Kafe Asylet
I bought cake and coffee here in the afternoon. I was obviously out of step since everyone else was drinking beer. Nice place though, on the north side of downtown.
Engebret Café
I was thrilled to discover this 155 year old restaurant still exists. I ate here with my family back when I was 15. My brother ordered seal. I tried to order boars head but the waiter said I wouldn’t like it. They are still known for traditional favorites in season. Unfortunately, boars head was out of season. But I was able to sample whale meat in an appetizer. Shades of “The Freshman”.
Akershuss Fortress
The fortress grounds are expansive and sport some nice views of the harbor. It is a nice place to walk, but I’m not sure whether it is the kind of place you could spread out for a picnic. Some of the buildings are still used by the military and they have armed guards and the whole bit. They restrict vehicle access but they didn’t seem too concerned about pedestrians wandering around. I noticed people collect atop the west wall, near the Resistance Museum to watch the sunset. There is also a music venue on the grounds.
Onda, Pipervika
This is simply a restaurant on the west end, one of the oldest new buildings. The entire waterfront is in the middle of complete transformation. It is a stunning display of modern architecture with a massive opera house at the center. They are literally creating a whole new living space from former commercial areas, complete with new civic areas and buildings. This region is jarringly different from old town, which it borders. Set-apart and self-contained, new town is something of a ghetto for rich people. It reminded me of Portland’s Pearl District. Like bygone parking in front of Powell’s Books in Portland, the place here in Oslo where my family bought fresh boiled shrimp off a fisherman’s boat back in the ‘70’s no longer exists.
Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement
I asked the concierge to recommend a nice walking route through the city and he sent me directly to this place. Wow. It was mind-blowing to view in one place so many attempts to capture the spirit of man. What a tribute to human beings. It was equally enjoyable to observe the expansive effect this spectacle had on the other visitors.
Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement
This sculpture garden contains 212 pieces and covers 80 acres. All the pieces were designed by Gustav Vigeland, but not all were carved by him. The totem in the center, “The Monolith”, took Vigeland 10 months just to work out in clay miniature. From this a full size plaster model was cast. Then a single granite block was brought onto the site, the plaster model was set next to it and a shed was built around the two. Three sculptors worked 14 years to carve the final piece. It opened Christmas 1944 to a crowd of 180,000 spectators! (That’s about five times the population Oslo had at that time. Hmmm.)
Frognerseteren Restaurant
I rode the subway up the hill to the end of the line, then walked back down through a large forest north of the city. This restaurant was at the trailhead. On the way down I met several joggers and a young couple who looked like they were living in the woods.
Der Schrei der Natur
I fulfilled a lifelong wish by visiting the Munch Museum and viewing this famous painting. Whether this is THE painting I meant to see is difficult to determine. Munch created multiple versions of many of his works. He made four versions of The Scream, two paintings and two pastels; and a lithograph, from which about four dozen prints were made. It turns out that one of the pastels exchanged hands just this May. The sales price of $119,922,500 set a record for a painting sold at auction. The Munch Museum holds one painting and one pastel. The Oslo National Art Gallery holds the other painting.

Oslo, Norway, 8/9-11/2012

Edvard Munch, The Scream and the Munch Museum

Remember hearing this artwork was stolen? Did you know it happened twice? The National Gallery was robbed of their painting in 1994 and the Munch Museum’s painting was stolen in 2004. Both were recovered within months. As you can imagine, the security at the Munch is now worse than any airport. First you have to empty your pockets, then strip, then walk through a lie detector, then plug your ticket into a turnstile that opens a bullet proof barrier. Armed guards watch your progress through every room. You leave through another bullet proof barrier and are forbidden to reenter. Well, almost.

I wasn’t advised of the protocol at the cash register so I entered desperately needing to use the toilet, only to find none. I had to walk all the way through the museum to return to the entrance, where they hide the restrooms in the basement. Then I had to plead insanity to get back in without paying admission again.

I found several of Munch’s pieces hauntingly beautiful. They reminded me of Emily Carr’s work. However, it was a little unsettling to look at “The Murderer” and think, “Hey, that guy looks like me!”

Munch was the poster child of tortured artists: he was sensitive, struggled with grudging success, was censured by the Nazis, fought with a stalker girlfriend, shot himself and suffered a mental breakdown. Yet he survived early electroshock therapy, managed to make some money, achieved notoriety within his lifetime and lived to 80. Not too bad.