Seafaring Culture in Norway

Today was great. I slept in and then took a bus to the “island” or Bygdoy area. My first stop was the Viking Museum. The first thing you see is this large and beautifully crafted ship. There are two more as you go deeper into the building. All of these ships had been buried with wooden tents to house wealthy Vikings after their death. They were buried with their farming tools, weapons, riches and even some animals. Most of the jewelry had been taken by grave robbers, but many artifacts still remain. There were several wooden animal heads that were ornately carved and jeweled. When found in the grave, they had ropes around them on one end and at the other were ornate wooden carts. Although much of the items are weathered down, these seemed to be in good condition and quite interesting to see up close.

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I then went to an outdoor Folk Museum. Here there was a range of historical buildings. A few of the newer buildings housed scenes from different eras like a 1960’s kitchen, a 1970’s living room and as far back as a 1800’s bedroom. I thought the little baby carriage should come home with me 😉 ‘The rest of the property was full of grass roofed log farm homes and barns. These contained little entryways with a staircase that led to one main room. Some have old paintings preserved on the log walls inside. The furniture was hand crafted and gorgeous and almost looked to be a stark contrast from the log walls behind it. The only building to match this wooden craftsman style on the outside as well as the inside was the church on top of the hill. This whole place had been a farming community and they still to this day have a few farm animals on the property. While the pigs enjoyed their nap, I started out for the Kon Tiki Museum.

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It was going to be a long walk so when I spotted a quaint country styled restaurant I stopped for lunch. I ordered an avocado sandwich med Kyllingo. To my delight this means avocado sandwich with chicken…yum! By the way, it is not cheap to eat in Norway. This sandwich set me back $25. Glad it was good!

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My walk was peaceful. These museums are set in a high class residential area. The houses are large and the streets are lined with trees and the neighboring gardens. When the road dead-ended I was at the Kon Tiki museum where the Norwegian, Thor Heyerdahl, built a boat out of balsa wood. He proved that it was possible for people from South America to have sailed the Pacific Ocean to the Polynesian Islands. He had seen Tiki statues in both regions of the world and had been curious if the craftsmen could have been from the same culture. His crew was from Norway, the US and the UK. After this expedition, he built a reed boat and sailed the Atlantic Ocean. He never did test runs with his boats. The balsa boat worked the first time, but the reed boat had to be built twice. He did end up making it. This time his crew had been from all over the world and flew the UN Flag. One interesting tid-bit about Thor is that he had a bad case of hydrophobia!

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On my way back to the hotel, I stopped at a high-end shopping center that used to be a shipyard on Oslo’s waterfront. There was one home accessories store that was all done in black, white and gold…loved it! Before heading back, I got my baby boy his first ever sorbet ice cream 😉

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About the Author : Kylene Almeida

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