2011.10.16 - Islands

Trip to the Islands

Two weeks are a long time for an old man and I am finding it difficult to remember what we did way back then. Thankfully I have a wife whose selective memory stores the things which I select not to, so together I guess we will work it out!

This is one of Fred Olsen's 5 cruise ships - visiting Oslo.

The eternal peace flame ... or something like that. Paula normally comes down here during the day to read her book.

Last weekend we were blessed with good weather so we decided to try and track Akerselva - Aker's River, which comes down from the mountain and cuts the city in half. Well, I may have coloured the story a little here - it's not a very big river and I don't think it holds any significant place in Olso's history or geography. But it is still an pleasant place to wander around and it takes you through some very different areas of town. The lower reaches are cutting through Grønland which probably is more international than Norwegian. Here it is all about bazaars, kebabs and drug dealing. A bit upstream we came across an artist's colony. It was rather small but reminded us a bit about Christiania in Copenhagen.

We came across a market at Carl Johan street

I got myself a new beanie and a sweet !

This guy had lost his feet to the river monster....

Street art

Then we came to the original site of Akers Mekaniske Verksted. This is where the later famous shipyard started (it later moved to Aker Brygge where we live). The factory looked rather big, the size of the river and the age taken into consideration. Further on we passed waterfalls and the architecture faculty before we came to what looked like a theatre and show venue. Luckily a small café was right across the river and offered us warmth, waffles and welcome rest! A good halfway stop - the rest of the trip was home bound on tired feet!

Natural art

Old-style loo

Rather tired at the Botanical Garden!

In the evening we met up with my new Korean colleague Ji-Yeon to try out one of the few Korean restaurants in Oslo. We took the train up to Røa and quickly found the restaurant. Unfortunately we had arrived outside the opening hours ! But as the light was on inside, we still knocked on the door. We were told that they were fully reserved for a private birthday party but when pressed they still agreed to take us in and let us sit in the corner. The food was good although somewhat higher priced and less spicy than in Korea! Cafe Miso for those of you who are interested.

Sunday was a write-off as I had to catch up on work all day. Not too much of a loss as it was pouring down all day.

During the week ... one of the things both Paula and I have decided not to store in our memory. I imagine that we went for walks in the neighbourhood, coffees on Aker Brygge and I think there was a bite of Sushi some time during the week. But come the weekend and we were up and away again. Saturday we walked over to Vippetangen and got on a ferry out to the near islands in the Fjord. It was a beautiful autumn day and the sea was flat as a mirror. First stop was Lindøya. This island is part cottage heaven and part nature reserve. The cottages were popular with Paula and even I found them quite cute. Next island was Nakhoolmen, which was pure cottages. At each island we had 1 hour and 20 minutes before the next ferry arrived, so on the smaller islands we had time to see just about everything whereas we had to be a little selective on the bigger ones.

Saturday in the sun

... and lunch with a view

Lindøy Vest

Lindøy Øst

Paula with Lindøy lighthouse and with Gresholmen lighthouse in the background

Nakholmen with Oslo in the background

Lindøy and Gresholmen as seen from Nakholmen.

The cottages on Nakholmen

With Color Lines service to Kiel in the back

Last island for the day was Hovedøya which earlier was used by the Germans as a base during the war. Before that it was dominated by a rich monastery and used as an advanced defence position for the Akershus fortress and the city of Oslo. After the Germans left, the buildings were used to house people who had lost their homes during the war. Now people go there to fish and picnic. It was a nice change from the other heavily inhabited islands - here there was space, nature and interesting history.

Paula in the old monastery church on Hovedøya

Looking out over the ruins from the tower


The West battery. These cannons were built during the Napoleon wars in the beginning of the 1800's but were never fired ...

Molly here had an itchy spot !!!

Today we finished off the island tour with a visit to one of the two remaining islands. Today was the last day with the summer time plan for the ferries from tomorrow there are only a couple of departures per day, so now was last chance. We chose to go to Gresholmen. The ferry pulled into a small pier on the north side of the island - away from the "village". A nice walk past woodpeckers in the forest took us to a small village - well, let's just say a couple of houses in sight of each other. The marina was near by. This island used to house the flying boat airport with regular flights to Sweden and Germany. All that was left was an old hangar, but a bit further afield we found some bigger houses and even some old industrial buildings (we think - rails led from one building by the water across to another building at the other shore. I never found out for what purpose). The most striking building on the island is probably the lighthouse which makes for a spectacular entrance to Oslo.

Awesome autumn colors

Paula on Gresholmen with the lighthouse and Lindøya behind her

Lindøya and Oslo Municipality in the background.

i could not resist this repeat of this signature posture from our Greenland (and Tibet) trip!

This would make a good hostel !

Back on the mainland we jumped on a bus to Drøbak - allegedly the place where Santa Claus lives. I find this a little strange as everybody knows that Santa comes from Greeenland, but who knows - maybe he has his summer cottage in Drøbak. He wont feel completely out of place there. It's a cosy little place and it has no less than two year-round Christmas stores. Paula immediately fell in love with them !

Drøbak's seaside public bath

This is half of the narrowest stretch in the Oslo Fjord. On the left is Oscarsborg - the fortress which became the German warship Blücher's destiny during the Operation Weserübung in 1940 - the beginning of the German occupation.

A typical hose in Drøbak. This village was in fact just a bigger version of Son

The Christmas store

We came away with only one small Christmas gimmick

Santa's store from the outside

After a long and interesting weekend we are now flat-out on the couch. Legs tired from all the walking.