"Powellite" Bagnall 3ft gauge locomotive at Black Sands, Victoria - 1938. Photograph: P.G. Dow

07 August, 2010

Friday 6 August - at Oslo

Day started out very wet and grey. Went to post office to post more books back to myself in Oz. Succeded in finding a shop that sold pens - a bookshop. Was looking for a DVD on Norway published by NRK (the Norwegian equivalent of the ABC and BBC) but failed. I know it exists but could not find it, and I am seeking two copies.

Took the tram to Frogner Park. An interesting tram ride which took an interesting route around the waterfront and past the old Oslo former 3ft 6in gauge station which I mentioned in a previous post, and which I have since learnt dates from 1871. That being so it was an extremely impressive building for what started out being quite a small railway operation, (but grew to match the pretensions of the station). The trams seem to make quite a deep-throated growl when they get going, unlike Melbourne trams (though I have not yet ridden on a low-floor Melbourne tram, which give the impression of having no wheels). An extraordinary feature of this tram route was an open-track tram junction in the middle of a water fountain. It appears the water jets automatically turn off when the tram goes through, so that the underside of the tram does not get a free wash.

Frogner Park is a large park on the outskirts of Oslo (probably two or thee kilometres out) with lots of trees and shaded walks, and plenty of seats placed strategically, and the usual statues. One bust is of Abraham Lincoln, a gift from the citizens of North Dakota USA in 1914, with an uplifting quote on freedom and democracy. At that time Norway had been fully independent for only about nine years, and the philosophy of Norway's founding fathers would certainly have been in line with the quote, but the way Norway and the USA have implemented that philosophy are quite different. There were I think many Norwegian emigrants in North Dakota, so there would have been a connection.

Within Frogner Park is Vigeland Park, an amazing collection of hundreds of granite and bronze sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, including a 14 metre high granite monolith on the park's highest hill. The Lonely Planet guide to Norway says it took three stone carvers fourteen years to make it. It depicts 121 human figures striving to reach the top. The Vigeland Park sculptures are on a huge scale, and attract a large number of foreign tourists, but because of the huge scale there is plenty of space for tourists.

Fortunately the weather cleared for most of the time I was wandering around here taking numerous photographs, but unfortunately the phone-camera photographs on this blog do not do the Park justice. Returned back to central Oslo in a well packed tram, by which time rain had set in again.

Later in the day the rain cleared again and there was blue sky and sunshine.

Dinner in a Chinese restaurant in the old Oslo main-line station building, where there is good food to be had at a good price, and friendly staff.

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