Oslo

This was my first solo trip via airplane. As with everything, there were the pivotal first-time nerves - but Oslo, the capital of Norway, scooped me up and embraced me with picturesque, tree lined arms. I felt humbled and at home in the comfortable silence, like we were tongue-tied lovers communicating solely through passionate gazes.

It's a city of binary oppositions: east vs. west (there is underlying tension between the two populations on either side of the city, it's very West Side Story) vast forest lands vs. concentrated suburbia. For a capital city, it has a remarkably small population of just 600,000, but this by no means diminishes its credibility compared to London and its counterparts.

Everyone is sleek and smugly happy, all clean lines and effortless appeal. Throughout the duration of my six day vacation, I saw a grand total of five people smoking, and two people drinking alcohol. There are sushi takeaways everywhere, not a Chinese, Indian or chippy in sight. To a British reader, this may read as somewhat boring, unusually angelic even. Our nation's collective, typical lifestyle seems radically different because we've accepted all the aforementioned commodities as bad stuff we rely on. I can assure you it's endearingly refreshing to see people enjoying themselves with the aid of healthy living.

The architecture is like nothing I've ever seen before. There are buildings first erected in 1678 still standing and in use today. There are balconies everywhere, all adorned with vibrant flowers and ivy looping through the ornate metalwork. The Acne store is on the ground floor of a baby pink house. Even the paint crumbling from weather beaten apartment blocks is strangely quaint.

There is a maximum of two guards on duty in front of the royal palace at any given time, which blew my fucking mind. Nobody harasses them when taking photos, nobody yells at them in an attempt to distract them, they conduct their training in the palace park for all to see. It's casual yet undeniably professional, to an extent that should embarrass the UK's Buckingham Palace.

I'm pretty sure Oslo was the inspiration behind many of Wes Anderson's visuals; it's very Grand Budapest. The plethora of parks and hangouts are the kind of inoffensive beauty that inspire creative folks to write stories, poems and memoirs. Kunst is both the Norwegian translation for 'art' and my one word summary for Oslo - a city of kunst.
Sculptures in the street//art in the entrance of the National Gallery
Picasso at the National Gallery
 Matisse and Picasso at the National Gallery
Monet at the National Gallery (swoon)
 The Vigeland Park
The Vigeland Park
 The Vigeland Park
 The Vigeland Park
  
Central station//the royal palace
Get used to plush public toilets in this city of hyper-cleanliness//this place is so indie, 
there is grass and flowers growing on the damn tram tracks
 Details inside the Opera House
 The Opera House
 (Right) Modern art at the Astrup Fearnley Museum
 More art at the Astrup Fearnley Museum
 (Left) The Nobel Peace Centre
 Displays at the Oslo City Museum
 (Right) John Lennon's glasses from How I Won the War on display at the Henrik Ibsen Museum
 (Right) 'Fuck You Fuck Me' installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art
 Akershus Fortress
 View from Akershus Fortress
Akershus Fortress

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