The first port of call on our recent Northern European cruise was Oslo, Norway.  There is nothing quite like waking up in your stateroom, looking out the window and seeing that you are silently sailing through the mist down the Oslofjord.

An hour or so later our cruise ship pulled up to dock in the most convenient location directly across the street from the Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle that was built sometime around 1290.

We were on the starboard side of the ship and right from the get go it seemed like this was the best side to be on.  It was so thrilling to just look out the window of our stateroom and see this amazing old stone fortress right there in front of us.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to visit the Norsk Folkemuseum on the Bygdøy peninsula while in Oslo, and that couldn’t have been any easier.  We simply walked off our ship and over a couple of piers to the Båtservice ferry.  We purchased two tickets (for about $15.50 total) at the kiosk and paid with a credit card.

Quick sidebar:  we paid for everything in Norway using a credit card.  They are accepted nearly everywhere, as long as you have either a card with a chip and a pin number or an app on your phone like Android Pay.  We never got any Norwegian cash and were simply able to use either a card or Mr. Q’s phone.  It was so convenient.  The only time this backfired on us was when we found that the public toilets in Kristiansand were coin operated, but it was easy enough to find a coffee shop, enjoy some delicious brew and use the free toilet located within.

A quick ride on the ferry took us over to Bygdøy and from there it was just a short, well-marked walk to the Folkemuseum.

We purchased our tickets and headed in.

This open air museum has 160 historic buildings relocated from all over Norway.  The area is laid out with sections representing an old town, the countryside and a stave church.

We started in the old town and pretty much had the place to ourselves.

As you can see, it was a little drizzly on our day in Oslo.  The sun would peek out periodically though and it never really poured rain so we were perfectly fine walking around and never really even needed an umbrella.

The countryside areas were separated by region such as Telemark, Hallingdal, Ostlandet, Hardanger, Sunn-og Nordfjord, Tondelag, Osterdal, Numedal and Setesdal.  It was interesting to read the information plaques about the different styles of building in the different regions.  To me they all looked the same, but there are subtle differences that help identify which region each style belongs to.

Many of the buildings were open and were furnished with traditional pieces from the time period or region.

I noticed a lot of blue painted furniture.  Hmmm, it inspires me to get out some blue milk paint.

The stave church is probably considered the crowning jewel of the museum.

It’s also where we found all of the other tourists.  Apparently the bus tours of Oslo take people to this museum and then just to the stave church and not the rest of the grounds.  I felt a little bit bad for those people because they were missing so much!

After we’d seen all we wanted to of the museum, we just walked back to the ferry dock and used our round trip tickets to head back to the port where our ship was docked.  There was a ferry schedule posted, but they seemed to run rather frequently and we didn’t have to wait long for the next ferry.

I’m going to take a moment here to tell you my one of my biggest complaints about cruising.  Any cruise line in the industry is going to work hard to convince you that the best, most convenient, safest and sometimes even ‘only’ way to see things in port is via a ship sponsored shore excursion and this is just simply not true.  This is one of the places where they make a good chunk of their profits (well, this and liquor sales).  The ship’s shore excursions are sadly overpriced and frankly not usually that great unless you enjoy riding around in a bus with 60 other people and only getting to see the stave church and not the rest of the museum.  It’s not really in their best interest to tell you about the inexpensive, convenient options that are easily available as an alternative to their overpriced shore excursions.  I’m not saying this to scare you off cruising, I’m saying that if you are aware of this and do your homework in advance you can avoid falling into this trap.  I’d say that nearly every port I’ve ever been in has offered some sort of independent transportation and/or tours.  I’ll be sure to share a lot of that info in my upcoming posts about this cruise.

Cruising is a fantastic way to see Europe and we had an amazing time on our trip.  If you just keep some simple tips in mind you can really make a cruise work to your advantage!

We sailed past this picturesque spot on our way back down the Oslofjord as we left Oslo behind …

It’s the Dyna Lighthouse, built in 1875 (or 1874 depending on where you look).  In addition to being a functioning lighthouse, it’s also available for rent as a banqueting facility.  Check out their website {here}.  Wouldn’t that be a fun place to attend a party?

Two ports down, nine to go!  I hope you’ll stay tuned to hear more about my trip each Wednesday.  Or check back on Friday to hear more about an Oslo inspired milk paint project I finished up this week!

25 thoughts on “oslo.

  1. Loved the village. I kept thinking that the photos could easily be a jumping off spot for a painting. And the lighthouse for a party? Well it’s all fun till the guests start thinking they can dive into the sea… Thanks for the post, it is wonderful dreaming about travel through your photos.


  2. This is so much fun Linda. It’s like having a personal travel guide. I am architecture hound so just amazed by the village. That blue bed is the bomb just love escape the color.


  3. Love all the old buildings…and the colors are great. Helpful tips for travelers too…loved the bathroom comment…lol. I never would have thought of paying to use the facilities…but I don’t get out much!


    1. We did go inside the stave church, but it was very crowded with that busload of tourists. It was also quite dark. So not a good photo op. The wood houses that were up on stilts of sorts were not open inside.


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