It all started here...

It all started here...

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Oslo, Norway

HAL Zuiderdam 12-Day Fjords and Highlands Cruise Day 2
Thursday May 18, 2017 - Oslo, Norway 10:00~6:00
Weather: Cloudy, drizzle with gentle breeze (13/55F)

This cruise is very port intensive, with only one sea day at the end. This was an amazing itinerary that I don't think we will ever be able to repeat. We did a lot of walking on this cruise, averaging three to four miles a day. With eight of us being senior citizens it became quite challenging at times. Fortunately no one complains and everybody just followed wherever I lead them and we had a great time traveling together, visiting all the incredible places that we never thought could be a possibility. 

Day 1 (5/17) - Copenhagen, Denmark
Day 2 (5/18) - Oslo, Norway
Day 3 (5/19) - Kristiansand, Norway
Day 4 (5/20) - Stavanger, Norway
Day 5 (5/21) - Flam, Norway
Day 6 (5/22) - Bergen, Norway
Day 7 (5/23) - Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland
Day 8 (5/24) - Portree, Isle of Sky, Scotland
Day 9 (5/25) - Invergordon, Scotland
Day 10 (5/26) - Edinburg, Scotland
Day 11 (5/27) - Newcastle, England
Day 12 (5/28) - At Sea
Day 13 (5/29) - Copenhagen, Denmark

Oslo is the capital of Norway at the head of the Oslofjord. With only one day here, we will not be able to see everything we wanted but will try to hit as many spots as possible on our own. 

HAL provided a port guide booklet which gives basic information about each port-of-call. I just wish that the maps were a little better.

Rugs in the elevators get changed everyday.

Zuiderdam was scheduled to arrive Oslo at 10:00AM so we had time in the morning for a leisurely breakfast at the Lido... and also a walk around the ship afterward.

Shore Excursion desk on deck 3 Atrium.

Guest Services on the other side of deck 3.

I am sure we were down there for a reason but I can't recall what it was for now.

At 9:43, Zuiderdam docked at Oslo Cruise Terminal, right next to the Akershus Castle and Fortress

on a wet day


Cruise Terminal with souvenir stores and cafe inside.

Cannons in the fortress, a photo from our cabin.

view from our obstructed window

We got off the ship at around 10:30 and walked towards the city hall which was a short distance away.

Some statues at the square near the City Hall.

I believe that's the Dykkaren sculpture.

HAL Zuiderdam docked nearby.

City Hall, and the site for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

I have read that we can purchase the all-day transportation passes at this 7-11 store right behind the city hall but when we got there we were told that they no longer provide that service. The staff in there told us to buy the tickets 'at' the National Theater which is right behind this building.

Behind National Theater

We walked around the National Theater and couldn't find a ticket booth. Then I saw a convenient store right outside the metro station and thought I would just go in and ask. Sure enough, that was where they sell the tickets. (On Google map, it shows Narvesen Nationaltheatre) The all day tickets were 90NOK ($10.77USD) and seniors at half price 45NOK. A pretty good deal since we will be using that ticket at least four times today.

After purchasing the tickets we had to find the bus stop for #30 that will take us to the folk museum and the Viking Ship Museum on the Bygdoy Peninsula. The bus stop was actually back down the waterfront near the City Hall. We validated our tickets when we boarded and the driver gave us a receipt as verification with the start and end time printed on. This bus was quite full but eventually we all got seats as people started getting off along the route. I wasn't sure if the Folks Museum would be a good place to be since it was drizzling a bit and it is an outdoor museum so we went one stop further and got off the bus at the Viking Ship Museum instead. It was about a 15-minute bus ride from the City Hall. 

The exterior of the museum looked more like a church.

A cafe with picnic tables right outside the museum.

Quite a busy museum with plenty of visitors.

There is an entrance fee if you want to go inside the museum. 

The Viking ship on display. Smaller than I expected.

