Monday, 19 June 2017

Monday 19 June - Oslo

Where’s Bertie? He's in a front row slot, overlooking the water in the motorhome parking area of the marina on the SW side of Oslo. It's an eye-watering 300NOK (£1 = 10.4NOK) for 24 hours. That includes electricity and water and waste, but showers are extra.

With a desire to get to Oslo in time to get some sightseeing in this afternoon, we were on the road relatively early this morning, although we did make time at Uddevalla to detour to the last Lidl we would pass in Sweden. That was probably the last groceries we'll see at prices that won't make us wince (although even then some prices were defintely wince-worthy) until we cross back into Sweden in August.

At the Norwegian border it looked like we were going to be waved through, like the three cars ahead of us, but at the last moment a hand was put up to indicate that we should stop. We weren't even asked about carrying restricted items (Norway is in the EEA and Schengen area, but duty free allowances are in force. Helped by the fact that I don't drink and neither of us smoke, we were within the limits). After a chat about our vague plans, we were waved on.

We would then have driven straight to Oslo, except that both parking options I had earmarked in the city were chargeable, so it seemed sensible to stop for lunch somewhere free (i.e. a motorway picnic area) so as to get the most out of our paid parking time.

So much for maximising time and saving money: a failure to notice the turn into the marina on the first pass netted us an extra £3.30 toll charge (annoying!), and we didn't want to go past that toll point again to check out the other parking area for which we had conflicting information as to charges (it may have turned out to be just as expensive as the Aire, but without any facilities).

Parking up, we only spent as long as it took to plug Bertie in and deploy his levelling ramps (in that order; it would be preferable to do it the other way around), before we were off on foot in the direction of Vigeland Sculpture Park.

Vigeland was a Norwegian artist and, between 1924 and his death in 1943 he donated his works to the city of Oslo, thus creating this magnificent park.

I saw the monolith that forms the centre piece of the park...

... on a TV programme in 1998 and immediately decided that I needed to see it in person. A few weeks later I flew out to Oslo for a long weekend and managed to see not just the Vigeland Park but also most of the other tourist sights of the city. Mick, however, had never been.

The main difference I noted between my 1998 visit and today is that (to my recollection; I'll check my photos when I get home) in '98 there were only a couple of other people in the park. Today there were hundreds. It made it tricky to get a photo of anything without someone posing on or next to it.

It's been difficult choosing which photos to post here, so I've just picked a random selection of those I took (although I reckon I took fewer than I did in '98, when, of course, film and developing were involved).

I had intended, upon leaving the park, to head into the city for a quick look around (and for a cashpoint), but only a few steps down the road we realised that afternoon was rapidly approaching evening, and that maybe we should defer our trip into the city until the morning. An exceptionally good call, as it turned out. By the time we got back to Bertie a light rain was falling. Soon after it was lashing - and we had gone out (in the earlier sunshine) without jackets, or even an umbrella.

I've used the extra time in Bertie taking advantage of having electric. Water has been heated and a few bits of hand washing done. Those items are now hanging in the shower room with the electric heater turning the small space into a drying room. On a campsite of normal price I would be unlikely to fritter away electricity in such a way, but at the best part of £30 to park here for a night, it doesn't feel unreasonable to use a few kW.

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