We spent a day in Oslo and visited the National Gallery, Historical Museum, Viking Ship Museum, Vigeland Park, and Akershus Festning. The National Gallery, though small, is very well organized and was the best of the galleries that we visited on this trip. The highlights of the day were the Viking Ship museum and Vigeland park with its remarkable bronze and stone sculptures by Gustav Vigeland.
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The Oslo Historical Museum wasn't that good compared to the ones in Stockholm or Copenhagen but it allowed photography unlike the other two. There were some interesting artifacts such as bronze age locks and bronze molds that I didn't see in the other two museums.
Viking Ship Museum
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The Viking Ship Museum was the only museum that we visited on Bygdoy. Although the museum is small, it was worth the trip to visit because these ships are unique. The museum contains three ships uncovered in burial mounds. Two of them are very well preserved and one not so. The best preserved ship, the Oseberg ship, was built in around 820 and used as a sailing ship until placed in the burial mound for a women in 834. The ship was very well preserved because it was buried in turf and placed on top of blue clay. The Gokstad ship was built around 890 and buried around 900 and is supposedly a far more seaworthy design than the Oseberg ship. In 1893, a replica sailed across the Atlantic from Bergen.
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Vigeland Park is a fairly large urban park containing hundreds of Gustav Vigeland's stone and bronze sculptures. The park is well laid out and is very pleasant to stroll through. We were fortunate enough to have good weather that day and we thoroughly enjoyed the hours spent there. We thought that the park was the highlight of our stay in Oslo.
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At the end of the day, we took a stroll around Akershus Festning (fortress), which is the fortress around the castle. It was originally built in 1299 but has been reconstructed over the years.