrating Norway’s history and traditions. Free tours are offered in English three times a day.
Just behind the City Hall is a ferry terminal where you can catch the local to Bygdoy where several interesting museums are situated including the Maritime Museum, the Kon-tiki Museum and the Viking Ship Museum. We visited the open air Folk Museum which featured replicas of Norwegian buildings from past eras and cultural exhibits.
Having only a day and a rainy one at that limited what we could see. The other top attractions in Oslo which we missed are the famous Vigeland Park, featuring the monolithic works of Gustav Vigeland, and the National Gallery.
The great thing about cruises it the opportunity to sample different places in a limited time frame. The rain in Oslo left us with the image of a gloomy place. But of course this is unfair. During the 20th century, Norway became Europe’s richest country on a per capita basis due to the discovery of oil in the North Sea. And that wealth has allowed the country to preserve it’s dramatic history. Hopefully next time we are in Oslo, the sun will be shining.