Tuesday July 20th
Oslo [founded in 1050] is situated at the head of the 60 mile long Oslo Fyord, on the country`s SE coast close to the Swedish border.It covers 175 sq. miles within its city limits and is one of the World`s largest capital cities. 95% of Norway is covered by forest with more than 70% consisting of mountains, lakes, moorland and glaciers.
The population of Oslo is over 500,000 and the currency is the Norwegian Krone [NOK]. Although part of the EU, Norway opted to maintain its own currency as per Great Britain instead of switching to the Euro.
I dunno what it is with me and cruising, but I normally am wide awake very early in the morning and today was no exception.
It was only around 6.00 am and I noticed through the patio doors that the ship was crawling along against a backdrop of forest.
Leaving my DW in bed, I washed, got dressed and went up onto deck 10 to view the entry to Oslo where we were due to dock at around 8.00 am.
It was just starting to get light as myself and a handful of other intrepid early risers took in all of the fantastic scenery that was passing by.
The ship docked right opposite the Akershus Fortress which was built around 1300 and was occupied by the Nazis during WW2 who killed many of the Norwegian Resistance movement in its grounds.
At the time of our visit the fortress was undergoing some renovation works, hence the scaffolding and sheeting around the walls.
We had booked to go on the “Scenic Oslo Tour” which didn`t leave until 11.45 am so we took a leisurely breakfast being waited on by servers in Lumiéres. Doug, Michelle & Dani had chosen to do the “Viking Heritage Tour” so yesterday we arranged to meet them in Sessions this evening as my DW and I were to have dinner at Palos tonight.
After breakfast we went outside on deck 4 looking down on some of the passengers departing for their excursions, catching a glimpse of Mickey and Minnie dressed in their Norwegian costumes.
After a coffee in Cove Café we heard the ships emergency klaxon sound which signified the start of the safety drill for the crew which we watched as they all went to their designated assembly points.
My DW and I then went to the Promenade Lounge, the meeting area for our tour today, and soon we were escorted to where the bus was waiting to take us on our tour.
This was only a short tour, ending at 2.00 pm so unfortunately most of the photography had to be done through the windows of the bus as we passed by the various items of interest that were being described to us by our guide.
We did however make an initial stop to view the Den Norske Opera & Ballet which has only recently been built which our guide was very proud to describe to us.
Sadly the weather was grey and overcast during our tour but at least it was dry…just!
We passed by the University of Oslo, the Parliament Building and the Royal Palace on this all too brief whistle stop tour of the city.
Our next [and final!] stop was at the very impressive Holmenkollen ski jump complex which is currently under construction, yet is already quite a major tourist attraction. Photographs don`t do justice to the physical size of this structure and as Doug remarked to us when by chance our tour stop coincided with theirs “There`s no way you`d get me up there!” [Bearing in mind that Doug goes in for loads of white knuckle sporting activities, that says it all!]
On the way back to the ship, the bus slowed down to show us the panoramic view of the fyord….well it would have been a great panoramic view had the weather been better!
Before re-boarding the ship we had a browse through the gift shop located alongside the dockside, however the prices were quite a deterrent as things are sooo expensive in Norway. [Pio had told us earlier than one of the CM`s on a previous cruise had to fork out around $25 for just a burger and a small beer!]
We therefore just settled for a guide book, if only to identify the buildings and sights that we had photographed during the tour!
The ship sailed away at around 4.30 pm and for quite a while we were trailed and occasionally overtaken by several powerful inflatable boats containing loads of folk who seemed to be taking great delight in literally flying over the waves!
Again we had a great view of the scenery and houses on both sides of the ship as we travelled along the fyord.
We met up on deck 10 with our friends for this, where we exchanged notes concerning our respective shore excursions.
My DW and I had a great dinner at Palos [as usual] where we were seated alongside the window right next to the private dining area to the rear of the restaurant where the captain and any celebrities on board tend to dine.
The door was open so I was able to grab a shot of its interior for the first time.
Dinner was finished off with Palos chocolate soufflé which is to die for…yum, and the service and overall dining experience was second to none.
We met up with our friends at Sessions [no surprises there then! ], where the servers [Orasa and Angel] had already reserved “our” table adjacent to the piano as by now they sussed that we would be regular visitors!
Once again, after Tim`s final number we called it a day and retired to our staterooms.
Tomorrow it`s Wednesday, it must be Copenhagen!