Tuesday, April 26, 2011

3 Oslo Museums: the Fram, Kon-Tiki, & Folk

One last post on Oslo before I start in earnest on the 6-day Hurtigruten sea voyage we took at the beginning of this month. After all, we were in Oslo 4 days before and one day after, so Oslo in and of itself was its own 'voyage.'

Renny was able to get us free 72-hour Oslo Passes (he's the Blogger's Ambassador, remember, with connections!) that allowed us to get into these 3 museums gratis.

The first 2 museums are basically next door to each other on the Oslo fjord waterfront. So before we went indoors, we scouted around to get the lay of the land:

The Maritime Museum is also there on the shoreline (top-left above) along with the Inukshuk, a centenary gift from Canada in 2005, representing the friendship between the two countries.
Our Canadian bloggers will like that!

Also there, just a stone's throw away, is the Krigseilermonument that commemorates sailors killed in WWII.

Similar to what we experienced the next day at the Opera House (from my last post), we viewed everything through the fog...

...before entering the Fram and Kon-Tiki museums. First, the Fram, which is the A-frame golden structure above.

1. The FRAM Museum

Since the museum honors Norwegian polar exploration and the 3 explorers who sailed to the north and south poles, I'll start with Roald Amundsen who happened to be the first person who reached both poles. This was important to me because Renny's last name is also Amundsen, though he swears he's not related (that's Renny at the wheel above). Kinda like all those named Smith, I guess?

Like church spires, it's the boat masts that suck me in!

This is the ship that was used in the Arctic and Antarctic exploarations between 1893 and 1912. Fram is said to have sailed farther north (85°57'N) and farther south (78°41'S) than any other wooden ship.
The ship was designed in a shape to let the ice push it up so it would "float" on top of the ice, instead of being crushed by it. A first for arctic exploration!

Fram = forward (as in forward-thinking, surely!)

And the best thing about it? You get to actually board the ship and walk all over it, up and down, looking into every nook and cranny. Everything is there, including the skiis!

2. The KON-TIKI Museum

Surely you've heard of Thor Heyerdahl's crossing of the Pacific Ocean in 1947 in the Kon-Tiki.
This is what happens when you're really curious!

The purpose of the expedition was to test the South American balsa raft seaworthy, and to investigate whether it was feasible for the original native of Peru, the Incas and their predecessors civilized and cultural, to reach the islands out in the open Pacific.

The Kon-Tiki raft eventually was caught in the surf and wrecked on the side of a coral reef, but not before it basically proved its point.

The documentary about the Kon-Tiki expedition won two Oscars in 1951, Heyerdahl's book "Kon-Tiki Expedition" has become an international bestseller, translated into nearly 70 languages.

But if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, right? So a bigger and better boat was built and THAT'S the one that the Kon-Tiki Museum is really about: the RA II:

A papyrus boat, Ra II traveled 3270 miles in 57 days across the Atlantic Ocean in 1970!
Heyerdahl's Ra I and Ra II expeditions proved it was possible to have transatlantic contact between the ancient civilizations and America.
During the first Ra expedition, oil clumps were discovered at sea and Thor was the one who presented his concern about the ocean being poisoned to the UN.

His environmental efforts resulted, among other things, that it was prohibited to drain waste oil from tankers at sea. An award, Thor Heyerdahl Environmental Award of 1 million dollars awarded by the Norwegian Shipowners' Association every year for efforts to combat pollution at sea.


Last but not least, we took the bus from the Kon-Tiki Museum to Norway's largest museum of cultural history, out in the open air. I had been there in 2006 with Donica and remembered it well, but for Astrid it was a first.

Established in 1894, it contains over 150 buildings which have been relocated from different districts in Norway.

Though it wasn't high tourist season, when the place is buzzing with cultural life as it once was, we still had the chance to see much...and even got to sample some Norwegian lefse (flatbread), cooked the old-fashioned way.

It was this Gol stave church, from 1212, that most captured our attention. We weren't able to enter it but could see its altar through the front door. A stave church is of post and beam construction from timber framing. The load-bearing post is the stave.

All in a day's stroll! Enough information for all the senses to last a lifetime. We'll never forget it, the Opera House, and all the impressions of Oslo...most of which were through the generosity of our new-found friends, Renny, Diane, Tor and Anna.

Astrid and I are both richer and fuller and say TUSEN TAKK! A thousand thanks.

Now I'm ready to tackle the sea voyage.... :)

[Special thanks to Astrid for a handful of her photos included in my collages!]


  1. IF I write my usual longish comment now, I will have to forego my morning swim at the "Y" ... so I'll just say Hi here to let you know that I appreciate you stopping by my blog (as always) and leaving such wonderful comments!

