Some stranger rolled down his window and yells in a thick Norwegian accent, “SHELBY!?” Gier, our Airbnb host, was one of the most charismatic people in Oslo. He greeted us eagerly, took our bulky luggage into his tiny car, and drove us to our apartment for the weekend. Mind you, when I say tiny—my cheek was practically pressed against the window. After we settled into the apartment and Gier showed us the ropes, we strolled by the park by our house and steep steps to the “Times Square” of Oslo. I was missing American food, so we made a beeline for TGI Fridays, and savored every bite of each mozzarella stick. We then browsed the shops, including the Troll shop, and I was able to snag patches and pins for my jacket and collection of souvenirs.
That evening we watched the sunset on the hill, adjacent to our apartment, and stood in silence as we were in awe of such beauty. A change in perspective is always nice, as Florida is so flat so I wasn’t used to seeing an entire sunset with hills and slopes surrounding me. As the sun was setting, the twinkling lights of homes were so visible in the far distance. We then bought groceries and popcorn and put on the movie, “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” but fell asleep in the middle.
Next day we slept in and had a nice, slow morning. Janine cooked us breakfast, and presented me with bright red strawberries, bananas, toast, and scrambled eggs. We started at the Munch Museum, which one would think they would have the “The Scream” on display by Edvard Munch. They didn’t. Yet, the museum was still lovely, as the paintings all had such vibrant colors and exceptional details. One painting had a deep royal blue that was so rich it was mesmerizing. We then walked into a giant room where Munch’s “Sun” painting was displayed, which stretched to the high ceiling, making us feel like ants in comparison.
I was unexpectedly pleased with the displays at The Nobel Peace Center, which included Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad who were the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Recipients. I read Nada’s story, watched a video on Dr. Mukwege performing surgeries on women who were subject to abuse. Not only was this exhibit impactful, but allowed me to leave with a sense of purpose to help. “Turn their pain into power,” as Denis Mukwege said.
Next a walk through Vigeland Park, that held all the statues of Gustav Vigeland’s life work. The well-known screaming baby was smaller than I expected, but still got a picture next to it. We walked up a slope to the “Circle of Life” piece, which had humans entangled beautifully in a circle. We sat on a bench for a good bit afterwards, absorbing the life around us, dogs without leashes staying loyally by their owner, and toddlers wobbling by holding their parents hands.
Ended our perfect evening with wine at the Oslo Opera house. Absorbing the comfort of the silence and sweet serenity. (Would like to note that this was also the first time we had been carded in Europe and I felt like a child again.)
Saturday held another cozy, slow morning with melted ice cream for breakfast since we didn’t have a freezer. We visited the Viking Ship museum, which held three authentic ships from Vikings in 850 AD. Then the Folk Museum, which we were able to see what a Nordic village looked like. Janine looked like a kid on Christmas when we went into the barn and got to see pigs, bunnies, sheep, and pet a cow. We walked up the hill to see the Seven church, which I began to draw in a coffee shop afterwards with a Cheesecake muffin.
Walked along the pier at Aker Byrgge, where we watched yet another beautiful sunset. When we got back to our apartment we got to see the sky bleed pink like a sharpie. It was so vibrant and lively. On our walk back we weren’t allowed to purchase alcohol and I felt like a child who just got her candy taken away. The lady at the check out even just put it to the side. Janine and I were a bit frustrated, but when we looked it up later, realized it’s a law that you aren’t allowed to purchase alcohol after 6 pm on a saturday. We were flabbergasted. An awful law. Anyways….
Sunday was the Bla Sunday Market. It was nestled in a little alley way, with local vendors and an array of colorful graffiti. Makeshift chandeliers hung in the middle of the alleyways, with beads and unique colors strung upon them. I ended up adding to my ring collection and purchased one with a face and another with a circular black smooth stone by Maral Jafarian. I got my second crumbly goodness cheesecake muffin from Expresso Coffee for breakfast and walked back to call our uber to take us to the airport who rolled up in a Jaguar. Comfy cozy. We arrived at the airport early to finish up some homework and share photos with our family.
Another adventure for the book, another country, another reason to be thankful. Even though we were in an exotic country, I’d have to confess my favorite part were the moments I was sitting soaking in the sunset. There was nothing like it, and it goes to show, even the simplest moments hold the most meaning. Hope you have an amazing Easter weekend!
Wishing you the best always. Make sure to find gratefulness in everyday.