2013/08/26 to 2013/09/01: Friends – Rest – Bike Maintenance – Sightseeing
It was wonderful to be met after an overnight train journey by Thomas and Olav, who were waiting on the platform. I had argued with Chris that we could ride to their house, but he had maintained that we’d be too tired to navigate safely through a new city after a rough night. Olav efficiently strapped our bikes onto a rack on their van.
It was a wonderful week as far as getting to know new almost-family better, and catching up with old friends from our time living near Geneva. We managed local walks, a tour of Olav’s workplace, a local weekday orienteering event, and we learned to use the Oslo transit system.
Early in the week, we took ourselves to the Fram Museum to see the polar exploration ship Fram, a Norwegian cultural icon. She was used by Roald Amundsen, Fritjof Nansen and others in the late 1800s and early 1900s, both in the Arctic and the Antarctic.
We also went to see the Holmenkollen ski jump and ski museum. The view down the jump from from the top is not for the faint of heart. There is even a zip line descent option for the truly fearless – or completely insane – who are also prepared to pay a hefty sum for the privilege.
Some aspects of the ski museum were a trip down memory lane for me; I fondly remembered those wooden Splitkein skis with lignostone edges. There was even a segment about how early ski wax was made, which included the recipe. The ingredients listed are part of my family’s lore dating back to WW2 days when ski wax was unavailable in Canada. (It had previously been imported from Norway.) My father was training a ski platoon in the Laurentians north of Montreal, and it was an essential item. He made his own, adding the key ingredient of a few vinyl records which he melted into an aromatic cauldron of parrafin wax and boiling pine tar. This was the first time I had seen the ingredients documented, though I’d heard the story of the mysterious disappearance of a Benny Goodman record many times. My aunt, the jazz enthusiast, never stopped suspecting that her cherished disc had become part of my father’s War Effort.
Later in the week we walked with Jo in parks and along down town waterfront, including onto the roof of Oslo’s new opera house. On our final day, we saw the Folk Museum with its wooden stave church and much more. Jo cycled with us to the ferry terminal where we boarded our ship for Fredrikshavn, Denmark.