We decided not to go inside the museum and just stayed at the balcony for a peek of the ship. There is a souvenir store at the entrance but everything was super expensive.

There is a neat video presentation up on the balcony level where we learned more of the history of the Viking ships and it was free! We also used the free toilets in the basement before leaving the museum.

After the visit, we crossed the street and took the #30 bus back to Olav Kyres Plass stop, then transferred to the #20 bus which has a stop right outside Vigelands Park.

Vigeland Park
Vigeland Park is the top tourist attraction in Oslo. It is the world's largest sculpture park with sculpture displays done by a single artist Gustav Vigeland. There are more than 200 sculptures of various shapes and sizes in this park. Other than the sculptures, the artist also designed the layout of the park which was completed between 1939 and 1949.

Main Gate to Vigeland Park

Vigeland Park

Crossing the Bridge

Looking down at the Fountain and the bridge from the Monolith.


Wheel of Life

ChC was the only one who walked all the way to the Wheel of Life statue from the Monolith.

It was certainly busy on that day.

Near the entrance of the park.

After spending an hour inside the park we were ready to explore the rest of the city by taking tram #12 back to the city center. Tram station is right outside the park gate. They did check our tickets on the tram.

The Royal Palace
We got off the tram at the National Theater stop and walked towards the Royal Palace. By now, I was tired and did not want to hike up to the Palace, so ChC and I just sat at the bench and waited while the rest of our group went up to see what was up there.


I couldn't help but opened my big mouth when I saw these people trampling over the flower beds and destroyed these beautiful flowers. It was like they didn't care as long as they had their photos taken. They gave me that dirty look and quickly disappeared. Come on, people, look what you have done! 

After the Royal Palace, we followed the main street Karl Johans Gate down to the center of town.

Beautiful tulips outside University of Oslo.

University of Oslo

HOHO train

Sidewalk cafes

Parliament of Norway

Pedestrian Street, shoppers paradise.

Oslo Cathedral

Oslo Cathedral where important events are held.

Akershus Castle and Fortress
We ended our tour of Oslo at the Akershus Castle and Fortress near the cruise terminal. This medieval fort was built in the 13th century to protect Oslo from invaders. It has been used as a prison and now holds two military museums. This place is so huge that we were kind of lost at some point and couldn't find our way back to the cruise port until someone showed us the correct way to go. An excellent view of the harbor can be seen at the top of the fortress. We could have stayed up there for a little longer if it wasn't starting to rain again.

This is the way....

back to the cruise terminal.

Zuiderdam greeted us with cups of delicious hot cocoa before we got back on the gangway. Just what we needed on this cold and windy day. 

Back on the ship, we went straight to the Lido for some lunch. Well, lunch was over but snacks was available. I had a bowl of salad and we ordered a couple of cannonballs (burgers) from Dive In to share. A hearty late lunch.

Pool under the retractable roof on Zuiderdam.

At 5:44, our ship sailed away from Oslo.

Crow's Nest was very busy as we sailed out of Oslofjord.

One of the meeting rooms.


aft of deck 3 outside the main dining room

Some interesting scenery as we sailed away from Oslo. Unfortunately weather was not the greatest.

Can't recall what we had for dinner that evening without a picture of the menu. No matter, everything was really good!

Oh, I remember, I asked for white rice instead of the...

brown rice.

Wonderful Peach Crisp

Nick ended dinner with some origami fun. 

Good job, Nick!

We had a good day touring Oslo. Just for the sake of it, I compared what we did to one of HAL excursions called 'Oslo Highlights and Viking Ships',  almost covered exactly what we did in 3 1/2 hour except they used a coach instead of public transportation . The cost of that tour was $84.95pp where as we only spent less than $11pp with seniors half price on public transportation. I think we did well in saving us some money. It will be interesting to see how much we will save by the end of this cruise. Tonight we sail from Oslo to Kristiansand, 101 NM away.

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