I’m sitting in the Oslo airport now, waiting for a flight to Berlin. Yesterday I finally got to my destination (after walking for ages, getting mildly lost on curving streets, and taking that tram). I was going to Vigeland Sculpture Park, which is one of the big tourist things and so of course I was going to skip it, but my friend Julian told me it was great. In his words, paraphrased:
“It’s like this giant outdoor museum, right, but it’s one dude. It’s all one guy! He was like ‘I want to make some sculptures — huh, they’re kinda big, maybe they should go in a park — I know, I’ll build a giant park for them!’ It’s this huge expression of one particular artistic vision. You should totally go see it.”
So I did. I went in with that fairly vague idea of what to expect, and didn’t research further. I got off the tram one stop too soon (fortunately!), so I entered the park from a weird side, not the giant grand main entrance. It was the PERFECT way to discover it… So yeah, this guy designed this enormous park (like, probably the size of Volunteer Park in Seattle), and then filled it with his art. So I was walking through this pleasant, tree-filled, grassy, hilly park, looking for these sculptures… I found a couple here and there, and they were fine, sort of tucked among the trees (the guy did almost exclusively life-sized and larger human forms). Anyway, I was starting to feel a little let down. Then all of a sudden I came out on a main walkway, and looked to my left… And WOW. I mean, this was like a giant monument to park design and sculpture and it just went ON AND ON with a bridge fully lined on both sides with sculptures, then a garden, then tiered levels going up to more and more sculptures, then ANOTHER level behind that one, then some giant ones off in a meadow… it was impressive.
Then I took the tram back, had a nice long quiet meal sitting outside at a restaurant, with a complimentary sheepskin for my lap, and a book, and an Australian waiter who made sure he waited to say anything until after I’d ordered as slowly as possible in terribly broken English/Norwegian, and then answered with a little grin and a “No worries, can I get you anything to drink?” (damn Aussies…).
Then I went back to my adorable little Norwegian homestay and went to bed. And now here we are, at the airport, eating some Norwegian chocolate and taking advantage of two hours of free WiFi. Berlin, here I come!