Urban nature at Ekeberg Sculpture Park in Oslo

Urban Nature - Ekeberg Sculpture Park #10Ekebergparken can offer installations by international artists, as well as museums, restaurants and a panoramic view of the city. Scattered across 65 acres on a small mountain across the Oslo Fjord from the city, the Sculpture Park includes works by artists that range from Renoir, Botero and Salvador Dalí to Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer and Dan Graham. There are a handful of site-specific works already installed, including a Sky Space by James Turrell, his northernmost to date, which the American artist built into a hillside beneath a newly artificial lake.
We’ve had the loveliest sunny weather this weekend and my wife and I have had some quality time while enjoying the colourful fall scenery on our photo hunt. You’re welcome to join us and enjoy some of the shots – let’s start with a panoramic view of Oslo from this hill area:
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A view of Oslo, the capital of Norway from the hills of Ekebergparken

The hilly area is about the same size as Oslo’s other famous park, Vigelandsparken (The Vigeland Sculpture Park), and is inspired by similar international facilities, such as Louisiana outside Copenhagen, Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands, and Storm King Sculpture Park outside New York.

The collection of sculptures and installations on display in the park was put together by a committee of experts, with the feminine as an initial theme. Let me give you some examples from our photo hunt:
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Left: – “Mother and Child” by Per Ung – Right: “Venus De Milo Aux Tiroirs” by Salvador Dali
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Left: “Venus Victrix” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1914-1916 – Right: “Marilyn” by Richard Hudson

From dilapidated to attraction:
For those for whose impressions of Norway are limited to gravlax, skiing and Edvard Munch, Oslo’s vibrant contemporary art scene, which has been garnering international buzz lately, may still come as some surprise. The latest chapter in the Norwegian capital’s development is this ambitious new Sculpture Park – the passion project of Christian Ringnes, a local real estate tycoon who bought the adjacent Ekeberg Restaurant and donated tens of millions to create a sculpture park. In 2005 he refurbished and reopened Ekeberg-restauranten (the Ekeberg Restaurant), the area’s prime eatery.

The Urban Nature:
The hill area was converted to a park as early as the end of the 19th century, but was left to deteriorate until this property investor on a walk through the park was struck by how neglected and unused it was. I’m happy to report however, that it’s still plenty of room for a quality time in these recreational surroundings:
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– just 10 min from the centre of Oslo – I would say Recreational!

The natural beauty of the park is still part of the attraction and young and old were out enjoying the fall colours. Some of the statues are playfully hidden on the side trails so you have to go looking like a treasure hunt. There is also a nice dog park where both dogs and their people enjoy socialising in the sunny weather.
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Left: An untitled sculpture by Dan Graham – Right: More urban nature : -)

Above you see an unusual sculpture by Dan Graham, and as you can see the viewer becomes a part of the art itself. I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as we did and if you ever get to Oslo don’t miss this experience – just ten minutes by bus or tram from Oslo center.

Outdoor recreation in crisp Norwegian fall colours

Colorfull Fall in NorwayMy blog is about Norway, our culture, traditions and habits including the significant four seasons and fall or autumn is an excellent example. In Norwegian the season is called Høst which comes from the harvest of fruits, vegetables and grains that traditionally would be stored for the winter. It also means a significant change in the nature – the most colourful one – a perfect time for outdoors recreation; for charging your batteries before the dark wintertime season. We’ve had the loveliest sunny weather this weekend and my wife and I have had some quality time while enjoying the colourful fall scenery on our photo hunts. You’re welcome to join and enjoy some of the shots – let’s start with some collages I’ve made with the PS Touch app on my iPad:
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

Outdoor Recreation:
I love it and have posted about it plenty of times: Norwegians love outdoor life associated with physical activity or use of leisure time in nature. With outdoor life, I mean enjoying nature’s air outdoors, and should not be confused with English free or clean air, or even free of contamination. However, that’s what you get and it’s of course an important part of the recreational effect of a family trip out and about – especially in the fall!
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

If you think about it: We humans lived outdoors long before we lived indoors, and we had two million years as hunters and gatherers. So we’ve developed a body and a mind that is predisposed to a life in and of nature. The last thousand years however, we have developed a culture and a civilization that somehow appears to put ourselves above the rest of nature. To find peace and a new balance we need to interact with the old natural elements. My respectful contention is that these environments are vital to our health, well being and peace of mind:
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The Crisp Fall colours:
Talking about quality time and the colourful season change in fall, I’ll let these photos speak for themselves:
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Colorful scenery; nature, people and animals in perfect harmony!
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

Norwegian Fall Cuisine:
Talking about traditions and habits within the frame of significant seasons: Even from my childhood, I remember well the smell of fall in the house – yes, you could smell it all over: Får i kål = “sheep in cabbage” or “mutton and cabbage stew” if you like: made from Norwegian mutton and fresh harvested cabbage, served with falls fresh potatoes. You can read all about this dish and even get the recipe in an earlier blog post of mine!
Even if my dear wife is an American, she has learned the tricks in making the very best dish – and if you add the nice treat she always packs for our quality time in the outdoor recreation – well then you know I am the luckiest guy in the whole world:
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

Now you have seen us exploring our natural environment. How do you interact with your natural environment? Maybe you don’t have these colourful changes in your seasons, but every place has its own unique beauty. Let’s hear from your part of the world – share with us in the comments!

