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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Viking Ship Museum, Bygdøy, and...OH 3%@^

NORWAY | Tuesday, 11 December 2018 | Views [931] | Comments [2]

For some reason I haven't been sleeping well at all on this journey. Late nights chasing the aurora and limited daylight mean I have to be out there as much as possible. You can't stay inside when the sun rises after 9 AM and sets at 2:30 PM. Yesterday I went for a nice walk round Central Oslo, but today I had Bygdøy (rhymes with "big boy") and the Viking Ship Museum on my radar. The Vikings have always interested me. As expert shipbuilders, they reached some far flung places with very harsh climate and weather. Coming from the Old English wicing, the Vikings were the first Europeans in North America, calling the region Vinland. Though the Vikings are commonly associated with Scandinavia, they raided and traded at times in the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. As I walked toward the museum, I really enjoyed the sunny sky with the snow setting. 

Look at an overhead view of the Viking Ship Museum and you'll notice it's shaped like a cross. The finest example of a Viking ship is the Oseberg ship, and I must say it's a beautiful, well-built, and well-kept piece.

The ship was buried in 834 and rediscovered crushed in 1904. Carefully reassembled, the ship contains more than 90% of the original wood. A frontal view of this magnificent ship is featured on the 100 kroner note. Made mostly of oak, the Gokstad ship is the largest preserved Viking ship in Norway.


Dendrochronological dating suggests the ship was built around 890. The Vikings believed things needed to be taken to the grave, so "grave goods" were discovered in the excavation of both the Oseberg and Gokstad ships.  The Tune ship is the third large ship on display, and the smallest of the three.

Oslo has many museums but they can be a pricey affair so I opted for one, and I'm happy I chose the Viking Ship Museum. 

Bygdøy is also home to the Norwegian Folk Museum and the Maritime Museum, but it's also a great place for a walk. I opted for geocaching and then a walk along the west coast of the peninsula. Norway is yet another country that has really impressed me. Just like I did with Japan, I put Norway off for years because I thought of it as outrageously expensive. However it has turned out not terribly expensive: combining CouchSurfing and hitchhiking, and avoiding alcohol and eating out has saved me bundles.

Who says only tropical sunsets are beautiful? Norwegian sunsets have proven just as magnificent: 

As I watched the sun dip toward the horizon, my phone beeped. But why? My Samsung Galaxy J4 is so advanced that when I book a flight, it sets an alarm for three hours prior to takeoff. I had a reminder that my flight was today but I was sure I had booked for 12 December (tomorrow). Since I booked my flight whilst in Australia I thought maybe my phone's calendar got mixed up due to the time difference. I was thinking everything was OK, though I had no access to wifi I decided to walk a bit faster. I was sweating and nervous even though it was cold and I thought to myself "watch, I'm gonna check as soon as I find a wifi hotspot and I'm gonna breath a huge sigh of relief when I see '12 December' in my email." Near the end of my walk I got my best photo of a Norwegian sunset.

When I jumped online at a pizza place, I was horrified to find that my flight actually does leave today! It was 3:37 PM: I had 2 hours and 8 minutes until my 5:45 departure time, and I had the predisposition that I was going to miss my flight, especially since the airport is nearly an hour away from Oslo. I called Henrik on Whatsapp and he said I could make it, but I had to act fast and get home straight away. I was directed to the wrong spot for the bus to Henrik's home at first, and then I figured it out. Whilst I don't normally advocate cheating or not paying, Oslo's buses operate on an honour system and I was only going three stops so I jumped aboard for free.

How could this happen to me? I'm always really good about double- and triple-checking everything regarding flights. Having to run whilst there's snow and ice on the ground isn't safe but I had no time to spare, and I always go by the philosophy that in this situation you get to the airport and hope for the best. My first two flights on Norwegian were late, but would they be late when I need them to be? Just outside Henrik's flat I nearly took a bad fall and avoided ripping my arm out of the socket in the process. Part of me feels terrible that I had to make such a hasty departure because I was gonna pick up some wine and make vegetable tomato soup tonight. He was impressed that I got back as quickly as I did. I offered Henrik the rest of my Norwegian currency if he could drive me to the airport but he said since it's approaching peak hour it'd be faster to take the Flytoget express train. Fortunately the train was due to depart at 4:10 and Henrik, whilst heavily fighting peak hour traffic, drove me to the station. He got some cookies and a frozen pizza in return. How you pay for the airport train is a unique experience: you swipe your credit card at the beginning and then the same credit card again when you exit the train, meaning there are no tickets to deal with. The train left five minutes late and I arrived at the airport at 4:47 PM, 58 minutes prior to departure. When I got to the desk and said I'm on the flight to New York, they said "it's too late, the check-in desk closes an hour before departure." I explained with a smile that the train was five minutes late, so they made a call and gave me my boarding pass! The girl at the desk said what saved me is that I had no checked baggage. I made it! I actually made it! I needed some Chris Farrell travel magic again, and I got it again! It wasn't over yet: I had to run as the flight was now boarding. 

It's so disappointing I'm leaving Norway a day earlier than I expected. Henrik gets a huge shout-out for driving me to the train station and will get an excellent reference from me. This experience means I must always double- and triple-check dates, and allow extra time. As a result of my blunder I had no chance to send postcards, buy a souvenir, or hang out with Henrik on my final evening.  

Another great journey fulfilled, and a summer visit to Norway shall happen someday. 

Tags: close calls, museums, vikings



Although this may be remembered as a stressful ending you have wonderful memories, beautiful souvenirs you created that money can not buy, and great stories to share . Even though many may not comment on your travels i think we live in awe of you Chris. None of us with the kids or the health issues get to do what you do . Its almost like you're a character in a story in faraway lands and we're waiting for the next adventure. You are an amazing writer and photographer and live a very blessed life. Keep it up. Safe travels.

  Kristen Dec 31, 2018 3:07 AM


There are times I don't know how you do. Thanks for the journey. And thank you for the education. This one in particular was amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  Karol Roff Dec 31, 2018 5:04 AM

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