Oslo’s Seafaring Legacy

By Dave Fox
Oslo, Norway

“You can see right away that Norway has a strong bond to the sea,” says Olaf Drivenes, an Oslo-area boat captain. “It lies in the genes of Norwegians.”

Rugged islands on your left, City Hall on your right, as you stroll along the Oslo waterfront.

Norway’s capital hunkers stoically at the terminus of the 100-kilometer-long Oslofjord. Squawking seagulls and brackish breezes season the air with a distinctly maritime flavor. A stroll through town brings an instant sense of the city’s bond with the water that surrounds it.

City Hall looks out over the fjord. The Bygdøy peninsula offers a cluster of maritime-themed museums: Viking Ships, Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon Tiki And Ra 2 rafts, the Polar Ship Fram, and more.

The Holmenkollen Ski Jump offers a sprawling view of the fjord and its hundreds of islands. Back down at sea level, the newly opened opera house has a slanted roof that slopes right into the water.

The Oslo Opera House: Climb the roof for a view of the harbor and surrounding islands — but no skateboards, please!

I lived in the Oslo area for two years and guided tours there for 15 summers. I returned last month to write an article about the city’s seafaring culture for SilverKris, the in-flight magazine for Singapore Airlines. If you happen to be flying with Singapore Airlines this month, you’ll find the story in their November (2012) issue. If not, you can also read it on their website: Silver Kris – Oslo  and the Sea.

[My reports from Burma and around Southeast Asia continue later this week.]

Published on Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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