Dr. Hoffer's Travel Site This site was last updated 09/13/12
SCAND2003 #11 Oslo: Christiania & St. Olav
Today is Fatherís Day but not in Norway.
Sunday, June 15, 2003
I woke up 11 AM and finally got going to go do my run on a beautiful sunny Sunday. I started at 1:30 and ran through the Aker Brygge area as well as the area of the port looking out onto Oslofjord. Aker Brygge is strewn with these bronze statues of nude women in hats and shoes. As I ran up the hill where the old castle is, I spot a statue of old FDR, sitting in a chair. I also ran by the Norwegian Parliament building which is impressive. There are many beautiful buildings in the city. I got back to the hotel and Marcia and I headed back to that area to see the attractions on the castle hill. We went into the Christiania (old name for the city) model of the city which is the way it looked in the beginning. They showed a film that showed how Kong (King) Christian IV ordered that the old city of Oslo be reconstructed here and called it Chritiania.
The castle and fort that was already here was reinforced and enlarged. After that we took a walk around the grounds of the fort and tried to see the castle (called Akershus Slottet) but found it had already closed at 4. Since I wanted to make the 6 PM Mass, we walked over to Karl Johans Gate (KJGate) and stopped for cappuccino at the Grand Hotel Cafť  out front. Last night, I asked the man at the hotel where there was a Roman Catholic church and he didnít have the slightest idea and didnít think there was one in Oslo. I told him that must be impossible so he looked on the internet. Yep, he finds St. Olavís Church (the patron saint of Norway, St. Hallvard that of Oslo) of all things and itís within walking distance (as is almost everything in this city). Not only did they have a Mass in English at 6, but in Croatian, Vietnamese, Tamil, etc Ė quite unbelievable.
I walked over to St. Olavís Church passing by a huge cathedral on the way and after Mass (nicely in English); I photographed the beautiful stained glass images of Sts. Olav and Hallvard. I walked back and met Marcia (thanks to cell phones) and we took a casual walk down the pedestrian part of KJGate. Most of the stores were closed on Sunday but there was much restaurant activity. We finally stopped at Sir Winstonís Pub and had a Guinness & wine. While sitting outside, I called Irene in Spain to check on her plans of meeting us in St. Petersburg. She told me she was working on the visa. I also called and talked to Kristin for Fatherís Day. We then walked around the city to Christianís Torv (plaza, piazza) which was the cityís first market square. There we found this interesting fountain called ďChristian IVís GloveĒ by Wenche Gulbransen in 1997.
City Hall (Radhusset) is an impressive building near the fjord in the center of town. It is adorned with wood-cut reliefs of ancient Norse myths. There is a stone relief representing the characters in the famous novel by Alfred Seland, "Albertina". As we wandered around trying to decide on a place for dinner, Dima called to tell me that Jeff had called to wish me Happy Fatherís Day but didnít have my new Norwegian number. I called home but no answer. I tried the same for Kevin with same luck.
We finally settled on 9:00 dinner at the famous Theatercafeen [Stortinosgata 24, +47-22-82-4050] across the street from the Ibsenís National Theater. This was a really classy place and there was so much sunlight it felt like we were going for lunch. We ordered the least expensive wine on the list, thankfully for us, a Catalan wine called Bach Vina Extrisima (very good). We are finding alcohol is so heavily taxed here in Norway that a glass of beer and bottles of wine are extremely expensive. For starters we each had onion soup, and Marcia had rump steak of veal. I decided to have my first try at Reindeer steak which came with spinach. It wasnít bad but beef is better. For enders crŤme brulėe and an espresso. It was $160 for the dinner and it seems dinners are going to cost more than the room unless we start using McDonalds (which are everywhere). We walked back to the hotel and I had to go down to the garage and plunk in 120 Kroner ($17) into the machine which prints out a slip I put on the dashboard.
I went upstairs and worked on some photos and went to bed at 2 AM.
PS: Note our new Finnish phone numbers
KJH Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #12
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
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