A look back at OsloBG exploring Oslo and Norway

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #1Oslo Blog Gathering; A guided adventure in Oslo, the capital of Norway, to explore the city with our history, culture and traditions – 19th to 21st of August 2010 – was a thrill of a lifetime! A dream came true for me and good blog and social media friends from all over the world. The idea – after many requests in comments and mails – was to give everyone in Blogosphere a chance to come and see some of the attractions presented on this blog over the years. It was a perfect match to one of my sayings: “Blogging Connecting People” and a proof of what networking is all about: “A Givers Gain”.
To me this gathering was an ultimate outcome of sharing from Oslo and Norway. Today I want you to join me and take a look back and reminisce over the amazing time we had.

Oslo Blog Gathering Planning Kickoff #1Thanks to First Hotel Millennium we had a centrally located hub to meet up each day before our adventures. We thought we might be relaxing there in the evening but every single day things took off and we dragged ourselves in to the hotel totally exhausted and often quite late ; -) Never a dull moment and no time to waste at OsloBG!
The hotel manager and staff met with us several times throughout the planning process and helped us with setting up, tourist information, and an area to meet up and plan our daily adventures. Every time I pass by First Hotel Millennium now I think of our OsloBG and what a wonderful time we had.

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #3VisitOSLO was an important associate and a key contributor in making OsloBG a success. When I first talked with their Convention Manager – with my head full of ideas of a detailed program – she served me The Columbic Egg; “We give every participant The Oslo Pass, so they all can reach and enter the sights they want” – for free!
VisitOSLO is the leading organization in profiling and positioning the Oslo region as a tourist destination. They are dedicated to contributing towards the development of commerce and culture in the region. So when you are in or plan to go to Oslo; always check their website for all you want to know about the city: www.visitoslo.com

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #5The Grand Opening was at Oslo City Hall with a reception from the Mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang. Even his own birthday didn’t keep him from greeting these excited bloggers and providing us with an exceptional guided tour of the City Hall. Even in places I had never seen before!! All of OsloBG’s guests had a little gift from their homeland for the Mayor’s birthday and to thank him for receiving us on this special occasion. After the reception many of us went for dinner at Aker Brygge and had a chance to be better acquainted over good food and wine.

OsloBG Vigeland Sculpture Park #2The first day as you may recall we had a guided tour around the highlights of Oslo. Oslo Guideservice provided excellent transportation and information on some of the most interesting sites in the area like Vigeland Sculpture Park and Holmenkollen ski jump.
The guides took us through Vigeland Sculpture Park and gave us an insight into Vigelands work and vision in designing every detail of this beautiful green area of Oslo. Although the weather didn’t cooperate as well at Holmenkollen ski jump, the best part was thankfully inside and many made it to the top for the ultimate view.

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #9On the 20th the group was divided into activities of choice. My group had a guided tour of Oslo Opera House, a trip round the main street of Karl Johan, and watched the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace. Meanwhile Tor’s group had a day on Bygdøy island exploring the museums and beaches there. In the evening we had dinner at a small but charming restaurant on Bygdøy Island with a fantastic view of Oslo fjord.

The final day of our program again included the groups dividing up and exploring as far away as Drøbak! Ending the day with a champagne reception in the medieval park, and a roaring night on the town at The Dubliner!! That and plenty more photos – even a movie from the Mayor’s reception – is included in this cavalcade of a movie I made from these three days, enjoy:

OsloBG at Medieval Park #3I want to give a special thanks to all the participants. One thing we really felt after you all went home, when we looked back we felt so certain that Oslo Blog Gathering would have been different if even one of you didn’t come. One of the best things about OsloBG was the people and how everyone added a little something special to the group. In short it wouldn’t have been the same without you!
Click to see The participants and their adventures posts!

We hope one day to meet everyone again, and who knows maybe there will be another OsloBG in the future?

Top Oslo Sightseeing tips: Museums at Bygdøy Island

.Fram & Maritime museums in NorwayOslo’s Bygdøy island museums present; The Kon-Tiki Museum showing the legendary expeditions of Thor Heyerdahl; the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History; the Viking Ship Museum; the Norwegian Maritime Museum and the ship Fram, used by Roald Amundsen on his polar expeditions. Bygdøy is one of Norway’s oldest cultural landscapes with a rich history. It has beautiful parks and forests and some of Oslo’s most popular beaches, including the Huk ordinary and nudist beach. Actually a peninsula, its only 20 min bus ride or a quick ferry ride from Oslo’s Warf:
Leaving Bygdøy island by boat
Boat trip from Bygdøy back to Oslo takes about 20 min.

Sightseeing Oslo Fjord in Spring #20Two of our blog friends, Ginnie from Georgia, US and Astrid from the Netherlands, could not make it to the Oslo Blog Gathering in August 2010. So they came in April this year instead, to explore and have a taste of Oslo and Norway; our culture, history, traditions and habits. This post is from their second day of four, exploring Bygdøy and some of the museums.
On the photo to the left you see Ginnie & Astrid photo shooting Fram Museum from the boat trip around the Oslo Fjord we had the day before (click to bigify & enjoy).

