Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Dr. Who Kind of Day

Today was supposed to be a laid back day – and it was. It certainly was. I woke up, ate the breakfast, and then went to watch some internet. I tell you what, this hostel has a nefarious way of getting people to play by its rules. Sure, you can't drink here – but then who can stay up long enough to drink when you have to wake up at seven o'clock for the breakfast? And sure – you don't need to wake up for the seven o'clock breakfast, but you'll not find any cheap food in this country, so you might as well get up and feast – feast – feast.

Now, in theory this will work to my favour tomorrow morning when I need to wake up early for the bus – but I see their tricks. I understand their sneaky science here.

So on the internet, I watched myself some Dr. Who. One episode after the next, as the sky was a dismal and dreary grey. The perfect type of weather to jusitfy this behaviour. However – by the time noon o'clock rolled around, the sky was less grey and much more blue. The type of blue that calls to you, pulling you away from your British science fiction show, no matter how many episodes you thought you might watch when the day began.

Yes – in Norway, I'd been told – and now seen on several occasions – that the weather is anything but stable. In North America when you wake up, if it's grey – it's going to stay that way. And if it's blue, odds are it will be a nice day. This can change on an hourly basis here in Oslo.

So – what was the one thing that I wanted to see in Oslo, that I had not gotten around to seeing, or justified the money for? There are a lot of great museums here, and I'd gone to none. That sounds about right to me. But – there was one, not the folk museum, or the nautical museum, but the viking ship museum. That was something that sounded like it was worth seeing.

I didn't really know what to expect, but I dutifully waited for the 17 street car to take me to the main station, when I switched for the 30 bus. On board I discovered that I loved bus schedules, and that I enjoyed watched every station come by, and then pass, in such an orderly and well typed fashion. This will not do, when I get back to Toronto.

As I walked through the museum doors, I came face to – well bow, I guess – with a huge ship. Paying my 50K I went for a closer inspection. The ship was enormous, and the carving was so detailed that it was hard to imagine it being used to ferry around over forty viking warriors.

There were two other ships in the museum, as well as a number of artifacts discovered during the excavation (more on that in a moment.) Though it was a small museum, I found myself leaving no less than two hours after I had arrived. Two ships were in relatively good condition, while the other was mostly just a wreck. Although, found with it were three smaller boats, so that seemed to make up for it.

I couldn't help but think about the movie The Thirteenth Warrior, and how – every time from now – when I watch it, I can say “I've seen one of those ships.” But not just some sort of movie recreation, the actual thing. The very same boat that, over a thousand years ago, people rode to war – and could have crossed oceans in, some coming to settle in what is now Canada.

So where were these boats found? And how is it that they were excavated? Well, I will have you know that all three of these ships were found as funeral mounds. The boats were taken inland, with their deceased dignitary on board, and burried under the earth (along with belongings, animals, weapons, jewels – stolen by grave robbers – and whatever else you would need for your trip to the after life.)

Seeing these ships in such perfect condition really makes you wonder just how much history they saw, and were part of. Were I able to have a super power it would be complete knowledge of the history of an item (and perhaps, if I'm pushing it – the future as well.) This is my conservative power, of course. My true one would be to create “Groundhog Day” situations – but that seems like too much to ask.

When I was finally able to tear myself away from the ships (and finally stop photographing them – I set up a tripod on the security guards chair to deal with the low light conditions. A little girl on a field trip then mimicked me. The guard? I don't know – he seemed cool with it.) I headed outside. Still, the world was a beautiful and wonderful place in which to live. So why not go for a walk, I thought.

An arrow pointed towards the public ferry docks, so I headed down that way – passing all number of gingerbread house houses – they make them distinct and beautiful here in Oslo. I was under the impression that the ferry had stopped running at the end of August, but still I was due for a little stroll and I could find a new way to walk back, perhaps getting delightfully lost in the process.

Just as I finished marveling at all the sailboats moored up, I noticed what looked like the ferry coming in. Couldn't be though, could it? Number 91 on top. It was! So on I hopped, and rode back to the centre of town at Akers Bridge – where, failing to understand if a cheese burger was 10K or 12K (both numbers were on the sign) I headed away and ended up walking across the field from the tram stop to the hostel for my final time.

It will be unfortunate to leave this place behind, but I'm sure there are all sorts of delights in my future.

Now – if you'll excuse me – I need to get some sleep. It's an early day tomorrow.


  1. Sounds like a very enjoyable day. Although it had to have been difficult to pull away from Dr Who.

    The Viking Museum sound enchanting (and I'm not one for museums).

    I am really enjoying reading your blog...keep going and safe travels :o)

  2. I would have loved to seen the viking ships. They were buried you say? How amazing that they were still in such amazing condition.

  3. apparently they were in such good condition because they were buried. I think they were in "blue clay" or something like that that allowed they to remain so well preserved.


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