Granite Porn, Peeing Women and Icebergs: Welcome to Oslo!

I may be the worst person to give advice to tourists. I generally believe there is no such thing as a fun museum, I would easily choose a pub crawl over a guided city tour, and upon seeing three different World Heritage Sites, I literally went “Ok, I’ve seen it. Can we go now?”. That being said, there are tourist attractions for uncultivated people like me. Here are my top four recommendations for Oslo, and the story behind them.

Frognerparken

NO Travel intext1The Frogner Park is best known for its Vigeland Installation, consisting of 212 bronze and granite sculptures. The sculptures are all designed by Gustav Vigeland, a man with a passion for nudity and too much time on his hands. The most impressive one is Monolitten (the Monolith), a 14 metres (46 ft) tall sculpture, carved from one single block of granite (mono = one, litho = stone). The sculpture depicts 121 naked bodies embracing one another. According to the webpage, the stone column could symbolize “Man’s longing and yearning for the spiritual and divine”, which one can only assume is another way of saying “sex”. Below the Monolith are 36 smaller sculptures, also in their birthday suit, “in which Man is depicted in a variety of typical human situations and relationships”. Because in Norway, we typically do everything nude.

How to get there: Take any westbound metro to Majorstuen and ask for “the granite porn park”.

Utsikten

NO Travel intext2If you like a good view, Utsikten (the View) in Ekeberg is the place to go. This is where Norwegian painter Edvard Munch was inspired to the make the paintings popularly known as Skrik (the Scream). Skrik is a four-version composition, all of which show an agonized figure in front of a dramatic, colorful landscape. Three versions can be found in museums in Oslo, and have been stolen and recovered a number of times. In 1994, two men broke into the National Gallery, grabbed a painting and left a note saying “Thanks for the poor security”. In 2004, masked gunmen walked into the Munch Museum in broad daylight, said something in the lines of “Hey, can you please give us the Scream and Madonna [another of his paintings]”, and walked out again. Norwegian museums are of the trusting kind. The fourth version was sold to an American businessman for 120 million $ in 2012, making it one of the most expensive auction-sold art pieces ever. To be honest, the picture looks nothing like the actual view, so God knows what all the fuss is about, but the spot is worth checking out anyway. It is also an excellent place to make out.

How to get there: Bus 34 direction Ekeberg Hageby to Brannfjellveien. It’s right there.

Ekebergparken

NO Travel intext3While you’re in the Ekeberg area, you might as well check out the almost brand new sculpture park, Ekebergparken. It officially opened last year, and has been massively criticized by feminists as well as environmentalists. The whole park is initiated and paid for by businessman Christian Ringnes, known for his money, art, and old-fashioned view on women. The main theme of the park is “femininity”, and what better way to illustrate womanhood than sculptures of peeing women or floating naked women covered in bed sheets? As a side note, the park has been referred to as “the wanking trail”.
Environmentalists are mostly bitching about the park’s effect on plant and animal life. Apparently, taking a 65 acres area of forest, and making it into a tourist-attraction of a park doesn’t do wonders to the biodiversity. OK, so a few plants, birds and cute little squirrels might go extinct, but the park sure is pretty.

How to get there: Take bus 34 to Ekeberg Camping or tram 18 or 19 to Sjømannskolen or Oslo Hospital. Ask for “the wanking trail”.

Operahuset

The Norwegian Opera House is situated right in the middle of central Oslo, at the head of the Oslofjord. The building is the result of an architecture competition, won by Norwegian firm Snøhetta, and was completed in 2007. The white marble and granite-covered building bears resemblance to an iceberg rising from the water, and the rooftop is open to pedestrians. If you’re not that fascinated by fancy architecture or panoramic views, you can always practice your skateboarding skills (the building is skateboard-friendly) or watch the half-naked sun tanners who tend to occupy the roof in summer.

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How to get there: Take any public transportation to Jernbanetorget or Oslo Central Station. If you don’t like the attraction, at least you didn’t spend much time and money getting there.

[Norsk]

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