It was a nice sunny day in Oslo today, so we decided to make the most of it by heading out to see the ski jump at Holmenkollen. According to our Oslo guide book, this is the most popular tourist attraction in the whole of Norway, so although we weren't entirely sure what there would be to see when we got there, we wanted to give it a try. Holmenkollen is located in a hilly district, about 10km outside the centre of Oslo. It seemed like a bit too far to walk, but luckily there is a metro line which runs from the main train station to the bottom of the ski jump.
This was our first attempt at using public transport in Oslo, and it nearly ended in disaster as we came to the erroneous conclusion that our destination was within Zone 3 of the public transport map and tried to purchase tickets valid to there. When the ticket machine informed us that a single ticket would cost £7 each, Tim started making mutterings along the lines of "maybe it wouldn't be such a long way to walk after all!" Abandoning our ticket purchase, we stopped to review the transport map again and this time - fortunately - realised that all underground lines were within Zone 1 and that we had been getting confused by a place with a similar name to our destination which happened to be in Zone 3. Tickets within Zone 1 were about £3 each, which seemed like a positive bargain in comparison. Phew!
The journery to Holmenkollen was more enjoyable than I had expected, as after three stops the train ceased to be an underground and became decidedly overground instead. As we travelled through picturesque Oslo suburbs, the train began to climb slowly uphill and we caught sight of the ski jump in the distance. There was also an amazing view back down towards Oslo and the sea.
From the station there was a short walk uphill to reach the bottom of the ski jump. On the way, we passed this pretty Norwegian hotel.
When we eventually arrived, we found that there was a museum about skiing and a lift which would take visitors all the way to the top of the ski jump. At £11 each it was a bit expensive to get in, but having come all this way we thought we'd better give it a go. I think you would have to be extremely interested in the history of skiing to read all the exhibits in the ski museum, but the glass cases of skis were interspersed with large stuffed animals which made things slightly more exciting.
Having negotiated the skis, next stop was the lift to the top of the jump. We had to queue for a little while as the lift - which is actually more like a small funicular - can only carry 13 people at a time. When it was our turn we sped to the top in a couple of minutes and emerged out onto a viewing platform on the top of the ski jump. Wow. There were some amazing views out over the Norwegian countryside.
Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy and so the view back towards Oslo and the fjord was partially obscured.
It was a long way down the jump and hard to imagine why anyone would want to throw themselves down there on a pair of skis!
Having soaked up as much of the view as we could, we caught the lift down and began our walk back to the train station. The clouds had cleared a little bit by this point and so we had a better view out towards Oslo.
When we got back to the city centre, our first stop was a visit to Oslo's opera house. Opera houses aren't normally part of our sight-seeing itinerary, but this one is special in that it has been constructed with a sloping roof which allows members of the public to climb up it from ground level and enjoy a panoramic view of Oslo. It's so unusual that it's hard to explain, but it looks like this:
From the top we had a beautiful view out across Oslo....
...as well as a lovely view of the waterfront and harbour area...
...and an amazing view out to sea.
From the opera house we were able to stroll along the sea front and around to the Akerhus fortress.
By this time it was nearly 3pm, so we headed back to our apartment in an attempt to have lunch before darkness fell. I think we definitely made the most of the daylight hours