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Oslo – Home of the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

September 9, 2011 by Chelsea Slone

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Oslo is one of those places where you can’t quite decide if you like it or not. I don’t know if this was because we weren’t quite ready to leave Stockholm and Oslo was just the unlucky place to fall behind it, but after talking with some other people we realized we weren’t the only ones who found the capital of Norway to be a little rough around the edges. Don’t get me wrong, Oslo has some gorgeous parks, an awesome opera house, and not to mention it’s City Hall hosts the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony each year. It can be a great place when you spend your days walking down by the water front in the city center or strolling through the funky Grünerløkka district and eating at one of the trendy cafes, but veer off track by a block and you’ll most likely witness a couple of midday drug deals and some police arrests as well…

We stayed in the funky Grünerløkka district, referred to by the locals as løkka or the Greenwich village of Oslo. It’s a lively part of the city filled with cafés, bars, small fashion designer shops, and nice parks. The best part is it wasn’t the least bit swarmed with tourists, so we felt like locals from the first night. We spent most all of our nights in this great areas, but ventured off to explore some of the sites during the day.

Oslo’s ultra modern Opera House is an amazing marble and granite vision that rises out of the fjord like a giant glacier. It was Norway’s first entry into the top league of modern architecture and was awarded the 2008 prize for best cultural building and the prestigious Mies van der Rohe award for best European contemporary architecture in 2009. Some say it is shaped like a glacier and others say it is a ship but the stunning building seems to float by the inlet Bjørvika. And just to make it a little bit more fun, it’s the only Opera house in the world where you can walk up on top of it’s roof for views of the fjord and the city.

One of the most important buildings in all of Oslo is their City Hall where the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is held each year and the prize is presented. Oslo’s City Hall is located by the waterfront of the city’s center. On the North side of the building there is a beautiful astronomical clock and inside the main hall features huge murals with typical Nordic socialist themes.

While we were in Oslo we also visited the intriguing Vigeland Sculpture Park. The unique sculpture park is the life work of a single Norwegian artist, Gustav Vigeland, with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite, and wrought iron. Vigeland also designed the layout of the park, which beautifully presents his work. The large gates mark the beginning of the park and lead you to a bridge lined with sculptures representing the Human Condition theme in the park. One of the most famous among them is the Angry Boy statue.

The Monolith is the parks most popular attraction. It towers 46 feet high and is composed of 121 human figures rising toward the sky. It is meant to represent man’s desire to become closer with the spiritual and divine.

During all of our site seeing we came across the main cathedral in downtown Oslo, and saw that it was covered in flowers and candles for those who tragically lost their lives in the recent July 22nd bombing and shooting. We also took a visit to the government center to see where the bombing had taken place, however it was all mostly blocked off by now with little memorials left here and there. You could see the city was still very affected by this recent tragedy as we came across many people still bringing flowers and sorrows to the church.


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