Tuesday June 30, 2009

Norway’s capital creeps up on you and makes you very glad you came. Set four hours sailing-time up the end of the magnificent Oslofjord, it was founded way back in the 11th century by the cheerful-sounding Harald the Severe.

Off on our Tall Ship

Off on our Tall Ship

Today’s highlight tour of Oslo (pronounced ‘Oos-low’) started with us on the deck of a lovely old sailing ship – chugging gently around this magnificent deep-water harbour, past eye-poppingly-gorgeous islands, lighthouses galore, rocky beaches, summer-houses, and even a few keen swimmers.

Juicy prawns ... mmm!

Juicy prawns ... mmm!

En route a light buffet of juicy prawns, fresh bread, and a refreshing drink helped us maintain our energy levels. I mean, sitting around on the deck of a tall ship in glorious sunshine and 32 degrees (that’s right) really takes it out of you!

Our tall ship docked at the Kon-Tiki Museum where we witnessed the original flimsy balsa raft used by Thor Heyerdahl on his 1947 voyage from Peru to Polynesia. Then we were off to Oslo’s acclaimed Viking Ship Museum, where three excavated Viking longboats from the 9th and 10th centuries (that’s REALLY old!) lay in wait.

15 Oslo 3 1100-year-old Viking ship

1100-yr-old Viking ship

Final stop on this our final day in Scandinavia was the remarkable Frogner Park, where we did our level best to take in 225 granite and bronze sculptures by Gustav Vigeland – a stunningly lifelike memorial to human and family relationships from the cradle to the grave.

Sculpture Park

Sculpture Park

Oslo was another winner, we all agreed. And 34 Mad Kiwi Midlifers will be sad to leave this part of the world when the sun finally sets … sometime after 11pm tonight.

PEOPLE NEWS: The clock is ticking and the pressure’s on, but people are still doing silly things and Mad Midlife Awards are still being given out:

* The ‘E-Snail-Mail Award‘ went to Christine – who, over the past couple of weeks, has been sending long newsy emails to someone who, it turns out, is a total stranger. Christine’s had her email wires crossed somehow – not that the stranger’s complaining: Christine’s reports on the Baltic have apparently been greatly enjoyed!

* The ‘Safer On The Floor Award‘ goes to Caith – who, twice in the past few days, has ended up on his backside: once when he slipped over on carpet wearing only his socks … and then again today during our tall-ship ride, when the table he was sitting on collapsed, sending Caith sprawling! (Caith remains unhurt.)

TOMORROW (and the day after): We’re steaming south through the North Sea – destination London. But don’t go away, folks, because the show aint over yet …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) under the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief. And don’t worry: we’ll make sure they get these messages. Also, if you want a better look at our route map and some of the photos here, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!