By Corey Sandler
We have reached the apogee (and final port of call) of this cruise. Late this afternoon we will exit Oslofjord and head for the North Sea, and from there back to London. It has been a lovely excursion from the United Kingdom to five countries: France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.
Oslo is the capital and largest city of Norway, a mid-sized country, a bit smaller than Germany or Finland, a bit larger than Poland or Italy. It is Europe’s fastest-growing capital and the third-largest city of Scandinavia.
It includes a green space with a sprawling sculpture installation that is a wondrous, strange, uplifting, and disturbing theme park of humanity: Vigelund Park.
A set of intriguing museums, including one that houses a nearly-intact Viking ship.
Another holds Fram, one of the pioneering Arctic exploration ships of Fridtjof Nansen.
And a third memorializes the unusual vessel Kon-Tiki, a balsa wood raft that was at the heart of a theory by Norwegian adventurer
Thor Heyerdahl. He theorized that the islands of the South Pacific were populated by explorers from South America. Interesting theory, though more modern analyses point elsewhere.
And there is a monument to global peace, funded by Alfred Nobel, one of the developers of dynamite and other explosives that greatly increased the death rate of modern warfare.
Modern Oslo is the hub of government for Norway as well as much of the country’s trade, banking, industry, and shipping. It is also considered one of the most expensive places to live, somewhere in the company of Singapore, Paris, Melbourne, and Tokyo. In return, residents receive one of the world’s best packages of social services.
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