An American in Oslo – Week 3

The Third Week

On Monday, January 14th, our professor returned to Minnesota and we continued with both our internships and exploration of Norwegian culture via self-supervised classes and activities. The former mostly involved rearranging and updating the NORAM website. I worked on filling up the English version of the site with equivalent pages to those found on its Norwegian counterpart, which was enjoyable and a good learning experience. So it was a pretty productive week on the internship front.

As far as activities go, Week Three was probably one of the busiest weeks so far. On Thursday night we went as a class to see the new Norwegian movie Psychobitch – and yes, that is the title. I got bacon popcorn to eat during the movie, which was probably my favorite experience of the evening; it tasted like a mix between bacon and barbecue chips. The film itself was fine, I just really liked the popcorn and it overshadowed everything else.

On Friday evening, we headed up to Korketrekkeren, the former bobsled track for the 1951 Winter Olympics. The course itself is free of charge, but since we had neglected to bring sleds with us across the Atlantic, we had to rent supplies at the top of the hill. Now, as a three-race veteran of Korketrekkeren, let me give you some advice that will greatly decrease your chance of crashing into a tree and, subsequently, significantly increase your capacity for fun. (NOTE: My goal was to not break any bones, so if you want to go as fast as possible, ignore the first two)

  • Use the flat of your foot for slowing down and the heel for stopping. The latter sends snow flying into your face, so only do it when you need to.
  • To add to the first point: using one foot to slow down will also point the sled in the direction of the aforementioned foot. You turn by shifting your weight, and this is an easy way to do it. An added bonus is that it slows you down enough to turn in time.
  • BEWARE OF THE BUMPS. Especially if you are going fast.

Saturday was Museum-day, with visits to Folkemuseet, Kon-Tiki, and Fram. Norway is very, very good at museums, and there are a lot of interesting ones in Oslo with free admission on Thursdays if you have free time. Folkemuseet is the biggest of the three we visited; we were there for about 2 ½ hours and didn’t even begin to get through everything. They have a large, outdoor area with houses built in the style of each region and even a life-sized mock-up of an old, Norwegian town. There are also indoor exhibits on everything from clothes to the history of Stortinget, the Norwegian governing body.

Kon-Tiki, as the name implies, is a museum celebrating the voyages of Thor Heyerdahl, one of the coolest humans to ever exist. The centerpieces of the experience are the actual rafts Heyerdahl used in his expeditions: Kon-Tiki and Ra II, which are on display alongside exhibits chronicling the explorer’s journeys to other islands and his Oscar for the 1950 documentary Kon-Tiki. As of 2019, Kon-Tiki remains the only Norwegian film to receive this award; however, a 2012 biopic of the same name centered around the events of the expedition was also nominated.

In many ways, the Kon-Tiki and Fram museums should be treated as a pair, partly because they are right next to each other, and partly because they both showcase Norwegian explorers. Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen are the subjects of Fram, named after the ship used by the latter in his expeditions. As with Kon-Tiki, the preserved vessel forms the centerpiece of the museum, and you can walk around inside of it. There is also a weird, haunted house-style exhibit about the horrors of polar exploration. It was terrifying and very cold, which I guess is the point.

I may have veered too far in the opposite direction to last week as far as pictures go, so I hope this post isn’t too cluttered. We’ll continue with our weekend adventures next week – yes, there was more – so stay tuned!