Oslo After Dark

I did it! In November I got my first ever stamp in my passport (wayyy overdue, I know). Justin and I actually skipped town the day after my birthday, so this trip was totally a happy birthday to me gift to myself. We flew Norwegian Air on dirt-cheap tickets we bought 6 months prior and it was a red-eye (meh) but non-stop LAX to Oslo (awesome).
We sat by a nice German girl who shared our enthusiasm at flying over Greenland. I kept an eye out for polar bears. No luck this time. 
The restrooms were the best part of the airport. Two thumbs up, interior designers. 
We took the metro from the airport to Oslo city central and this trip was also my first time riding on a subway and regional trains, etc. (Unless you count the BART system in San Francisco? Definitely not counting TRAX in Salt Lake City.) The metro stations were so clean. Justin commented that he was afraid to eat his sandwich here and get crumbs on the floor. We packed VERY light, only taking backpacks. Mine was about two thirds the size of Justin's. By far, the heaviest thing I brought was my camera.
After loving my experience with AirBnB in Puerto Rico we decided to do the same here. We stayed in a small cozy flat close to the palace, right in the heart of the city. We got in around 5 or 6pm local time and it being winter, the sun had gone down around 3:30pm but that didn't stop us from bundling up and exploring anyway! 
It was chilly but not unbearably cold. Anytime we needed to warm up we just checked out the inside of churches. 
This was the first of many European churches I entered. They were so beautiful. 
It is impressive to me all the details that go into the craftsmanship of these buildings, each individually colored tile laid into a mosaic or intricately carved statues and moldings trimming the room. 
This is as close to a "selfie" as I will get. Hello. :)
We were in Oslo for about a day and a half, exploring after dark both days. I really loved how walkable the city was, VERY different from LA. 
We found the opera house and I thought it was need that their scenery shop had giant glass windows so you could see the sets they were currently building. This looks suspiciously like "A Trip To The Moon" by George Méliès .
The opera house is built so that you can easily climb up onto the roof and enjoy the view of Oslo at the harbor...
...or just make dancing shadow puppets in front of the spotlights. Now I know where Levi got his sweet dance moves from. :)
Justin found some ancient runes on a map so we decided to find them in the dark. But instead we got lost and made more dancing shadow figures in front of some other random building. 
After a while though we DID find the runes hiding under a bunch of leaves and they were fascinating! 
It reminded me a lot of the petroglyphs you can find all over red-rock country in Utah. Only these were red figures carved on the stones made by pre-Viking people. 
On the second day we had something that slightly resembled daylight. The palace is situated in this huge park which was busy with people jogging, walking their dogs, going for a stroll, all despite the chilly weather.
We found a group of people blowing giant bubbles. I wonder if it's possible for a giant bubble to freeze?
This is what I like to call "The Royal Pile of Leaves" and I like to think some Norwegian royal had plans to come jump in this later.
Outside the entrance to the metro was this lively band and this little boy dancing to them. A lot of the street performers in Europe played accordions. 
This is where they give out the Nobel Peace Prize, but all of the other Nobel Prizes are given out in Stockholm... stay tuned for that post!
Beautiful Oslo harbor at sunset
Maybe this is silly and obvious to everyone but me, but I was struck by just how OLD everything in Europe is. Buildings and forts and castles hundreds if not a thousand years old. This is still kind of mind boggling to me. I suppose in comparison America really is quite young.
Justin checking out the view from the fort with his special anti-wind glasses.
View of the harbor from the fort. There's a cool cave down there with cars parked in it. I wish my garage was that interesting.
Fort puppet shadow dancing... are you sensing the trend here yet?
This is Justin's panorama of Oslo he took from his phone. I think if you click it a larger version will appear. We found this view after wandering a few miles out of city center and wound up in a super weird sculpture garden. Apparently there is a famous sculpture garden there, but this one wasn't it. It was just a super weird alternative with creepy audio-visual displays that pop up out of nowhere in the middle of the forest. 

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