The Polar Ship Fram:
Amundsen's Polar Ship Fram #1The Fram Museum tells the story of Norwegian polar expeditions, honouring three great explorers; Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and Roald Amundsen. This Scottish-Norwegian-built vessel is the strongest wooden ship ever built and has been immaculately preserved, both inside and out.
It was launched in 1892 and was built by the famous ship builder, Colin Archer; a ship that would withstand the rough ice conditions on its way to the North Pole. It was built to pop up on the ice when the waters froze in instead of being crushed by the ice and drift with the ice flow until melting out again.
At the museum you can step into the ship, to visit his cabin, steam engine and discover its history. In the pic you see us on deck steering the boat : -)
Fram (meaning Forward) is the ship that brought Roald Amundsen to Antarctica in 1911 for the race against the English man Scott, to be first to the South Pole – he won! With Fram he also discovered the Northwest Passage and attempt to reach the North Pole. Famous Arctic explorer, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize awarded, Fridtjof Nansen also used Fram on his polar voyages.

The Kon-Tiki Museum:
It houses a collection of boats and artefacts from Thor Heyerdahl’s expeditions, an unique example of Norwegians seafaring pioneers. On exhibit is his original Kon-Tiki balsa-wood raft, used on his 1947 expedition from Peru to Polynesia to prove that the Polynesians originally came from South America.
Heierdahl's papyrus boat RA II
Blog friends beside RA II – Read below:

Another is The Ra Expeditions, across the Atlantic Ocean by papyrus boats (1969-1970): You see, during the expedition to Easter Island in 1955-1956, Heyerdahl became interested in reed boats and their seagoing properties. The archaeologists’ excavations had uncovered pictures of large reed boats with masts and sails engraved in the buried statues and painted on flagstones in prehistoric houses. It soon became clear to Heyerdahl that not only balsa wood rafts, but also reed boats, with pre-Incan sailors could have carried the earliest South Americans out over the open Pacific Ocean.

Norway Open Air Museum:
Gol Stave Church in NorwayIf you want total immersion in Norway, the best bet is The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norsk Folkemuseum), giving you Norway in a nutshell, presented with 150 houses and numerous exhibitions from it’s major regions. The open-air display includes wooden barns, stables, storehouses and dwellings from the 17th through 19th centuries.
Here visitors can also go inside an 800-year-old stave church from Gol. These churches, the greatest achievement of medieval Norwegian architecture, are built with wooden planks, called “staves,” in a multi-storeyed design that soars upward. They are decorated with elaborate carvings common to Viking ships and once were a common sight in Norway. In the picture you see Ginnie & Astrid together with Diane and me in front of Gol Stave Church.
I have posted about this museum before, so just click if you want to see more: Lefse and rural farmhouse from Norway and Historical Architectural and Cultural journey in Norway

This is the last post from our Blog Friends Astrid and Ginnie’s adventures and I hope you have enjoyed reading them as well as learned something more about Norway; our history, culture and traditions. Here are the two previous posts:

1: Top Oslo Sightseeing tips: Exploring the Fjord
2: Top Oslo Sightseeing tips: Norway Opera House

Maybe you want to visit and explore by yourself too? Just give me a hint – I gladly guide you around too : -)

Bogstad Manor in Oslo, Norway

My regular readers know I still have some adventures to share from The Norwegian Computer Society’s (NCS) Annual Meeting last weekend. We wanted to give the gathered 80 representatives something historical and cultural to remember, and of course I gladly take you with us to Bogstad Gård (Manor), just 20 minutes outside of Oslo city. Let me start with a long distance view of this majestic farm (click all pics to enlarge!):


The main building (in the centre of the picture) is built between 1760 and 1790 and is an example of the classicists style. There is a lovely park, and a nice forest area right around the corner from the main building, and a bathing area just 80 meters away. I took this picture from the other side of Bogstad Lake.

The history of the estate dates back to 1649 and remained in the family till it was presented as a gift to Bogstad Foundation in 1955. This manor house is in nearly the same condition as when it was built at the end of the 18th century. It was very influenced by French Royal architecture from The Baroque style, so even if it is a wooden building, the finish on the outside is made of concrete and painted in the right colours for the period:
Bogstad Manor Front #1

I took hundreds of pics, so let me give you an idea in this movee:


PhotobucketWe are talking about the house of a wealthy merchant and industrialist Peder Anker, and the count and countess Wedel Jarlsberg. That’s why Bogstad Gård plays a central role in Norwegian history, both as the manor it is and as part of the country’s political history. Mr. Anker, landowner and proprietor, was Norway’ first Prime Minister in Stockholm following the dissolution in 1814 of the Danish-Norwegian union.

The owners were through generations’ part of the political life in Norway, and their beautiful homes are almost intact since the time of 1780. Mr. Anker and his descendants, the Wedel Jarlsberg family, have handed down to prosperity a beautiful home, with its original furniture, silverware, paintings and glassware, a home almost unchanged and today open for public.

Above you see a picture from the Ball Room. The paintings on the wall are imported from France and Italy and carefully arranged on the wall in groups. I take it you agree that pictures say a lot more again, so here you go with a movee of pics from this beautiful house:

We had a very nice, informative and educational guide. One anecdote I especially remember from her guided tour was how they got their education at that time: The travelled for 5 to 7 years with an older relative to important countries and towns like London, Paris and Rome to learn History, Art, Culture and Architecture. That’s what I call Networking! Think of all the important business contacts they made. If you wanted to make business and had a letter signed by Mr. Anker as a recommendation with you while travelling around in the world: All doors would be opened!

Bogstad Gård is more than just a museum; See the animals: Sheep, horses, cows, pigs, rabbits and hens. It also has a nice café serving typical Bogstad-rolls. They have several rooms well suited for meetings and conferences, as well as different kinds of parties. In my last post (scroll down), you can see what a wonderful dinner we had in the loft.

Stay tuned: The next post will be from The Ski Museum and then I can prove the saying: Norwegians are born with skis on their feet!