Jul 242010

We left Stockholm early on a sunny and brisk breeze.  Crossing Sweden it grew colder and colder turning gray and blustery.   After stopping for a lunch picnic we put on polartec and socks and cranked up the heat.  Soon after crossing the border into Norway farms began to be bigger, valleys  enormous and  cultivated in lush rolling sections dotted with prosperous and beautifully maintained red and white trimmed farmhouses, barns and other out buildings.  The countryside is vast.   The highway was excellent and driving seemed easy from the passenger point  of view.

Pulling into Oslo mid-afternoon it was cold and threatening rain.  But this morning we awoke to brilliant sunshine and shorts and tee shirt weather.

Oslo is a compact city with lots of parks and inviting avenues lined with trees and wide pedestrian areas dotted with fountains and flowers.   We have had a leisurely day of savoring Munch and his 19th century Norwegian artist contemporaries in their National Gallery.

City Hall was a worthy visit with its own fascinating history of  construction and decoration begun in 1938 and completed in 1950 but  suspended during the Nazis occupation.  Built and decorated entirely out of materials from all parts of Norway by Norwegian artists, it is a functional 20th century structure in contrast to the other city halls we seen thus far reminding us that Norway has only a recent history as an entirely independent country from Sweden.

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