Leif Pettersen's Travelogue

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Posted on 7/2/03

The people in Oslo are really closeOslo's Statue Guy

After four more nights in Stavanger, I was ready to leave Norway. I had been in Norway for 20 days and I was about 250% over my travel budget for that time period. Out of pure necessity, I flew to Stavanger, from Bodø via Oslo. I was so far north that any other method of transport would have taken two and a half days at best to get back to the south. As is common, the round trip ticket to Stavanger was cheaper than the one-way, so I was sitting pretty with a plane ticket back to Oslo, where I would jump on the first train into Sweden. Unfortunately the first train was booked, so I jumped on the second train into Sweden and gritted my teeth as I paid for the remarkably pricey ticket to get out of Norway, whereas a ticket going the same distance within Norway would have been about 1/3 of the price. The Norwegians get you every time you move while you’re in the country and then wind up for one last kick to the wallet as you flee.

Despite my unrequited love for Norway, I felt a very powerful pang of relief once the train ticket transaction was completed and I was able to unclench my jaw. I was finally leaving Norway. Goodbye bad food, goodbye wretched prices, goodbye little or no public phones, toilets or water fountains. And hopefully, goodbye to people wearing too much clothes! I was ready for some serious skin, but I knew I would have to wait until the Netherlands for that. Patience. Deep breath. Onto Sweden.

I had six hours to kill in Oslo. I had not been to Oslo for almost 10 years, so I decided it was probably worth a look around to see what had changed. And there were changes! There were a lot more Mc Donald’s. That was about it. I screwed on the courage to walk across the city to my favorite spot in Norway. Having been to the five biggest cities in Norway, I think I can safely say that there is little or nothing that has a bigger oh-wow factor than Vigelandsparken. A.K.A Frognerparken. A.K.A That Naked Statue Place.

Vigelandsparken is an huge, sprawling park on the western side of the city center. I used to make a pilgrimage to Vigelandsparken every time that I was in Oslo. Not only for the endless stretches of grass, perfect for a juggling workout, and not only for the secretaries sunning themselves topless on the benches during their lunch hour, but also for the countless, awesome, nude statues all over the park. This is truly a massive, awe inspiring place. I actually took the tour once (after carefully disguising myself, in case one of my friends happened to be in the park at the time). All of the details and information just makes the place even more extraordinary. And here’s the kicker. It’s free! Sweet merciful crap, yes! Something in Norway is free! But hey, don’t go blabbing this to the tourism board. This’ll just be our little secret, K?

The victim of the four year old girl


Despite being an idiot and taking the Office with me on the trek across town, causing my left shoulder go completely numb and my neck to lock-up, I was happy to be back in Vigelandsparken. I dodged the 20 or 30 tour groups that were staggering around, jaws gone completely slack, and took numerous pictures. Despite having my camera out and armed, I missed quite possibly the best photo op of my travels up to this point when a little girl, about four years old, climbed up to have her picture taken by one of the crouching, male nudes. Perhaps in a sign of things to come, she reached up and playfully tickled the statue’s testicles and sang out “OooOoo!” for the photographer. Keep an eye out for her in 2017 for her debut in a European video porn store near you.

Small, modest, Norway

After getting my fill at That Naked Statue Place, I swung by the royal castle on my way back to the train station. As far as royal castles go, the Norwegians seem to have gone waaaaay out of their way to keep the dwelling simple and unassuming. Even more modest is the security around the place which appeared to be comprised of two, 16 year old boys in uniform. They did their best to march around a look foreboding, but I’m pretty sure that anybody with a can of mace and the desire could get into the building with little or no problem.

After maxing out my camera’s memory card at the castle, I stopped to check my email and to eat an indescribably bland plate of chicken in curry, before boarding the train to Stockholm.

I spent the ride to Stockholm leaning as far away as possible from my neighbor, who I was pretty sure was a SARS carrier and started reading “The House of Leaves” by Mark Danielewski.

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©Leif Pettersen 2012