Recreational Beach in fall colour on Oslo Fjord

Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #6In addition to museums, Bygdøy peninsula on the Oslo Fjord in Norway is a residential, but also a popular recreational area on the western side of Oslo. It’s one of Norway’s oldest cultural landscapes with a rich history and has many beautiful parks and forests as well as some of Oslo’s most popular beaches – including the Huk ordinary and nudist beach.
Surprising for the beauty of its nature and tranquility, Bygdøy is also home to major museums, including the Norwegian Folk Museum, Viking Ship Museum, Fram Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum and many others. Bygdøy offers various beaches, a beach volleyball court and a restaurant at beach Huk and there are several beautiful trails for cycling and walking – with a breath taking view of the Oslo Fjord:
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #2

The Golden Beauty of Fall:
Some weeks ago, still recovering from my knee operation, my wife and I shared another quality time here – photo hunting for the golden beauty of fall. Well, the hunting wasn’t that intense, but the scenery, the nature, the smell off sea and the fresh, crisp fall air with the sound of silence was divine. So while experiencing these magic moments with my wife, I was thinking: offer me to the most spectacular shopping center, or a famous amusement park, not to mention a front seat at Super Bowl -> I would not exchange it for this recreational adventure!
Although it’s difficult to convey this experience in photos, we both had our Nokia N8 mobile phones at hand and here are some of my shots:
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The Golden Beauty of Fall
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #5

Outdoor Recreation in all four Seasons:
When talking about beaches, seas and swimming, most people imagine sun and summer heat. In Norway, with significant change in seasons when it comes to weather and temperature, we have always loved to be out in the nature – all year through. Especially on weekends, the whole family is hiking in the woods or up in the mountains. That’s where my saying comes from: there is no such as bad weather, only bad clothes. So if you have the chance to visit Huk beach, no matter summer, fall, winter or spring: you will always find lots of people – in all from winter dress with hat, gloves and scarf to literary nothing at all (in reserved areas!) – enjoying the beauty of nature away from the stressful urban life. Remember Bygdøy is just 20 minutes away by bus or boat to give you this kind of scenery:
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #1

While looking through my photos for this post, I found some from the same area from last summer and winter. So since pictures say more than a thousand word, let me show you how we in Norway love to be outdoors in fall as well as in the snowy winter time:
Summer boating on the Oslo Fjord #2
There is no bad weather: from bikini ……….
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……… to winter dress at the beaches!
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My wife’s temptations:
Before I end this post about enjoying the nature and outdoor recreation, let me get back to this weekend we had on Bygdøy by fall. I still have some photos to show you – there is always things that catch your eye on a beach you know ; -)
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #3 Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #4
And remember, I am reporting from a quality time with my beloved wife. She always packs our little backpack with surprises, including coffee in a thermos and e.g. sandwiches. This time, when I was fooling around with my mobile phone – trying to catch the golden beauty of fall – she found a way to sneak into a open cafe without me noticing and after a while she found a bench and asked if she could tempt me – with this:
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #10
Waffles with raspberry jam & coffee – impossible to resist!

So now you know how I recharge my batteries, recover from my knee operation and keep the Parkinson’s at bay. Yes and how Norwegians spend their weekends and spare time, in all four seasons – outdoors, properly dressed (even the naturists *LoL*) – knowing there is no bad weather, only bad clothes – is there a better way?

Norway oil adventure in fall colour

Norway oil adventure in fall color #3Discovery of the Ekofisk reservoir in 1969 was when the Norwegian oil adventure really began. Production from the field started on the 15th of June 1971 (same year as the first man walked on the Moon).
You might ask what this has to do with colourful autumn, but for sure it is important to understand the Norwegian society; our history, culture and habits (the theme of my blog), not to forget why Norway is so well off (e.g. less than 3% unemployment) when the rest of Europe is in financial crises.
Well, it is because I had another quality time with my wife some weeks ago. You know we love outdoors recreation and also photo hunting and since I wanted to show you the result, I was thinking I could combine it with something to learn from this post too. You see, this was what caught my eye (a huge cone):
Norway oil adventure in fall color #1
This roller-cone bit (petrol) is an oil drill bit type that consists of a head with three conical rollers with tags. When the drill string is rotated, rolling wheels on the bottom of the hole and break the rocks. The drilling mud flows at high speed out between the wheels and removes the cut material. This example is on display outside the Maritime Museum on Bygdøy Island since it is used for off shore drilling of course.
So while I fill you in with our Oil Adventure; enjoy our quality time story and of course the pics:

Foreign companies dominated exploration off Norway in the initial phase, and were responsible for developing the country’s first oil and gas fields. However, Statoil (The Norwegian State’s Company) was founded in 1972, and the principle of 50 percent state participation in each production license was established.

