Monday, February 21, 2011

A Day Downtown

Saturday we decided to go into Oslo again to play tourist for an afternoon. We have been staying closer to home and enjoying the snow and ski trails, but it was time for some new experiences.
Heading to the train station near our house

Temporary Building set up downtown for information about the Oslo 2011 Nordic World Ski Championships
The Nordic World Ski Championships start here in Oslo this coming week. There is great excitement all through the country about hosting this competition. Norwegians are known for their enthusiasm for skiing, and also for their ability to turn any outdoor event into a great party. According to the official website, they are expecting around 6000 people to camp out in the woods around the competition and to cheer along the ski routes "outside the fence" (ie, without having to buy tickets to go in to the main spectator areas). Middle Child and the Professor are going to go with her class to camp out overnight in the Family Camping area next week. This is all in addition to the thousands who will be there with tickets for the events (including ski jumping on the recently renovated jump we saw last fall).  The "fever" has even hit the grocery stores--since Christmas we have been inundated with Ski Championship-themed food--special labels for milk, cheese, snack food, even the "Holmenkollen Pølser" (hotdogs named for the Holmenkollen jump and ski area where the competition will be held).

Walking the grounds up to the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace

We walked up from the train station to see the outside of the Royal Palace, and even managed to be there to see the changing of the guard. It is not as fancy as Buckingham Palace or some of the other European palaces, but I think it is quite striking as a palace that is very welcoming to the people. The guards are right out front by the gate, but otherwise you can walk all around the parade grounds in the front and actually get quite close to the palace itself. It is located right in the heart of Oslo. The flag was flying to show that the king was in residence this day, but it is our understanding that the royal family actually lives most of the time in a residence in an upscale neighborhood on the shore of the Oslo fjord.

The National Theater

Across from the National Theater
We didn't go in to the theater, but did walk along the pedestrian mall that leads from the palace down through town and past the National Theater. I also had to take a photo of this building across the street--that top floor apartment with the elaborate balcony caught my eye!