Oslo, located at the northernmost end of the Oslofjord in the southeastern part of Norway, is not only the country's capital and most populous city. Oslo is a cultural and architectural treasure trove. Founded in 1040, Oslo has worked hard to preserve its heritage, despite numerous fires that have swept through the city over its long history. Today, you'll find buildings dating from the Medieval era, the 18th and 19th centuries. There are even authentic Viking ships and artifacts on view in Oslo's many museums. Despite the cold climate, Oslo boasts a number of city parks and green spaces, including Frogner Park with its collection of modern statues by Gustav Vigeland. Of course, no trip to Oslo and Norway would be complete without sampling the local cuisine. Meals here feature local seafood, such as salmon, herring and mackerel, as well as game meats like moose, deer, duck and hare. Breakfasts feature a spectacular array of fish, meats, cheeses and an array of cereals.
The waterfront is never too far away in Oslo, as the city wraps itself around the northern end of the Oslofjord, a finger-like islet that leads out to the North Sea. In addition to being scenic, this area is lined with green spaces and is a popular site for summer boating, fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
One of the most popular attractions in Oslo, the Viking Ship Museum houses the intact Viking Oseberg Ship, which dates back to the 7th century and was excavated near Tonesberg, Norway in the early 20th century. In addition to this large, carved, wooden ship, the museum features Viking tools, helmets and other armor, household items and coins.
Completed in 2008 and home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, the Oslo Opera House is a striking modern glass building at the edge of the Oslofjord. In addition to attending performances, visitors can tour the stages, dressing rooms and other areas of this lovely building.
In 1947, Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl sailed from Peru to Polynesia on a raft he made using a pre-Columbian design. The craft he sailed during this incredible voyage is on display in this museum located near the Viking Ship Museum.
One of Oslo's most notable favorite sons is the sculptor, Gustave Vigeland, who lived from 1869 to 1943. While he is best known as the designer of the Nobel Prize medal, his drawings, sculpted figures, carvings and woodcuts form a varied body of work and are on display at his former studio, now a museum at the edge of Frogner Park.
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