4 Hours In …

Fol­low in the foot­steps of play­wrights, prize-win­ners and politi­cians as you ex­plore the Nor­we­gian cap­i­tal

Business Traveler (USA) - - NEWS - By Felic­ity Cousins



One of Oslo’s most fa­mous and cel­e­brated in­hab­i­tants was the noted play­wright Hen­rik Ib­sen. From 1895 un­til his death in 1906 he lived in an apart­ment op­po­site the Royal Gar­dens, which has been re­con­structed and is now part of the Ib­sen Mu­seum. There are tours ev­ery hour by en­thu­si­as­tic guides who de­scribe how Ib­sen lived, and the in­flu­ence his wife Suzan­nah had on him. When Ib­sen wrote A Doll’s House, he was con­cerned that the end­ing was too con­tro­ver­sial. Pro­tag­o­nist Nora fa­mously ex­its, slam­ming the door be­hind her and leav­ing her fam­ily; Ib­sen rewrote it so that Nora shouts her last lines and then faints. When Suzan­nah read this al­ter­na­tive end­ing she said:“If Nora stays, I leave.” So Nora left, and au­di­ences across Europe were shocked by the de­pic­tion of her in­de­pen­dence and strength. Sum­mer hours 11:00 AM – 6 PM; win­ter sched­ule 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM (6:00 PM on Thurs­day).



Op­po­site Ib­sen’s apart­ment are the gar­dens of the Royal Palace. (When he was un­well af­ter a stroke, the play­wright was given a key to the gar­dens so he could take his walks with­out be­ing dis­turbed.) To­day the Royal Gar­dens are open to the pub­lic and you can watch the chang­ing of the guard at the Palace at 1:30 PM daily. There is a huge gravel path leading up to the Palace and if you look back from the top you can get good views of Oslo’s main street. Walk through the gar­dens to the bot­tom left­hand cor­ner at Univer­sity Gate and find the Na­tional Gallery. In­side is the largest collection of Nor­we­gian art world­wide (open daily 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM), which in­cludes the world-fa­mous Scream by Ed­vard Munch and works by Rolf Nesch, Reidar Aulie and Arne Eke­land. (If you are a real Munch fan, head to the Munch Mu­seum by jump­ing on an east-bound metro to Toyen-Munch-Museet.)



There are sev­eral well­known ho­tels in Oslo – the Grand and the Con­ti­nen­tal are the old­est, while more mod­ern land­marks in­clude the Radis­son SAS and the stun­ning Grims Grenka, which fea­tures a rooftop ter­race and bar. The Grand Ho­tel is home to the Grand Café, which Ib­sen vis­ited ev­ery day to take a break from writ­ing. He ar­rived at the ho­tel at ex­actly 11:55 AM and would sit be­hind his news­pa­per try­ing to be in­con­spic­u­ous. There is a great

mu­ral on one of the walls by Per Krohg, painted in 1928. It shows the Grand Café packed with cus­tomers, from the ho­tel man­ager to Ed­vard Munch and play­wright Bjorn­st­jerne Bjorn­son, and on the left Ib­sen can be seen ar­riv­ing with his top hat and cane. The Grand Ho­tel also hosts the No­bel Peace Prize din­ner and the win­ner stays in the No­bel Peace Suite and waves from the bal­cony to his ador­ing crowd of fans be­low.


From the Grand Ho­tel, cut straight down to the wa­ter­front. Up a steep hill to your left is the Fort, and it’s worth the climb to the top for great views across the 60-mile Oslo Fjord and of the boats com­ing in – 144 cruise ships visit Oslo over the sum­mer and there are three fer­ries to Den­mark a day. Tak­ing a cruise around the fjord is one of the city’s most pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tions, and there are op­tions to suit ev­ery sched­ule. The stan­dard 50-minute tour is a great in­tro­duc­tion, but if you have an evening to spare it’s well worth tak­ing a three-hour cruise on a tra­di­tional wooden sail­ing ship with a Nor­we­gian prawn buf­fet.



From the con­tro­ver­sial win of Henry Kissinger to the 2009 de­ci­sion to honor Barack Obama, the No­bel Peace prize has been gen­er­at­ing head­lines since its in­au­gu­ra­tion in 1901. This mu­seum is a fan­tas­ti­cally mod­ern in­tro­duc­tion to ev­ery­thing to do with the prize. It is an in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, so be pre­pared to lose yourself for at least an hour, as each room has an in­no­va­tive way of dis­play­ing in­for­ma­tion. For ex­am­ple, on a ta­ble in the cen­ter of one room is a huge vir­tual book which tells the his­tory of the prize: Al­bert No­bel was a bomb-maker ex­per­i­ment­ing with ni­tro­glyc­erin (his brother was killed in one of his ex­per­i­ments), and it is thought he in­vested in the prize be­cause he was in love with a woman who per­suaded him to do some­thing good with his money. En­try is free with the Oslo Pass (closed on Mon­days).



This 80-acre park is filled with 212 bronze and gran­ite sculp­tures by Gus­tav Vige­land, who also de­signed the lay­out and struc­ture of the park. It was a mas­sive un­der­tak­ing and he had to en­list the help of other artists to fin­ish the life-size sculp­tures. Sadly, they were not all com­pleted un­til around 1950, by which time Vige­land had died. From the main en­trance, the first thing that strikes you is the bridge, which is flanked by stat­ues show­ing the dif­fer­ent re­la­tion­ships be­tween par­ent and child, friend and lover. The most fa­mous is the an­gry lit­tle boy Sin­nataggen, who has been stolen and re­turned sev­eral times. At the end of the bridge is a foun­tain sur­rounded by in­tri­cate stone carvings of trees, with fig­ures telling the story of life from child­hood to love, mar­riage, old age and fi­nally death. From here, a short flight of steps leads up to the Mono­lith, a mind-bog­gling pil­lar of in­ter­linked bod­ies. Ad­mis­sion to the park is free, and it is open 24 hours a day.

Oslo Pass pro­vides free en­try to mu­se­ums and sights, use of pub­lic trans­port, free park­ing and dis­counts on tours, car rental and restaurants. Price for a 24-hour pass: $49; 48 hours: $72; 72 hours: $90.

vis­i­toslo.com BT

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