Oslo

For 2014, I set myself a goal: to visit one new place each month. With my latest trip to Oslo, I managed to achieve it. This time, I went on a mini cruise for the heck of it. As it turned out, that the ferry trip meant that I have also used all the transportation methods this year: airplane, train, and ferry.

When I wrote it was a mini cruise, I really meant it. The ferry left at 4 pm on Friday and arrived in Oslo at 10 am on Saturday, before leaving again at 4 pm the same day and reaching Copenhagen at 10 am on Sunday. This leaves only around 6 hours in Oslo itself. Even though time was tight, I still managed to visit a few places:

So now, my complete list of new places I have gone to this year becomes:

Jan: London, UK
Feb: Doha, Qatar
Mar: Reykjavík, Iceland
Apr: Rome, Italy
May: Göttingen, Germany
Jun: Hamburg, Germany
Jul: Prague, Czech Republic
Aug: Vienna, Austria
Sep: Zürich, Switzerland
Oct: Cologne, Germany
Nov: Stockholm, Sweden
Dec: Oslo, Norway

As before, the months in italic denote that the trip didn’t actually happen in that month.

Stockholm

Last week I went on my monthly trip, this time to Stockholm. Even though Stockholm is not that far away from Copenhagen, it still took me 5 hours by train to get there. It was also the shortest trip that I’ve done so far. I took off from Copenhagen on Friday evening, spent the whole Saturday in Stockholm, and then went back on Sunday morning.

In Stockholm, I spent the day visiting three museums:

Aside from those, I only had little chance of exploring the city. I guess the nooks and crannies can wait for another time I’m in town.

The Vikings

Viking exhibition at the National Museum.
Viking exhibition at the National Museum.

Things I learnt about the Vikings today:

  • Viking is an occupation. Not everybody in the Viking era was a Viking.
  • They mainly did trade and exploration.
  • When they did pillage and plunder, they liked to lie in wait and ambush their targets.
  • They explored pretty much all of Europe, and went as far as Russia and Newfoundland
  • The names Russia and Normandy actually refer to something related to the Vikings. Russia refers to the Rus people, and Normandy means “north man”.
  • They rarely went back to Scandinavia after going on a viking.
  • The men wore jewellery, mostly to impress other people.
  • They did not wear horned helmets.
  • Berserk is a loan word from old Norse, meaning either “bear skin” or “bare skin”.
  • They enjoyed board games such as chess.
  • One of the Vikings (Harald Bluetooth) claimed to have united Denmark and Norway and converted Danes to Christianity. While his first claim might be true, Christianity  never really took off.