Without a doubt the highlight of my trip to Norway at the beginning of June was visiting the fjords.
However, I found Oslo to be a very vibrant, clean, cosmopolitan city, bustling with restaurants, bars and high end shopping districts.
Oslo is the oldest (over 1,000 years) and least populated capital in Scandinavia.
I took advantage of the long summer days and white nights to see as much as I could.
Whether you are a history admirer, an art enthusiast, an explorer or even a fan of architecture, chances are there is something in the city that meets your desire.
Navigating the City Centre of Oslo was quite easy by foot. There is no shortage of sculptures, fountains and open green spaces.
My first stop on my self guided walking tour was the Oslo Cathedral.
This parish church for downtown Oslo was first consecrated in 1697, and in 1950 it was restored to its original baroque interior.
Oslo Cathedral is the main church for the Church of Norway Diocese of Oslo, and is used for weddings and funerals by the Norwegian Royal Family and the Norwegian Government.
Oslo’s Main Street is Karl Johans Gate.
When you walk down this street you literally feel that you are walking in the footsteps of Henrik Ibsen. Everyday he would walk from his home close to the Royal Palace, past the National Theatre where his work is still played.
Potted flowers and green spaces line one side of Johans Gate whilst restaurants and bars, the other. There is always entertainment in this area.
I then headed up to the Royal Palace, home to HM King Harald and HM Queen Sonja.
As you head north along Karl Johans Gate towards the Royal Palace, the monument of Karl Johan looms in the distance overlooking the street that carries his name.
Karl Johan was both the King of Sweden and the King of Norway from 1818 until his death.
Karl Johan was born in France and served a long career in the French Army.
Whilst I didn’t take a tour of inside the Royal Palace I had a photo op with one of the Royal Guards.
Nor did I witness the changing of the guards which take place during the summer at 1 pm. I did get to see the single guards perform some routines.
The Palace Park which surrounds the Palace on all sides, features grassy areas, majestic trees, small ponds and statues.
The Park is an option for those who wish to evade the hustle and bustle of the City Centre.
According to law, only one third of Oslo is supposed to be inhabited.
The Palace Park was opened by King Oscar I in 1847, two years before the completion of the Royal Palace. Ever since then the Royal Family’s Park has been open to the public all year round, making it unique in Europe.
To the left of the Royal Palace, at the entrance of Queen’s Park, stands a statue of Queen Maud. Queen Maud was Queen of Norway as spouse of King Haakon VII. Maud of Wales was the first queen of Norway in over five centuries who was not also the Queen of Denmark or Sweden. The statue was sculpted by Ada Masden (1917-2009) and unveiled by King Olav in 1959.
The planting surrounding the statue symbolizes her brooch, the train of her dress, a tiara with rubies and pearls, and a hairpin.
Part 2 will follow.
Norway – Powered by Nature.
Oslo – The Blue and the Green and the City in between.