At the very end of my last post, I mentioned that I decided to welcome the new year with some solo travel. Although my Watson journey is essentially one long solo travel trip, this trip stood out to me. Visiting a city for a few days as a tourist felt like a completely different adventure than my previous Watson travels. I had gone sight seeing in Port of Spain and Tromsø, but for some reason this trip felt much more lonely. Perhaps it was because I knew that the purpose of this trip was purely leisure, and that in my temporary homes I used sightseeing as a way to connect with my new surroundings and the new culture I had implanted myself in... or maybe it was because it felt more like a vacation, and that I associate vacations with family, friends, and togetherness. As I reflect on the experience, I think it could be a combination of both things and not being around my family during the holidays that reminded me of how alone I was.
When I got to Oslo, I was reminded of how extravagant the airport was–it felt like I was in an upscale mall with an airport in it, not the other way around. I was initially frustrated because somehow in my short trip from northern to southern Norway my bag had been misplaced (thankfully they were delivered to my hostel that evening). Although I was pretty anxious and upset about not having my things, I figured out where my hostel was and got on the train headed towards the city center. As I walked out of the train station, my mood slightly improved when I say the sun. For the past three weeks I had been experiencing the polar night in Tromsø– a phenomenon in the northern and southern most regions of the world where the sun stays below the visible horizon for 24 hours a day. I had been living in 24/7 "darkness" and nearly forgot that the rest of the world wasn't experiencing the same thing. The bustling city life was also a refreshing reprieve from the small town feeling of Tromsø. While I enjoyed how homey and comforting Tromsø was, I was happy with the change of scenery. My hostel was an apartment that had been outfitted to accommodate many short and extended stay guests. It was my first time staying in a hostel, but I preferred the shared room experience to a lonely stay in an Airbnb or hotel. My host was fairly nice, and I got to meet people from around the world. There were four long term guests from Greece, India and Argentina, and over the course of my 4 night stay I shared a room with people from Spain and Portugal. I brought in the new year in Oslo and went to an NYE party with my Portuguese roommates. While I missed the fireworks, I had a great night out and made some new friends.
During my self-directed tour of the city I got to visit the Munch Museum. The entirety of the works in the museum were bequeathed to the city of Oslo, and star the collection of work and artifacts from the famous Norwegian painter, Edvard Munch. Among some of his famous paintings include The Scream, Starry Night, and Madonna, all of which I had the privilege of viewing first had in the museum. The other collections in the museum showcased paintings from prominent and less well known Norwegian artists, but were equally as breathtaking. Some of my favorite pieces in the museum were created by Ludvig Ravensberg and Amaldus Nielsen. I had never heard of them or seen their work before visiting the museum, but fell in love with their painting styles.
In addition to the Munch museum, I also visited the Norwegian Folk Museum, the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, the Botanical Gardens, the Fram Museum (detailing the Norwegian expedition to the Arctic and Antarctica), the Viking Ship Museum, the Norwegian Opera House, and toured the scenic downtown area. Although it took some getting used to, I really enjoyed my solo tourist experience and it helped me feel more comfortable and prepared for my time in Stockholm.
Post about Stockholm coming soon!