Breakfast at the hotel is absolutely amazing! They have brunost, brie, blue, and other cheeses, pickled cucumbers, pickled beets, and pickled herring, veggies, fruits, breads, eggs, hot meats, cold cuts, cereal, waffles, jam, and so much more. I was completely stuffed by the end. Fortunately, our first item on the agenda was a sitting tour. We went down to the docks for a boat ride. There was a long line to get tickets, but since we had pre-booked the boat tour as part of the "Grand Tour," we didn't have to wait in it. I asked where the line for people who had already paid was, and they lady just took my paper and processed me in front of everybody else. Really, that just meant printing a receipt, as they don't use pretty paper tickets here, just slips of register paper. Upon reaching the boat, we asked the guy loading us what side was better. He said the left, but then we weren't sure what side was actually left. Ultimately, I ended up walking back and forth between the right and left to get the best of both, although he was correct about the left being generally better. I don't know exactly what I was expecting , but the boat ride was not what I expected. I guess my only knowledge of the Norwegian fjords comes from the Norway ride at Epcot, Disney. I saw no waterfalls, no tall rocks, and no scary trolls. Basically, it was just a nice, gentle boat ride around the bay, which I guess thy call the fjord here. We learned a little from the pre-recorded voice. For example, this was another city, like everywhere in Denmark, that burned and was rebuilt. It was rebuilt, like everywhere in Denmark, by Christian the 4th, as Norway was part of Denmark for a long time. The coolest fact was that we learned was that all of the tiny little houses by the shore were actually bathing houses. Back in the time when they were built, it was seen as "improper" to show your bikini or body, so people built their own little houses where they could change and jump into the water without being seen, but they could talk through the walls to their neigbors. Overall, it was a nice little boat ride with pretty scenery, but I don't think it was really worth it unless you have a lot of time here and nothing much else to do.
After the boat ride, our "Grand Tour" continued on a bus. I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the bus company. Firstly, the windows were very clean and good to take pictures out of. Secondly, they were very efficient- they had several different tours using the same bus, and the guide was excellent at remembering who was on what tour and got on/off at what stop.The guide was also very efficient. Before we got to a sight, she'd start explaining what we were seeing and the logistics, so that when we got there, we could quickly get off the bus and go tour around. Our first stop was the Viking Ship Museum. This large building contained several large Viking ships that were discovered buried, almost as coffins for rich people. The ships themselves are very cool, but the museum also contains the bodies and artifacts found with the ships, and does a pretty decent job of explaining what archaeologists know about the people who were buried in the ships. The guide explained to us that one of the boats was a decorative lake boat, but the other 3 were ocean-worthy ships of the kind that Leif Erikson would have gone to North America in. I could see the wooden construction, and I have to admit that I don't understand why they wouldn't have leaked. Obviously I'm missing something.It was a cool museum, but she gave us 35 minutes there, and there wasn't 35 minutes of stuff to see. This would have been a good place to buy lunch. The next stop was the polar ship Fram museum. Inside a huge building, they have the actual polar ship that was used on 3 expeditions and set some world records (at the time). The ship was designed to house 12 men for some thing on the sale of 5 years at a time, so it had all sorts of neat and unexpected features. First, the ceilings were much taller than on other ships I've been on. Second, it was designed for entertainment, so it had a piano and salon-type area. Thirdly, it was designed for health and safety, so it had steam sauna baths on board. Also, since there was a lot of science happening on the voyages, there were plenty of scientific instruments. You can actually climb on the ship itself and walk around it. From this, you can get a pretty decent idea of how the adventurers lived. If you take the underground passageway, it brings you to the other side of the museum which contains a different exploring ship as well as displays on some of the aircraft and other methods used by the Fram explorers. Unfortunately, we didn't have quite enough time at this museum for my tastes. On the way out of the area, we passed the royal farms and a royal residence. I wouldn't have really known it unless the guide had old me, though. Next, we climbed the opera house. Yes, I did say climbed. The opera house is supposed to look like an iceberg, so it has a slanted roof that is climbable. While I don't get see the iceberg (other than that it's white), it was still fun to climb. The view of the city from the top was pretty. The last stop on the tour was the Munch Museum, and art museum of just Munch's works. The tour in English was not super-interesting. I liked when she walked about the robbery (the Scream was stolen at one point, which is why there is massive security at the museum.) I found it slightly interesting that Munch painted the same stuff over and over, renaming it, and I of course was excited that he was often inspired by Ibsen, but beyond that, I didn't really care for the tour. It was a bit pretentious and maybe over my head (look at the way the lines here curve to capture the sound.) Also, I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of his art. There was an optical illusion I thought was interesting, and one other painting that I thought was cool, but I wasn't impressed in the slightest with the other stuff. All in all, it wasn't that great of a museum, in my opinion.
The tour dropped us off at city hall, and we split from there. My parents went to get a drink and to sit, while I went to see the Ibsen Museum. The Ibsen Museum is really only for die-hard Ibsen fans. There are 2 parts with different admission prices- the exhibitions, and Ibsen's rooms. The exhibition area has some artifacts from his life, but it's really not too much better than just reading a book on him. I didn't go into the rooms because I didn't pay for it and didn't really have time as I had to meet my parents shortly. Maybe those were better. From there, we met and headed out to Vigeland Sculpture Park. The basic story is that an artist decided that he was going to make a deal with the city. They pay him for the rest of his life, and he gives them all of the works he makes. Sweet deal! As a result, the city has this huge park containing thousands of his works. All of his works are naked people in various positions, so I think it would be a hilarious prank to make clothes for all of the statues and sneak in one night and dress them. You'd need a team of people though, this guy made hundreds of naked people statues, and some of them have multiple naked people. I think the most famous of the minor statues is the angry baby. There were crowds of people around him (and not the other statues) and his hand is a different color, probably from being touched so often. The other famous statues is the big pillar in the center. It's basically a big stack of naked bodies. I don't know why the other statues aren't as famous, as some of them are just as weird. I saw a carving of a lady riding a bear backwards, some people getting eaten by a fish, and a big pile of babies. Also, in my opinion, they should have placed the statues making the Y with their hands, the M with their hands, the C and the A near each other instead of spreading them out. After the park, we headed back to the hotel by tram/train. The train controllers came onto our train and checked tickets. We, of course, had tickets, but there were some kids who were trying to cheat the system. Moral is: have a ticket, because you never know. We got pizza for dinner and made a stop at the grocery store in the basement of the mall across the street to pick up lunch for tomorrow. Also, I found my glitter icing! Tomorrow's lunch won't be incredibly healthy, but c'mon, when you see (different brand) nutella in a squeeze tube, you just have to get it. Mmmm, nutella...