The Blue Chair Blog

It's not just about the novel


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Northern light, blue skies

Here are a few photos from around Drøbak and Oslo. Chalkboard signs are ubiquitous in cities and Melkesjokolade is ubiquitious in Norway. I come from berry country; fresh Norwegian strawberries will meet or beat ours. And the waffles I get when I’m in Drøbak can’t be bettered anywhere.

On July 22, I flew to London from Oslo, leaving behind not only family and friends in Drøbak but the pure Norwegian light and lucid blue skies. I miss the people, light, and color still.  A few odds and ends posted for you. Soon, I’ll write about London and Oxford. With photos, of course!

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Modern art in Oslo

I’ve been wanting to visit the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art ever since it moved into it’s new location on Oslo’s waterfront. Between this place and Ekeberg Park, Oslo’s access to modern art is off the charts, especially in proportion to her size.  There was one rainy day during my time in Norway, so off we went.  Besides the impressive permanent collection of modern art, there was an exhibit of works collected by the explorer Erling Kagge’s called Love Story. The Astrup Fearnley’s location on the peninsula of Tjuvholmen is dramatic, and the two museum buildings provide a soaring backdrop for the art. I liked a lot of what I saw, was challenged by some pieces, and thought a few were in the category of you’re-pulling-my-leg. That’s modern art for you, but in particular I am still haunted by Damien Hirst’s Eulogy, constructed with butterfly wings, and to which no picture can do justice.


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To market, to market

The Sunday market along the Akerselva at Blå, in the Grünerløkka district of Oslo, is about as colorful as you could want — sun, music, street art, kids, dogs, things to buy, things to eat and drink, and a lot of happy people. Sunday markets were another of several firsts for me on this trip to Oslo.

Notes:

In Norwegian this market is called Søndagsmarked på Blå and it’s located at Brenneriveien 9. If you are curious about that intricately painted crocodile in the last photo, someone was kind enough to tag my Instagram photo with the artist’s name: Phlegm. (You just can’t make this stuff up.) Click the links to read more about Phlegm and his impressive body of work.

My nephew and I capped this field trip off with a visit to Oslo’s Food Hall (Mathallen) for lunch. We were there last year, too. Lots of delicious, beautiful food — meat, produce, baked goods, etc. — and a variety of places to eat and drink. We had sandwiches of duck confit from Ma Poule. Not particularly Norwegian but delicious!


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Exploring Ekeberg Park

Oslo has long had one of the most impressive sculpture parks in the world in Vigeland Park. In the fall of 2013, the city of Oslo opened Ekeberg Park as a “people’s park,” which is a quintessentially Norwegian way to do things. It is a “sculpture and national heritage park” with a strong international art collection, including works by Rodin, Renoir, Dali, Vigeland, Botero, and Damien Hirst.

Most of the sculptures are figures or representations of women. They are surrounded by beautiful scenery with many spectacular views out over the city and Oslfjord. Traces of some of the oldest settlements in the area, such as petroglyphs and dry stone walls, are also found in this fascinating cultural landscape.

After quite a few visits to Oslo over the last 15 years, it was a deep pleasure to discover something new and inspiring and to spend an afternoon walking through beautiful Ekenberg Park with family. The park is free and always open. There is a nearby campground, too.

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