I have attended a spontaneous “Fiddle Happening” on the roof of the Oslo Opera House in Norway. From only 50 meters away, I saw the royal Crown Princess Mette-Marit, her Crown Prince Haakon and his parents, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, smiling and waving. Visiting the world-famous ski jump “Holmenkollen“, I was thrown myself. Oslo, the Norwegian capital located on the picturesque Oslofjorden, has really left an impression on me – in less than 24 hours. How come this is possible?
“What is it you want to see in Oslo? ”
On board our #PDRBSchiff, a ferry cruise line run by the DFDSSeaways complete with our team of international travel bloggers on a cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo, we are welcomed by Charlotte & Eva of the “Visit Oslo” tourist board with a wink. This, we note, is a common sight among all the people we meet here: “Hy hy”, is the jovial welcome around town, which makes us feel welcome immediately. As I take a look down the ferry at the modern and internationally renowned opera house in Oslo, I start to become somewhat fidgety: For many years now, I have been fascinated by the unique architecture of this particular place. Getting this close, I almost want to leap off board to finally see it up close. As I ponder this, I hear Charlotte saying:
“Tomorrow is National Day in Oslo: Norway celebrates 200 years of independence from Denmark! Contrary to the military performances you might know, you will see: This day is actually a celebration of our children!”
Exciting! All the emotions around the “Day of the Norwegians” really get to me. It all started in a very laid-back way, though.
The “Visit Oslo Pass” opens as an app on my iPhone, public transportation & entrance fees via QR Scanner included.
Perfectly easy, I’d say. Indeed, the Oslo Pass to navigate around town is now also available on our smart phones: The app is free to download, the rate of the pass may be selected according to 24, 48 or 72 hours in Oslo and purchased online. My friend Gudrun Krinzinger & I therefore start our 20 hours in Oslo with an easy check-in at the centrally located Comfort Hotel Grand Central. From there, it is only a short walk of three minutes to the Oslo Opera House: Fiiiiiinally, we are there!
Due to its unique design, the Oslo Opera House is actually accessible from all sides: Architecture that celebrates diversity and uniqueness. Once we have climbed the immense sloping roof and have literally walked all over the opera building, our enthusiasm does not stop there. Here, the National Festive Day of the Norwegian children has already begun. One day ahead of Norway’s National Day celebrations, we find children breakdancing, doing modern dance & a polyphonic, spontaneous open-air concert of violin teachers and their young students on the roof of the Opera building. What a fascinating show! Gudrun and I have become quiet, as less words are needed to render such powerful emotions. Also, the proverbial “nervous index finger” on the trigger of our cameras finally comes to rest after the first few brilliant shots.
Oslo easily puts us under its spell – and this within only a short time.
But it does not stop there. The following day, we find ourselves waving at King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon & Crown Princess Mette-Marit from only 50 metres distance. Norway’s 200th National Day has begun!
What would you do when you have less than 24 hours to visit a new city? Squeeze through the crowds, risk not to see much and get sore feet from standing all day long? Chances are you won’t. At first, we too were skeptical, but Charlotte from Visit Oslo had really made a point of attending the grand parade on the occasion of 200 years of independence of Norway from the Danes. Should we really go there?
The answer was as easy as it was obvious: Yes, we should. Because after all, Norwegians are just so perfectly RELAXED – even or especially on their big day! No sooner had Gudrun and I left the house that we had already become a part of the national elation, literally pulled by the crowds towards the Royal Palace with such ease that we just had to follow, mesmerised. National Day celebrations to me carried an image of military parades, roadblocks and stressed parents with their children. Not in Norway. Here, the children are centre-stage to the entire festivities, a radiant community of swinging flags, singing songs & colourful dances that make everyone around brim with emotion and joy. How very “clever” to have less of the military and more of the children’s purest emotions on display, I find. And again, the second time in our 20 hours in Oslo, Gudrun and I have become quiet with happiness, right here in the middle of a celebrating crowd that to us is our impression of the Norwegian people. Beautiful.
Still spellbound by the impressions of the Royal Norwegian Family and their apparent popularity (the continuous cries of children & adults ” Hipp Hipp Hurrah … ! Hipp Hipp … Hurrah! ” still ring in my ear), Gudrun and I now opt for a little more rest & recreation out in the countryside. Oslo’s subway, which runs underground only in the city centre and otherwise overground, reminding us more of a beautiful tourist excursion train, takes us all the way out to Holmenkollen, Oslo’s famous ski jump and lookout tower over the city and the Oslo fjord. On the way, we see many happy children in costume dresses who like us have left the National Parade in central Oslo. Beautiful women there are, too, in their colourful embroidered robes, with eyes calm and firm and yet so very friendly. I feel just comfortable here, and by now completely enchanted. Our enthusiasm for the people of Norway is completed by even more enthusiasm for spectacular views & nature out here in the far north of Europe. From the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, the green city of Oslo looks more like a forest with buildings inside, not to mention all of the surrounding natural landscape of Scandinavia and the extensive Oslofjord to the south of the capital city. I want to return back to Scandinavia already to explore more.
Now !!! 😀
Check out my entire Flickr Travel Photo Gallery from Oslo here: