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Up early again to catch the train to Bodø. It was almost a 10 hour train ride so it would be a long, long day.

Obviously the photographs were through windows of the speeding train so they are not the best. The first part of the trip was through some beautiful farm country. It was early spring and the crops were just starting to come up.

We then reached the coastal area were we encountered some towns. In one of them it looked like a large section of an oil rig was in the harbor.

As we moved north we started to encounter snow and many of the lakes were still frozen. The crops in these areas had not been planted yet and the trees had not budded out. We seemed to alternate between going over mountain ranges and dropping back down to the coastal areas. The highlight of this section of the trip was seeing several moose out in the fields.


Gradually we started going up into the Saltfjellet mountain range. The rain and clouds that we saw at the lower elevations dissipated and the sun appeared.
It was a spectacular ride through the mountains. I can only imagine what a great trip it would be in the wintertime.

As we passed some mountain cabins we could see people cross country skiing.

We eventually dropped down out of the mountains and road along the coast before reaching Bodø.

 

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It seems we were up early almost every day and today was no exception. We had to catch an early train to Røros, Norway. We were actually going to Trondheim but we made a three hour stop in Røros. to look around this historic mining town. My wife at the train station.

The train passed lakes and farmland. The morning started out sunny but quickly became overcast and rainy.

We spent about three hours wandering around Røros. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded in 1664 and is one of the best preserved mining towns in Norway. It is noted for its many wooden structures.

 

The existence of the town was dependent upon the mining and smelter but mining is never attractive. We spent quite a bit of time looking around the mining operation.

A classic shot of the Hyttklokka with the Røros church in the background. The Hyttklokka was used to call the miners.

The Røros church is one of the most prominent landmarks in Røros. It was built in 1784 by the Røros Copper Works. It has 1600 seats within. Unfortunately it was closed when we visited.

 

Of course we had to stop at the Kaffestuga, the oldest in Røros, for some Norwegian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. One of the first things my wife did upon returning to the states was to purchase a Norwegian waffle maker.

No visit to Røros is complete without a visit to the Røros Museum. It is well worth the time and money with some great operating displays showing how mining took place throughout history.

It was late in the day and raining when we arrived Trondheim.

Day 11 was our last full day in Oslo. Once again we were up early and walked down to the harbor area to catch a bus out to Bygdoy where some of Oslo’s most popular Museums are located. We had to wait for about 15 minutes for a bus which was the longest we waited for public transportation in Oslo. There looked to be an issue from the direction the bus was coming from because several police cars went by.

 

I spent the time photographing flowers by the bus stop. It had been raining and the flowers were covered with water droplets. I also couldn’t resist photographing the Pigeon that was posing for me.

When we got to Bygdoy we ended up getting off at the wrong stop. Rather than waiting for the next bus we decided to walk to The Fram Museum. I took a few photos as we walked through a residential district. The construction site was interesting because everything is built on rock the same problem we have in Duluth, Minnesota.

At the Fram Museum we toured the125 foot ship Fram that took Amundsen and Nansen into the Arctic and Antarctic.

This was a display outside the Museum protesting the pollution of our oceans.

We then stopped at the Kon-Tiki Museum to view the ship. The Kon-Tiki expedition was a 1947 journey by raft across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands, led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl.

We then walked over to the Viking Ship Museum.

It was a beautiful day so we decided to walk to the Norwegian Folk Museum. I was mainly interested in getting some ice cream but the line was too long. This is a This stave church was built in the 13th century in Hallingdal.

There was a reenactment taking place while we were at the Museum. The group was marching through the Museum and firing their guns. While we watched them at the encampment we noticed someone was selling Norwegian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries so we purchased a couple.

We then walked around the old farm houses in the Museum. There were a number of artisans at work around the Museum.

I just had to take a photo of these two little kids looking in the door of one of the buildings.

While we were watching some woodcarvers we noticed another couple doing the same. Turns out we met them in Stockholm at the train station. They had just arrived from Finland and were on their way to northern Norway. They also happened to be from a small down just east of Duluth.

We decided rather than take the bus back to the harbor we would walk back down to the docks through a residential district and take a water taxi back. We weren’t sure our pass would work but it did.  It was a beautiful day and a weekend so there was a lot of activity in the harbor.

When we arrived back at the harbor docks we encountered this street artist working for tips. I still recall our visit to the same area in 1999 when our son was little. He got excited to find money on the sidewalk in front of what he thought was a statue. He was a little disappointed that he couldn’t  pick up the money.

We walked over to Karl Johan’s gate where I finally got my soft is.

We took the train to the Munch Museum. Unfortunately “The scream” was not in the Museum. The trees were in full bloom.

We then took a train to the main station and then take a metro out to Nydalen in the early evening. Unfortunately we made our only mistake using public transportation. We somehow missed a connection and found ourselves heading for the outskirts of Oslo. When we discovered or error we got off and picked up another train. We finally found our way to Nydalen.

Our goal was to walk along the Akers River which would take us back to our Airbnb. On the way we found this strange structure. It was an insect house. First one we had ever seen since most people don’t want insects around.

We also noticed a lot of graffiti along the river. I’m really not a fan but it seems to be common in the larger cities.

There were some waterfalls and children’s playgrounds along the river walk.

It was late in the day and the local restaurants along the river were starting to get busy and it was time for us to call it a day.

Our last stop of the fall color trip was Black river Harbor. I love to photograph the landpools under the bridge but they were not all that good this year. There were some nice shots of the bridge across the Black River and boats in the harbor. Incidentally, this is the last year you will be able to visit the harbor for free. Next year there will be fees imposed.

Our final destination of the day was Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. We drove up to the Lake of the Clouds but were very disappointed that most of the leaves were down. The only colors were muted rusts and some yellows. The strong winds during the fall color season took their toll.

My photo of Hoffman Hills was use in Thomas Pearson’s excellent book “When the Hills are Gone – Frac Sand Mining and the Struggle for Community”. It documents Wisconsin’s struggle with sand mining.

When we visit Custer, South Dakota one of the things we always do is walk around town and photograph the Buffalo Statues. Apparently they put up some new statues every year and various artists paint them. The statues are auctioned off at the end of the year.

We had driven out to Custer State Park to see the fall Buffalo roundup. A couple of days before the roundup we drove around the wildlife loop looking for buffalo. We were not optimistic because the Buffalo are usually rounded up before the “roundup” and moved into a staging area where they can be driven into the pens before the roaring crowd. We stopped at the Wildlife Loop Ranger Station to see where they were. The ranger indicated that the day before there had been over a thousand of them around the station so the park decided to move them into the nearby staging area. More photos from Custer State Park can be found on my website.

As we drove out into the wildlife loop we noticed that the fall colors were nearing their peak.

Before driving out to find the buffalo we decided to check out the Prairie Dogs. While looking at the Prairie Dogs we also noticed a rabbit sitting next to a Prairie Dog hole.

As we neared the Buffalo Pens we stopped to take a photo of the fall colors. In a couple of days this area would be filled with running Buffalo.

 

We drove over to the pens to look at the Buffalo. The park service usually brings in a few Buffalo before the roundup so then can calm down. They use these Buffalo to demonstrate the sorting and vaccination process. They don’t want to use the Buffalo that come in during the roundup because they would be too stressed out.

We then headed out looking for Buffalo. The first thing we found were the Begging Burrows. They were in the foreground while the Buffalo were quite a ways away. There was a photographer out among the burrows trying to get photos.

No close views of the Buffalo on this visit.

 

It seems like we are up early every day and today was no exception. We caught the train out to Holmenkollen National Ski Arena. It was the weekend and the train was full of bikers and hikers heading out to the forests, that surround Oslo, to enjoy nature.

When we reached Holmenkollen we walked past the lodge that serves the ski area.

The ski jump was impressive from the bottom. I remember watching the jumping competition held at Holmenkollen. Great to be standing where some of the worlds greatest jumpers stood.

The views from the top are even more spectacular. There was still snow around the ski jump. Folks living in Oslo really have it nice being able to get to sites for skiing within a short time.

There was a zip line from the top of the jump to the bottom. My wife is always wanting to go on a zip line so I offered to pay her way. For some strange reason she wouldn’t go. Maybe the fact that she can’t stand heights has something to do with it. There were a group of young ladies ahead of us on the elevator and they were all going to go.

We walked down to the bottom of the ski jump and watched some of the people come down the zip line. We also noticed there seemed to be some kind of running competition taking place. We noticed that no one seemed to be carrying water bottles. We also noticed this earlier. We never saw a jogger with a water bottle.

After returning from Holmenkollen we walked along Karl Johan’s Gate. There was a much different atmosphere on the weekend where more people were around and more demonstrations being held. Even though we were wearing our down jackets there were lots of people dining outside. We Would have like to gotten a bite to eat but there were too many people smoking.

The weather seemed to be improving so we walked down to the harbor and boarded the Jomfruen. It was a small boat that was included in our Oslo Pass. It allowed us to hop on and hop off at various locations in the harbor. It was a great way to see the harbor area and get a different view of some of the places we saw from land.

We sailed past some of the yacht clubs around the harbor.

There were a wide variety of boats in the harbor ranging from cruise ships to Kayakers. It was a weekend and a beautiful spring day so lots of folks were out on the water.

We sailed by some of the summer homes located on the islands in the harbor.

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog Oslo is making a major push to revitalize  the harbor area making it a great place to live, work and play. New housing developments are going up all along the waterfront.

There are also plenty of restaurants along the waterfront. We thought it was a bit cold to be eating outside but the was probably one of the better spring days so far this year.

We sailed past the Opera House and Akershus fortress both of which we visited by land.

Although we didn’t get off and any of the stops we had an enjoyable sail around the harbor. After our harbor tour we walked back to Akershus fortress looking for the Resistance Museum. It took a while to find it and we only had a half an hour before it closed. We really needed more time and hope visit it at another time. As we exited the Museum we noticed this bride having her picture taken.

For dinner we stopped at a traditional cafe, “Kaffistova”. It services simple, traditional Norwegian meals. This is was my favorite (Norwegian meatballs, potatoes, and cooked, mashed peas.). We actually stopped at this cafe twice while in Oslo.

After dinner we hopped a tram that took us out to Vigeland Sculpture Park. It was late in the day but still light out in Oslo.

We had time for one more stop so we caught a bus out to University of Oslo site at Blindern. My wife had stayed in a dorm at the University when she first arrived in Norway on her study abroad program. We won’t mention how many years ago that was. Needless to say she didn’t recognize any of the buildings. Our son talked about attending the University for graduate school. We were very encouraging but so far it hasn’t happened.

I should mention given all of the public transportation that we used we did purchase an Oslo Pass which allowed us to use the buses, trams, underground, boats etc. The interesting thing we found is that you board on the honor system. No one checks to see if you have a pass. Apparently they do spot checks but no one ever asked us for a ticket. Of all of the places we visited we found Oslo the easiest to get around using public transportation.

 

It had been a 15 hour day so we took public transport back to our Airbnb.

 

 

We had to be at the train station early in the morning to catch the train from Stockholm to Oslo so we decided to grab breakfast at the train station. While we were waiting for the train someone came up and started talking to me. He sounded like  William H. Macy from the movie Fargo. Turns out it wasn’t Macy it was an American from Maple, Wisconsin (of Scandinavian heritage). He and his wife were traveling around Scandinavia and they had just arrived from Finland. This is me waiting for the train.

We arrived at the Oslo Central Station early in the morning and had made arrangements to get into our Airbnb so we could drop off our packs before taking a walking tour of Oslo. We were to pick up the key at a fitness center near the Airbnb but when we arrived they didn’t know anything about a key. We called the host and it turned out he was sick and still at the apartment complex and would come down to let us in.

 

We familiarized  ourselves with the Airbnb and before heading out on our walking tour. One thing we have found in our travels is that female Airbnb hosts are much more organized than their male counterparts. We encountered this large flower market. It was early spring and they were selling plants.

We wandered around a bit before ending up at Karl Johan’s Gate the major walking street in Oslo. As we walked down Karl Johan’s Gate we could see the palace in the distance.

We found this interesting display in front of a store.

We stopped in a park next to the Parliament Building.

From the same location we photographed the famous Grand Hotel where President Obama and stood on the balcony and waved to the crowd when he was here to receive the Nobel prize.

We walked around the National Theatre  before heading over to the Royal Palace. The flag was flying indicating that the king was home.

There were some beautiful flowers on the Palace grounds as well as this interesting sculpture that serves as a seat and has a living display incorporated into it.

We passed this office building that has an interesting facade. Note also the number of rental bikes in front of it. We did not see nearly as many bikes in Oslo as we had seen in the Copenhagen and Stockholm.

 

We then headed over to Our Savior’s Cemetery where many important Norwegian literary and political figures are buried. Just before entering the Cemetery we took this photo of the Oslo Cathedral School.

Although it was an overcast day it was a beautiful spring day to walk through the Cemetery. Quite a few other people had the same idea.

On our way over to Old Aker Church we noticed a number of charging stations for electric cars. Our Scandinavian relatives all complained about the fact that they were working hard to combat global warming and the idiot we have in the white house is doing everything he can to promote it. Unfortunately the United States is no longer respected in Europe.

We walked around Old Aker Church and the attached cemetery. There are some great views of Oslo from the cemetery.

Telthusbakken is a picturesque street near the Old Aker Church. The homes are from the 1700s.

A short walk from Telthusbakken street is the river walk along the  Aker River. We followed it down until we reached our Airbnb which was not far from the river. It had been a long day so we stocked up on groceries and called it a day.