So this trip consisted of some overdue items and a chance for these 2 roaming retirees to tick some off their bucket list.

Mr X (Thor) has had a hankering for all things of the Viking- variety since 1991. He has seen the NFL Vikings at the old Metrodome. He has met a lotta descendants from all the former ex-pats living in his beloved Minnesota. He has loved Viking history and films. He just had to see some of those fjords. So in part 1 of this adventure, it’s all about Mr X.

Ms X (Astrid) is just along for the ride.

The first thing to ponder during a visit to Oslo is to find words to describe the city. If you wanted to describe Oslo to a fellow Aussie, likening it to a bit of Hobart, only bigger might do the trick. To a European, it may be said that it has a sprinkle of Copenhagen with some Parisien touches. That’s what hit us on our quest to understand Oslo. Turn to the left and you would swear you have just got off the train in either Copenhagen or Amsterdam as you view some of the buildings and trams. Walking down the Main Street, Karl Johans Gate and you can sense that they have tried to recreate a mini- Champs Élysées with its wide thoroughfare that leads to the Royal Palace. It’s not that it’s a mish mash, it’s just that it’s soul is hard to define. Discovering old Christian IV whose legacy Thor and Astrid first discovered many years ago when in Denmark, started to explain some things.

The second thing one needs to understand about Oslo is that most people are good looking. They are blonde, tanned and have fit athletic bodies. As a visitor you feel you want to explain yourself as you stand admiring, however Thor and Astrid O’D needed to just get over it! Thor did note that the cycle of life wasn’t as kind to Norwegians after the age of 45. #hesjustsaying

Oslo loves a statue. It can be of anything or anyone. The more random, the more interesting. I mean, why wouldn’t you put a statue of a tiger outside your main train station?

Oslo loves a museum. Be it about ships, folk culture, leprosy, glass bottles…there’s something for everyone. The Viking Ships and the Norwegian Dutch Resistence Museums got Mr and Ms X’s patronage.

Oslo’s cultural profile is a mixture of the old and new. From the oh-so-modern iceberg-Opera House to the over abundance of Henrik Ibsen references around the city you get the feeling the Norwegians want to be noticed. One can’t help BUT notice “She Lies”, the glass and metal structure floating in front of the opera house. Edvard Munch’s The Scream gets a workout too by all the tourists, including our Thor and Astrid. Astrid remembered kindly old Henrik and the many essays she had to write in Form 5 on his Hedda Gabler!

Astrid and Thor did play that old favourite game “Name a famous Norwegian or a Norwegian feat” and boy, was that a quick game. Apart from their winter Olympic athletes (and aren’t they on the tip of your tongue), you do start to struggle. Well, as already stated there’s Ibsen and Munch. Thor Heyerdahl, Liv Ullmann and Amundsen. Can you count Ronald Dahl? Hmm….. well there’s the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and the invention of the paper clip. Thor and Astrid will keep pondering as they begin to further explore this most intriguing country of which very little is known.