Oslo’s sights and sounds resemble every other European city. Ancient structures with modern touches surrounded by industrial glass building. Everywhere you turn, another striking building stands in your face. Some of the buildings are low and wide sharing with you a small taste of their history with the year of its creation listed above the door frame. Other buildings were reaching into the sky with the glaring sun reflected off the oddly shaped windows. Cobblestone dotted the roads creating a grey/brown mosaic.
On the south side of the city lies a port, which connects Oslo to the rest of the world. From this place, ships carry goods and people all over northern Europe. The port houses ships and boats of all shapes and sizes. Cruise ships dock for the day to reload, and fishing boats are tied to the dock with their rigging swaying in the wind. Directly bind the port is City Hall. Inside this structure is a grand hall trimmed in gold and century old paintings. Traditional art and images decorate the City Hall floor to ceiling. Images of hill, pastures, fjords, and mountains dance across the room.
The last stop of Metro Line 1 puts out on top of a random mountain at Frognerseteren, an eerie white terrain where children sledge and adults remember day’s gone by. People like myself wonder how on God’s green earth could something so peaceful exist. The snow rises and falls with the path and places not trodden. Cedars hang low and heavy with the weight of frozen water. A constant fog hangs in the hair but isn’t suffocating. It’s one of those places that is holy by default, and I feel like if I speak too loud, I will destroy the moment. The only sound is the crunch beneath my feet and laughter from children as they play in the snow. Oh to grow up in such a place!
Tromso sits above the Arctic Circle and is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Rising out of the ocean are magnificent mountains covered in soft snow. The day only sees about five hours of sunlight creating a constant sunrise/sunset feeling; the clouds shine constant colors of pink, yellow, and orange waiting for the day to finish just as it starts. Ice covers every hill and curb causing tourists to go flying into the air; their hips becoming very familiar with the ground below. Buildings line the streets with pointed roofs and colorful walls. Bright hues of green, orange, red, blue can be seen for miles as the buildings stand out against the snow-covered mountains.
At night, the moon is bright enough to shine light on the earth. All around are mountains dulled by the night sky but only to a grey haze. Every cliff, peak, and detail can be seen in hues of white, grey, and black. Above head the light cloud cover turned green due to the Northern Lights. The dogs pulling the sledge trot on unaware of the natural beauty surrounding them. The mountains climb into the night sky reaching for the Lights above, while the dogs yap and bay at animals in the distance protecting their masters. The sledge glides smoothly over snow and ice slicing into the air. It swishes left, slices right adding to the Tromso night air.
Norway captured my heart, and I cannot wait to go back.