Day 2 broke with mixed weather. After first heading down to feast on the Thon's amazing breakfast buffet, we threw our rain jackets in a carry bag and headed out. First stop was the tourist centre (again right near the hotel) to pick up our 48 hour Oslo Pass. This is the best deal if you're wanting to site see as all your transit and entry fees are included and the list of places you can visit is enormous - way too large to list here. Our first outing was to step on the local ferry over to Bygdoy which had several museums with a historical bent.
We began at the Kon Tiki Museum. It wasn't large, but it was full of information and had both the Kon Tiki raft that Thor Heyerdahl sailed in 1947 as well as the Ra II, a reed boat he crossed the Atlantic with in 1970. Seeing how small the Kon Tiki raft was, and thinking of those brave men sailing it in the middle of the ocean in 1947 with very little support, took my breath away. The Ra II was an impressively larger reed boat with more space than the raft. In1970 the support available to the crew was much larger, but it was still an impressive feat.
Next door was a museum that housed the Fram, the strongest wooden ship in the world. It was 3 floors high and proved itself by drifting in polar ice for 3 years. Standing at the bottom looking up, the size was overwhelming. It was impossible to get a picture that gives any feel for how enormous it truly is as it filled the small building that housed it. If you climbed up the to the top floor, you could walk across onto the deck and explore or head below to see how the crew lived. There was also a 3rd museum here you could visit - the Norwegian Maritime Museum - with a small grouping of antique boats, an art gallery and a movie.
Then it was a short hop to another part of Bygdoy where we visited 2 other sites. The Viking Museum had a couple of large boats that were relatively intact, one that was only just pieces and interesting artifacts from the time. Several surprises awaited. The Vikings decorated ornately. I always thought of them as rough rogues looting and plundering, but the detailed carvings and embellishment on wagons, sleds and more was unbelievably intricate. Well-to-do Vikings also used their boats as a grave. They built a house for the bodies and sunk the boat along with the horses and household items. Such a waste of resources at a time I am sure many were struggling.
Down the hill was the last museum we visited this day. It was referred to in our brochure as the Norsk Folkemuseum and we almost by passed it thinking it was a small display of quilts, etc. We couldn't have been more wrong. This museum needs at least a half day to explore it properly. Artifacts, buildings, photographs, furniture and more from the 16th century onward were there to see. What I liked most was the 2 communities they had re-created. At the back was farm land where antique buildings still sported sod roofs. Looking inside I was again struck by the ornateness of the decoration in what was a very simple home. All walls and furniture were covered with intricate paintings. Up a steep hill they had one of the oldest Stave churches in Norway. In another area they had re-created the streets of a city from a later period with various buildings housing an antique bank, pharmacy and more. One showcased furnishings from several different decades with each bedroom a specific period. We barely scratched the surface at this museum and I hope one day to go back.
|Check out the ornately painted walls of|
this sod-roofed house