Sunday, July 1, 2012

Eurotrip 2012 - Day 15 (6/29) - Oslo

I caught up a bit on sleep the night before but still managed to make it down for breakfast a little after 9. The breakfast spread was just about as good as the last hotel, though perhaps a bit less fancy, and I had pretty much my usual breakfast plus some grapes. I then left to walk to the Stortinget (Parliament; but more specifically the Stortingsbuilding) which was only a few blocks away. I also realized that the hotel was less than a block from Karl Johans gate (I had always come from the other direction) and less than two blocks from the cathedral; and the city blocks are pretty small in Oslo. Because I underestimated my proximity, I arrived at the building 20 minutes before the English guided tour at 10, and had to wait a bit. Though they only allow 30 in the group (so they advise arriving 15 minutes early), only 11 showed up for that tour. The tour ended up being more interesting than I expected.

It had begun raining while I was inside the parliament building, and it would continue to do so for the rest of the day. This put a damper on my plans, which included a couple of outdoor activities. After a failed attempt at buying a 24-hour metro card from a metro kiosk and a wrong turn, I wandered around for a while then eventually ended up by the national theater metro station. I bought the metro pass at the convenience store just outside the station then took the metro to Majorstuen and walked into Frogner Park. I found the Vigeland Sculpture Park and took some pictures in the rain. I then hustled back to the Royal Palace to try to make it by 1 PM, forgetting that the next English guided tour was at 2 (even though I had written that down in my plan for the day). I was reminded at the entrance when I arrived there right at 1, and the lady suggested that I go to the post office and buy an advanced ticket for 2:20 since the tour at 2 looked pretty full. I then wandered about for over 30 minutes in the rain looking for the post office she directed me to. After asking a few people for help I finally found someone who knew where it was, so I found it (it was at the back of a building that I had walked past) and bought the ticket. I still had over 30 minutes to kill before the tour, so I walked slowly back toward the castle and briefly took some shelter at a nearby building. I made it over to the entrance a little early, and after a bit of waiting eventually went on the tour. As with previous palaces, pictures were not allowed inside this one. Even though the palace was fairly small in comparison, the interior decorations (mostly painted walls) were quite nice. After the tour I was fed up with being wet and cold so I walked back toward the hotel. I made a stop across the street for a falafel pita, which I took back to my room to eat while I dried off. I went out later that night (after it stopped raining) to see the movie 21 Jump Street, and then swung by the opera house for one last visit before leaving the country.

Observation of the day: Sunrise in Oslo on this day was officially at 4:00 AM and sunset was at 10:43 PM, yielding 18 hours and 44 minutes (I guess due to rounding - check Wolfram Alpha if you don't believe me) of daylight.

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