Oslo, Norway

Yesterday in Oslo, we docked within a short walk of the Nobel Center, shown in the first photo, the yellow building beyond the park statue. Inside, the first floor exhibitions are still in progress, but they are meant to inspire everyone of us to do our part for conserving the world’s resources. The second floor is devoted to exhibits about the Nobel Peace Prize winners, which are awarded in Norway at the Town Hall Building next door. The other Nobel Prizes are awarded in Sweden. The second photo is part of a room where each winner is honored. Perhaps, the most affecting exhibit was a tiny room with a book about Alfred Nobel’s life. The story goes that by mistake when his brother died they printed his obituary. It was so unflattering that when he read it, he decided to change his legacy. He wrote a new, holographic will. In it he chose the first five Nobel Prize winners and left the bulk of his vast estate, estimated as equal to 200 million dollars in today’s money, to fund the award for future recipients. His family contested the will for five years but lost in the end.

The third photo shows a sculpture representing the circle of life at Vigeland Sculpture Park, the world’s largest sculpture park done by one artist with over 200 sculptures. Gustav Vigeland designed and built the park from 1939 to 1949, finishing casts of all of the sculptures though he died in 1943 before the park was completed. Our guide, who had written a book on the park and used it for a college thesis, said that there were two themes to the sculptures, human relations, especially family relations, and eternity. It was a fascinating place to visit, not just for the sculptures but to see the dozens of people lying in the grass enjoying the flowers and the warm, sunny spring day. Vigeland also designed the Nobel Prize medallion.

The fourth photo, taken in the Viking Museum, shows a Viking ship that was unearthed in a burial site. Contrary to what I thought, Vikings were buried in the ground in their ships with all of the artifacts they will need on their voyage to the afterlife. This ship was found with two women’s bodies. Most of what is known about the Vikings comes from these sites as they did not leave much in the way of written records. We ended the day at the Oslo Opera House, the last photo. I decided that countries are trying to outdo each other with the architecture of their opera houses. You can walk on the roof to the top of this one!

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