Friday, July 01, 2005

Statues and Shrimp Sandwiches

Norway at last! This is a place that both of us have always wanted to visit. After a little bit of replanning, we left ourselves just a day in Oslo so that we could maximize our time in the fjords, but it was a great day of exploring and getting a feel for the city.

Oslo is much smaller than Copenhagen, but like Copenhagen has the pedestrian streets, the royal palaces, and the lively scene around the harbor and waterfront. We spent the morning walking through some nice residential areas (which included many embassy or ambassadorial residences) that reminded Becca a little of Paris and a little of DC.

The highlight of the day, sightseeing-wise was the visit to Frogner Park and to see Vigeland's statues. Gustav Vigeland was Norway's greatest sculptor. He had been doing work outside of the coutnry, but in 1921 he made a deal with the city. In return for a studio and state support, he'd spend the rest of his creative life creating this 75 acre sculpture garden. From 1924 to 1943 he worked on the site, creating 192 bronze and granite statues (encompassing over 600 figures, each nude and unique) and designed the landscaping.

We really enjoyed walkingaround the garden and were really struck and touched by his ability to capture human emotion and relationships so clearly in his medium. Becca went kind of camera crazy, trying to get portraits of her favorite works.

The park features a bridte with 58 bronze statues, each dealing with relationships between people, like this, and this, and this, and this, and this. One of Vigeland's most famous statues in the Sinnataggen, the hot-headed little boy. It's said that he gave his model chocolate and then took it away to get this reaction.

The park also includes a fountain surrounded by 4 more scupltures and 50 bronze reliefs all exploring the circle of life, and a 180-ton, 50 foot tall monolith that took 14 years to carve surrounded by 36 granite statues exploring more human relationships

The other highlight of the day was the chance to catch up with Karen Borseth, a friend that Brian had met when he was traveling in Australia 8 years ago. It was great to have a chance to catch up and see each other again in person after trading emails over the years. She took us to a fun local joint, where she instructed Brian on the finer points of peeling, preparing, and eating shrimp on toast. Yum.

We were sorry to only have a day to see things, but are eager to hit one of the places we've both always wanted to go: the fjords of Norway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We get art, geography and history lessons; we get to meet your many friends from all over the world; we get to see great views from interesting parts of the world; we get to watch you eat yummy, outrageous food.......... How come you get to have all the fun????? Just living the day to day, ho-hum life in the states.........