Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Scandinavia Trip - Day 5

Day number 5 of our trip! We woke up in Oslo after sleeping in a little bit, knowing that we had a long day ahead. After checking out of the hostel and storing our luggage, we headed down to the Opera house. This Opera house is one of the most impressive buildings in Oslo not only because of it's design and location on the harbor, but also because it is built in such a way that allows visitors to walk out on the roof. It was spectacular! 

Oslo Opera House
View of the harbor near the Opera house

Inside of the lobby
Next up on our agenda was the Oslo Free Tour. Now, many of you may be familiar with the free tour concept. In many of Europe's major cities, young people work for tips, leading guided tours of the city's main sights while sharing cultural and historical insights. Many of the visitors to these tours are also young people, traveling on a budget, who give what they can in appreciation of the guide's work. It's really quite a cool concept. Oslo's walking tour, however, is a whole different ball game. It isn't run by a small organization of young people, but rather seemingly by one single guy who runs that show however he sees fit. 
Let me paint you a little picture! We show up at the designated meeting spot and shortly before the posted starting time a man appears in baggy pants and a sweater with a large black cloth draped over his head. When he asks us if we're here for the free tour we reply with a hesitant yes. "I can see you, but you can't see me," he tells us. Kayli and I exchange a look that is worth a thousand words as discreetly as possible as he explains that he is a street artist and therefore doesn't want to be recognized.  As the tour continues and he recounts the stories of his numerous arrests for various petty crimes, we begin to wonder about the real reason why his face may need to be concealed.  All in all the tour was okay.  It was definitely interesting to learn a bit about the underground culture of Oslo and to understand what some of the street art in the city means, but if you're looking for the more traditional tour of the city's historic landmarks with a guide who doesn't make you feel at least slightly uncomfortable throughout the duration of the tour, this tour isn't for you.  

At one point on the tour he took us up on a roof to look at the city from above a bit
Probably the coolest graffiti we saw

The rest of the day we tried to spend as normally as possible, visiting a few more of Oslo's parks and making sure we hadn't missed any must-see spots before moving onto our next Scandinavian destination. 

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