Sunday, July 5, 2015


Back to Norway!

So, from Bergen we took the train over the mountains to Oslo. This is a stunningly beautiful journey, during which snow merged with clouds, from white to white to white, a ghostly austere landscape. Then the train eased down into green lands again and we had our first of a hundred-thousand lupine sightings. Lupine lupine lupine, blooms as long as my arm. I've never seen so many wildflowers in my life!

And then we were in Oslo, reunited with the main reason for our trip: Tone Almhjell!

Tone and I met right here on my blog! If you're a regular reader of my blog you probably know Tone already. She was a kindred spirit who wrote so beautifully in English, which was not her native tongue, and who had a baby at the same time I had Clementine, and who had a knack for making any discussion both deeper and lovelier. She was writing her first novel, which, to my dismay, was in Norwegian, and thus out of my reach. Then fate intervened! Long story short, circumstances conspired to persuade her to begin translating it into English! And it was as wonderful as I knew it was be. And I introduced her to my agent, Jane Putch, who agreed, and who signed her, and sold this wonderful book, which is in the world for you to read!

If you haven't, please do. It's exquisite! See more about it HERE. And the companion will be coming out next year. I've read it, and I can tell you it's fantastic, and I'll share more about it as it gets nearer to publication. I don't think the title has been revealed yet, so I'd better keep mum. But it's awesome.

So, Tone and I have gotten to hang out in person in the US on two different trips (like this one where we met in person for the first time), and Clementine and Magnus became fast friends, and we decided a winter or two ago that this summer we would go to Norway and visit them there. And we did! And it was GREAT! 

Without further ado, Oslo!


Aside from just hanging out with Tone and her friends and family, I had three favorites in Oslo.

1. Outland bookshop
(or as Tone calls it, "the nerd store". It's a wonderful SFF/comics/manga/gaming shop in central Oslo. And to warm my heart, they had this display up with even knowing I was going to come in!!)

Here I am with Thomas and Madeleine, who work there. I think Thomas is the books manager, and Madeleine is, in the eyes of Magnus, age five, the "High Priestess of Legos and All Things Awesome." 

2. Vigeland Park

I'd seen pics on Pinterest of some of the more outlandish statues at this enormous sculpture park...

But seeing pics can't give you a sense of the feeling of this place, which feels like a celebration of humanity and human relationships, all the ways that people are connected to each other, and the gamut of emotions.

It's the world's largest sculpture park where the work is all by one artist. Gustav Vigeland lived from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, and created over 200 sculptures in bronze and granite for this park. 

Love these gates:

3. The Norske Folkemuseum

This place is my favorite kind of tourist attraction. It's an open-air museum (the world's oldest and largest) that collects historical buildings from around Norway (something like 150), assembling them by region, complete with interiors, so you can see how people lived in Norway in the last century. 

It's a fantastic place. All these streets to wander, horse cart rides, ice cream, nice food, a playground, farm animals, things to climb. 

Even a stave church!

A reconstructed children's room:

I adore the elaborate yet rustic woodwork on these farmhouses, bunkhouses, storage houses. 

And of course the grass and wildflower roofs!

On our way out...

Oh, and it didn't make my top 3, but the Viking Ship Museum was pretty cool too. It's a grand and simple affair. They have three of these guys. Three real-deal Viking longships. Showstoppers.

There's lots more to see in Oslo! We also enjoyed the Akershus Fortress, and just meandering around Grunerlokka eating and shopping. But then it was time to hop on a plane and see some more of the country. 

Next time!


tanita✿davis said...

Ooh, Vigeland is #1 in the places I want to go next fall. Thanks for sharing the great pics!

tone almhjell said...

(Lump in throat). Aaah. Come back. And thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your travel pics! I'm traveling to Norway and Sweden in September, and I'll definitely have to check out the places you mentioned.... if you have other Scandinavia suggestions, throw them my way ;-)

Laurence King said...

To visit Oslo is a thrill, but to have a friend on the ground—and one as lovely as Tone—doubles the fun, doesn't it? I've always loved Vigeland's work. So, So pick which one I like best is impossible; so many resonate with me. Did you have a favorite?

M said...

Lovely pictures. I would love to go Norway!

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