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10 Hours in Oslo

We will visit Oslo in May (our second visit). This time we’ll be in the city only 10 hours (700 to 1700-- on a cruise stop). It will be a Sunday. Our ship docks at Sondre Akershuskai (SAK). We plan to disembark early and walk to Oslo University and the Royal Palace and then back to the dock for the 0905 ferry to Bygadøy Peninsula, spend a few hours there and take the 1225 ferry back followed by a tour of the Rådhus (tours are 1200 to 1600 on Sunday) . If possible we’d like to then take the T-Bane to the Munch Museum and get back to the ship by 1630. I know we won’t see all there is to see at the museums on Bygadøy (but we have seen the Vasa Museum in Stockholm). We don’t want to make a “mad-dash” through the Munch; I’m thinking we’d have 2 or 3 hours at the Munch—not enough time but time to see some of the exhibit.

Two questions: First; are we trying to do too much? Second; if we are, which should be “sacrificed” the tour of the Rådhus or the Munch? I might add later on the cruise we will be spending three full days in St. Petersburg and we will visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art while in Copenhagen (on a relaxed schedule).

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This does sound a bit tight for my tastes , but I would make one suggestion - While all the museums on Bygdoy are wonderful , the highlight for me is The Fram Museum , I spent most of a day there , and it still was not enough . The stories of two of the great Norwegian explorers are inextricably linked to the ship and being familiar with them is essential for being able to appreciate this museum . These two men , Fridjtof Nansen and Roald Amundsen loom large in Norwegian history . This article will help to acquaint you with Nansen - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fridtjof_Nansen . There is wonderful book by Roland Huntford that tells Amundsen's tale of his achievement in being the first to reach the South Pole . " The Last Place on Earth " (1980 ) is a great story of adventure and a must before you go . Huntford has also written a marvelous biography of Nansen . https://www.amazon.com/Last-Place-Earth-Amundsens-Exploration/dp/0375754741/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488170224&sr=1-1&keywords=the+last+place+on+earth

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Steven: Thanks for the suggestion, I'll do my homework on the Fram and I'll pick-up a copy of the book.

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5486 posts

The Fram Museum is also my favorite Bygadøy museum with the Norwegian Folk Museum being next. The Nansen life story included first European crossing of Greenland and ending with his Nobel Peace Prize.

My taste would be to drop the Munch. If I could, I would squeeze in the Vigeland Park with its open air displace of Vigeland sculptures.

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We visited Vigeland Park on a previous visit and spent a leisurely morning there; I took ample photos of the sculptures and the park to bore friends and family to tears (but I think every photo is great). Thanks for reminding me to view them again.

No one commented on the tour of the Rådhus. Has anyone taken this tour to know what areas in the building one visits? What is the duration of the tour? What is in Vulkan aarea other than housing and offices (and I suspect expensive restaurants)? The area looked “interesting” when seen from the roof of the Opera House on our previous visit. Is there any high rise building or church tower that one can visit "the top" for a panoramic view of the city (remember we’re in Oslo on Sunday)?

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The Radhus was indeed interesting , as are the Munch paintings , but you have relatively limited time , so the choices are up to you .

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1294 posts

I enjoyed visiting the Rådhus, but I was unable to coordinate the timing to do an organized tour. It's free and open to visit pretty much any time (except when there are events taking place). Rick's guidebook has some good explanations of the murals. I'm sure I would have gotten more context on an organized tour, but if time is an issue -- which it clearly is for you -- visiting the Rådhus independently is an option you should consider.

I was not a big fan of the Bygdøy museums. In fact, my favorite was the Norwegian Folk Museum, and I'm not usually a fan of recreated villages. I'm not saying the other museums weren't good, but they didn't especially thrill me, and in fact, the Fram was my least favorite. Just tells you that individual tastes may vary.

I second the suggestion to visit Frogner Park for the Vigeland sculpture garden. This was perhaps my favorite Oslo activity.

And my favorite indoor museums in Oslo were the National Gallery and the Astrup Fearnley. (The National Gallery has an entire room devoted to Munch.)

But I've just muddied the waters. Whatever you decide to do, I'm sure you will enjoy it all!

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Lane , I don't think you've muddied the waters . I was about sixteen ( now seventy ) when I first encountered the story of the 1910 race to the South Pole in a British film " Scott of the Antarctic " ( 1948 ) , It had me in tears , and I never forgot it . With the appearance of Huntford's " The Last Place on Earth " ( 1980 ) , which delved far more deeply into the story , my interest in it was rekindled with even greater fervor. When I visited the Fram in 2015 , I was well prepared for my visit , which , given the amount of detail , could easily seem abstract otherwise . I was fortunate to have encountered the tale at a young age , when the romance of it had a deep impact on me . If you are interested , and Jon , of course - A fine film , based very closely on the book was serialized and released several years after the book came out . It clocks in at eight or so hours , and while I would not attempt to watch it in marathon , it is well worth the time . Here is the link on YouTube , give it a try . The story could not be better if it had been written as a novel - https://youtu.be/P8hB3TPEJcQ

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Read Fridtjof Nansen: "Farthest North". If you like the book you will like the Fram Museum. If it's not your idea of heroism and adventure then the Fram Museum is not something you would be interested in touring.

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Well , at the risk of being tedious , one more thought , for everyone here - In 1958 ,at the age of twelve , and graduating from elementary school , the class made a trip into New York City to see a film travelogue cum documentary called " Windjammer " This is a Norwegian " school ship " used for training sailors for the Norwegian Merchant Marine . It was intoxicating for a young boy , and I never forgot it . When we were in Oslo in 2015 , the ship was in its berth just south of the Radhus ,and seeing it in person was a dream come true . The film has recently been re-released ,and while a bit dated and slightly corny , seeing it again was a thrill . Two links here - one about the ship , " Christian Radich " and the film , and the overture to the film by the American composer , Morton Gould . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windjammer_(1958_film) the musical selection -https://youtu.be/f9u1sEU5DVc