    And I'll be back later to comment properly but a brief comment now... as usual... your architectural images and the collages are smashing! More later... (And yes, you have told me my macros inspire you... so let's see some from your world!)

  2. Amazing! We went to exactly the same places but most of the photos I took are completely different from yours. I love that!

    I made a very big boo-boo with my camera right after leaving the Kon-Tiki Museum. I was getting familiar with the settings of my daughter's camera, because I let my sister use my camera, and I accidentally pressed OK to the FORMAT command, instead of EXIT. Aaaaaargh! Fortunately, it was only the second day of our trip. I'm still lamenting some wonderful water shots at the harbor when the sunset was just so...

    Anyhoo, I love seeing your photos! That sepia-toned one with the two boats is a prize-winner!

  3. I'm back... at last... long day and not over yet here! I'm with "Dutchbaby" on the sepia-toned one of the boats... it is LOVELY (as is the collage below showing the same boats and the Fram museum! The collage of the Fram is quite nice too... what an adventure it would have been to be along on the explorations of the North and South Poles (although it must have been quite scary).

    I read the story of the Kon-Tiki years ago and enjoyed the reminder of that adventure too... and the collages with the splashes of deep blue color here and there (perfectly placed) are lovely!

    That colorful doorway (to the museum, I suspect) really caught my eye... orange is one of my favorite colors these days! And I would love to see that church in the last collage... the wood work looks fantastic. I am so enjoying your Norwegian adventures!

  4. I'd love to see all three of these museums! What a wealth of information. The Fram would probably completely catch me! So would the Kon-Tiki, so interesting. I saw one stave church when I was in Norway back in 1971 - we were on vacation in Sweden and did a day trip to Oslo. I mainly remember the ride on the ferry across Oslo Fjord.

  5. Victoria: You tickle me to death. Thanks for the appetizer. :) One of these days I'll get out my macro lens...I promise.

    DB: When Astrid and I go on photo hunts, we always amaze ourselves by the different photos we take of the same subjects. Thankfully you figured out your daughter's camera at the beginning instead of the end. The good news on our end is that I uploaded all our photos every day since I had my laptop with us. That really helped.

    Thanks for your kind comment, especially about the sepia boats!

    Victoria: I had to wait all night on my end, of course! :D And it was worth it. THANK YOU. The fun thing about seeing those boats is that you really can imagine what it must have been like on them. Those were the days...of hardship and fun both, I'm sure.

    That colorful door at the folk museum is to a building I never went in and have no clue what building it is. It sits off the open courtyard once you enter though the arched doorway and before you walk off to the part where all the thatched buildings are. It's quite the place!

    Carola: There really IS a wealth of information at all 3 of these museums. It makes you imagine what those times were like! Thank you.

  6. The visual elements in your photos that show the incredible designs of this part of the world really send me. I love the inukshuk. Aren't they the best things? Your sepia ship image is a "Dutch" painting!

    I remember Dutchbaby's images of the Kon-Tiki, and falling in love with it then. There's just something about wood like that.

    Just beautiful!

  7. Ruth: I have always been drawn to Scandinavian designs, Sister. Now that I know we have roots there through G'ma Bennett, no wonder! It appears to be a part of the world untouched by so much of the dross elsewhere. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. Renny seemed to agree. I do agree with you about the wood. Anything wood sends me. :)

  8. I must admit the outside really draws me in! I just am in awe by all of the shots outdoors and all of the stuff you saw outside before evening going in ...

    And yes I saw the Inukshuk in the last photo somewhere and thought if Ginnie remembered photographing it in Vancouver.

    I also love the shots of the kids for some reason... hmmm

  9. I learn so much when I visit here. My favorite shots are those of the ships' riggings. I missed my chance two years ago in Lunenburg when there were three tall ships in port at once. I look forward to your next adventure.

  10. ET: I'll never forget the inukshuk from Vancouver, Jen, when we were there before your Olympics. Never. So soulful to me, as you know. I loved finding out about the special connection between Norway and Canada!

    Ted: Me, too! I LOVE the masts and ropes, etc. of these tall ships. I never tire of them!

  11. It was a fabulous gift from Renny that he got us VIP-passes for 72 hours.
    We made great use of it, even going by bus.
    The way you put the collages together, make the story real, it gives the viewer a story line.
    To me it is like, oh yes, we saw that and that and that....
    Thank you for using a few of my pictures, I feel honoured, but then, what is mine is yours and visa versa...
    Thank you again for putting together a wonderful post with 'Vision and Verb'.....