The Social Democratic Model:
Norway oil adventure in fall color #5The billions that came from the oil in the North Sea should be used to give the people a better life. In 1974, the government decided for a Qualitatively Better Society; Those who live in rural areas should be prioritized, and culture should receive funding as well. Oil money would simply be used for all, in such a way that everyone had benefited from them. The easiest way to do this is by spending a large part through the State Budget.
Today, much of this is done and Norway has more money than ever before. You see, The Government Petroleum Fund was created in 1990, and receives revenues from our oil and gas business. The Fund is the Norwegian people’s money and today it means that every Norwegian has about $ 80,000 or € 60,000 “in the bank”. What many people wonder about is why don’t we just take the money and get rich together. Of course it’s not that simple – we want to ensure the future generations too. Once you get a recession and when it is wise to have money in reserve so that we can ensure good welfare for all, that is to say that we still have public health care, free education e.g.

Bygdøy Maritime Museum and Royal Estate:
Norway oil adventure in fall color #6In spite of more than 40 years of production, only around 40 percent of the total expected resources have been produced. Norwegian oil production has remained at plateau level of about 3 million barrels per day since 1995.

But let’s go back to our quality time, the photos and fall: The pics are taken at the Bygdøy Island close to The Maritime Museum. It’s situated near several other museums, including the Fram Museum; the Kon-Tiki Museum; the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History and the Viking Ship Museum. Norwegians have a long history as sailors you know (the oldest boat found in Norway is 7 000 years old). I let this photo with the old anchor stand as an evidence : -)

Bygdøy Island is only 20 min by boat or buss from down town Oslo and is a popular place for outdoor recreation – no wonder when you get from the urban stressful life to this rural natural beauty in a few minutes. The Royal family was thinking the same (long time ago):

At the end of the thirteenth century, Bygdøy was purchased by King Haakon V of Norway as a gift for his wife, Queen Euphemia of Rügen. Their daughter, Ingeborg of Norway, later returned the island to the monastery. It was acquired by the king during the Protestant Reformation to supply Akershus Fortress and garrison. The King would also use the estate for hunting and a hunting lodge. A zoological garden was set up by King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway.
Bygdøy Royal Estate in fall color #1
The current main building was erected in 1733 as a summer residence for Danish official and Governor of Norway, Christian Rantzau (1684-1771). King Christian Frederick lived on the estate in 1814 after he was forced to give up the throne before he left for Denmark. Kings Haakon VII and Olav V also used the estate as a summer residence.
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A comprehensive restoration of the main building and gardens began in 2004. The buildings and gardens have undergone extensive refurbishments and the estate is again set to be the regular summer residence of Harald V and Queen Sonja.

We passed this Royal Residence on our way to the Museums and since photo hunting for fall colors, I took some here too. I hope you like them as well as the stories about Norway and our history as well. You see, that’s actually the aim of my blog and I love to combine it reporting from quality times with my beloved wife!

Swan Lake in fall colour on Oslo Fjord beach

Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #9Swan Lake worked its magic on a fall color photo hunt on the Oslo Fjord. At our favourite beach the history of Tchaikovsky’s symphony steeped in myth as the story itself when a herd of swans showed up on shore. The ballet’s scenario was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse. The ballet was premièred by the Bolshoi Ballet in 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, billed as The Lake of the Swans. This is the scenery we got when approaching the beach on a Saturday a few weeks ago when we wanted some outdoor recreation adventures:
Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #8

I don’t think I’ve seen so many swans at once before and of course I was happy I had my Nokia N8 at hand, to start shooting photos – I mean the hunting was done and it was just to click and click and click ….. I believe I took more than 50 pics and at least some came out well. I think they are a bit fuzzy though – maybe because the white swans are in contrast with the water.
This beautiful scenery attracted others too of course and sometimes it was more interesting to see others watching and feeding then the swans themselves. People all ages were fascinated, but the youngest was the cutest I think : -)
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My Nokia mobile phone can make panoramic photos too you know. This might explain to some extent at least, why I associated the scenery with Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” – or what do you think:
Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #2

The Golden Beauty of Fall:
I told you this happened when my wife and I was out photo hunting. To me, nothing is more recreational than hiking in nature – besides; I need this kind of exercise stimulus to keep my Parkinsonism under control too. Adding to that; I love being outdoors in all four seasons and fall is the most colourful – don’t you think? – That’s why I call it “The golden beauty of fall”:
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Outdoor Recreation:
My wife and I had what I often call a magic moment this wonderful Saturday. Being out in the nature, seeing how it changes through the seasons. Noticing the scenery, the smell and the beautiful colors is what I call recreational! And my regular readers know that I also have a wonderful wife to share those magic moment with and she makes them even more enjoyable and magic with her special treat; always something good in the backpack – I just love those sandwiches & the coffee, and it tasted heavenly eating outdoors like this:
Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #13

If you want to charge your batteries, and like me, to keep my Parkinson’s in check; there is nothing more inspiring and recreational then the nature which is all around us. November is more than half over now and our darkest period is upon us – hope you have enjoyed the fall as much as we have!