After a pretty decent nights sleep (we were out like lights at 10pm) and despite a rather noisy dorm mate, woke up refreshed and ready for our 8am start.
Having bought an Oslo 72 hour pass (£50 for students) we were keen to visit as many museums as possible.
We arrived at the Munch Museum bright and early for its 10am opening time, hoping to see Munch’s famous painting The Scream. Unfortunately, having been stolen in 2004 and sadly damaged before its 2006 return it wasn’t on show, rather disappointing given every poster bore it’s unmistakable features. Nevertheless, an exhibition on Munch and his contemporary, Jorn, provided an interesting hour.
The highlight for myself and Emily was the colour by numbers section of the exhibit; we had a competition on FB to decide the best one. Emily won. I’m not bitter.
After the Munch Museum, Emily and I parted ways, she went to the Natural History Museum, whilst I headed to the Astrup Fearnley Modern Art Gallery, which focused on both art and Architecture.
The building itself is a beautiful work of architecture, divided into two halves, one containing the permanent collection, the other housing temporary exhibits. The temporary exhibition “Los Angeles – A Fiction” was by far my favorite, featuring many American artists including Alexis Smith, David Hockney and Charles Ray.
The permanent collection was much larger, with a wider range of mediums, however I found it rather bland. Bisected baby cows in preservative, and crucified sheep are not art. They are simply cruel, hideous and unnecessary. The highlight of this half was a 10ft high bookshelf sporting large grey lead books, by artist Anselm Kiefer.
After my brief trip to the modern era it was time to go back to ancient times and visit the castle or Akershus Fortress.
Within the fortress walls also lies the Resistance Museum which catalogs the struggles of the Norwegian Resistance throughout the 2nd world war, through continued fighting, underground publications and refusal to fight. Whilst not the largest museum, and mostly in Norwegian (although there is a good guide English guide book) it tells the stories through the medium of models.
As with all or Norway, it seems, the castle itself was closed for the winter. Ordinarily the interior of the castle, as well as the Mausoleum and Chapel are open to the public, however when we went only the visitors center was available. The visitors center itself was essentially a museum, with 2 rooms focusing on the history of the castle and relations between Norway-Denmark and its battles with surrounding countries, and another room on the castle’s previous function as a prison.
Still an active government / military base, visitors can watch the changing of the guard, raising and lowering of the flag at sunrise and sunset (about 3pm in December), as well as enjoy a beautiful walk around the castle grounds.
Our final stop was an evening visit to the Film Museum, housed on the ground floor of a large cinema complex. With late opening hours, and free entry, we tacked it on to our itinerary. The museum is small, and whilst an English information sheet is provided, it rarely matched up to the pieces on show. It’s a quaint museum fairly close to the castle, so a good one to visit if you find yourself nearby with half an hour to kill.
After another dinner at Hard Rock Cafe (yes it’s the only place that serves vegetarian food) we were back at the hostel to read and relax (and enjoy the US netflix options Norway gets) it was sleep time again!