Oslo as a modern city is one of the most expensive places in the world – although the city makes up for it by giving the residents a high quality of life. It is also a very compact city gifted with an extensive network of trams so it is easy to go to and fro. A plurality of modern structures with prominent glass windows are already ubiquitous in the city especially this overly white opera house perched on its harbor.
Ancient structures are still preserved though in the old town such as the Royal Palace, the Oslo University, the National Theater, the Parliament and the Oslo Cathedral – all of which fall on the Karl Johansgate street which is also lined with shops and terminates at the main Oslo train station. It is probably the most charming street in the city.
Facing the harbor also is the mammoth stack of bricks that is the Oslo City Hall next to the Nobel Peace Prize Museum. Nobel bequeathed the Norwegian parliament the responsibility of deciding and granting this prestigious prize and the city is of course host to the ceremonies. The exhibits are indeed, utterly inspiring. Further down the course is the Aker Brygge whose well conceptualized landscapes and modern architecture are a delight especially when illuminated at night. Modern art galleries can be found there.
The city’s outskirts are also hosts to wonderful parks that feature Norway’s contemporary art. There is the famed Vigeland Sculpture Park, home to hundreds of naked sculptures – the most notable of which is the tall monolith of intertwined bodies.
A little further beyond the city’s perimeter are several lakes and campsites which is a national favourite for these outdoorsy northern people as well as sites for winter sports including this famous vertigo-inducing Holmenkollbakken ski jump in Holmenkollen with a museum featuring, yes you guessed it, ski stuff.
On the other side of the city is the Viking’s Museum which houses three humungous remnants of Viking ships and shelves full of their excavated treasures. Apparently, there are no worn-out animal skin robes and horned helmets. It’s just romanticized and is well in fact, urban legend. There’s nothing that screams Norway more than these mighty Nordic seafarers. Indeed, Oslo’s active harbour is a testament to this mastery of sea navigation through the years.