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Andrew Returns From Sunny Oslo, Norway

Andrew was in Oslo for a 3-day Bluetooth SIG face-to-face meeting on the topic of the new low energy, formerly ULP, formerly WiBree, formerly…well, you get the picture. The conference was at the Texas Instruments lab on the Blindern campus of Oslo University.

Canon EOS 450DHe had a bit of time to wander around Oslo – not only to see this pretty city, but also to use his brand new 12 mega-pixel Canon EOS 450D dSLR camera. It takes marvelous pictures (see all the photos he took of Oslo)! Now, Tolii can inherit the Panasonic FZ5 that has served the family so well over the past two or so years.

The highlight of the city is its sculpture park, Vigeland sculpture park. The artist, Gustav Vigeland, donated all his works to Oslo and in return they built him a studio, now used as a museum for his marble works (NDK 50, about £5). You start by passing a huge play castle (where’s Tolii and Tosha!?) and then come to the bridge across the pond.

Every metre of the bridge has a statue. There must have been about a dozen each side. This guy liked statues – all of nude people have a bit of a play. Continuing over the bridge you come to the gigantic fountain and behind it the famous column carved out of a single block of granite. There’s good views of Oslo from its base. And beyond it is yet another statue in the shape of a large ring. And from there, you can look up into Oslo’s surrounding hills to see the famous ski jump. Whew!

Also worth seeing is Oslo’s new Opera house. Its a fun building: you can climb all over its marble roof! And get a bird’s eye view of the city; plus the docks — which, by the way, are being torn out to make way for more shopping. Guys: be sure to have a piss in their toilets. You have never seen such posh urinals: they are rinsed by a rainfall of water tumbling over marble.

Honestly, this city, and country, is in for one mighty crash after the oil runs out!

Strolling a bit more along the waterfront will bring you to the large port in front of the golliath of city hall. Over there is the building where the Nobel Peace Prize is handed out each year; and down there are some cafes…on boats! It was the perfect way to have a rest: a tall, cool glass of OJ (they had beer, but this is Norway, famous for its expensive alcohol) and rocking side-to-side on the boat as the waves splashed up against the dock. Wonderful!

The Royal Park was also nice – a pleasant place to stroll through between the hotel and subway/tube station at the National Theatre. There were some guards about the place with some serious guns, but goofy hats – I guess it balances out then.

And like so much of Oslo, there statues to be found about the park, if you just have a bit of a look (there’s a deer hiding on the small island in the middle of the pond). And of course, everything was spotless. What a super tidy city. The only muck was the pigeon shit on the statues!

The strangest thing of all about the city was how light it stayed. Wandering back to the hotel at 10pm was like 8pm. Now, this is nothing new for Katya who’s from St.Petersburg, which is also near 60 degrees north, but for this Toronto boy (43 degrees) it was quite the novelty. I bet its pretty darned dark in the winter!

Andrew was told by Tolii to bring back a green T-shirt with a picture of a three-headed troll on it. Could he find one? Ha! Oslo is too rich of a city for that (basic hotel room with shower, not bath but with breakfast is £100 per night). All the stores in the city centre only sold the latest fashions. There was just two “tourist” shops – where you can buy troll figurines. Guess who has a figurine of a three-headed troll now…

Why did Tolii want trolls? Well, Andrew was supposed to start his journey in Bergen but a strike at the smaller airports throughout Norway scuttled those plans. At least there’s Katya’s photos from her trip there last August.

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