Oslo, Nobel, Munch, Maisel, peace, and inspiration

I’m going to give you a sample for each sight today, with a gallery at the end with lots more.

Oslo is optimally organized for tourists. Show up at the ticket counter conveniently located by the train station and buy an Oslo pass. (Everyone speaks excellent English.) Ask how to get to the Viking museum and be directed to get on Bus 20 across the street. Your Oslo pass covers all your public transport for the duration of the pass. You can even get part way back to the airport on the regional train with the pass, though you’ll need to add payment for 2 zones.

Bus 20 takes you out of Oslo past some pretty farms to the Folk Museum. The Folk Museum is really extensive. It is outdoors, but there are a couple of exhibit halls too. The displays show how people have lived in Norway over the centuries. We didn’t see the whole thing but loved what we saw. The stave church shown below was moved there by preservationists in the 1800s. There were historical preservationists in the 1800s. How cool is that?

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An old stave church at the Folks Museum outside Oslo

After the Folks Museum you go back to the bus stop directly in front of the museum and regard this pretty produce stand until the bus shows up. The bus runs every 15 minutes so you never wait long. There is an electronic sign that tells you when it’s coming.

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Next stop is the Viking Ship Museum. This is in the book A Thousand Places to See Before You Die. I have an old edition of this book and am slowly working through it, checking things off, though not obsessively. I don’t see every sight in each town, but I try to hit a few. We also check out TripAdvisor to make sure the sights are still good. I agree with the book 99 percent of the time, and the Viking Ship Museum was another winner.

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A Viking ship

Then you get back on the bus to go to two more ship museums, which are on the water. The inspiring Kon Tiki Museum showcases the extraordinary courage and accomplishment of Thor Heyerdahl. He not only withstood massive negativity, he rose to meet the challenges with greater and greater efforts, building a better team, networking, reaching higher and higher up the ladder to get support, going to different countries, including talking to the president of the United States and of Peru. Suddenly my own obstacles and the occasional negativity I receive for my efforts don’t seem even worthy of attention.

As a writer I live with the doubts typical of creative people, probably like all of you bloggers who look at my blog and are reading this now. It is very easy to invalidate oneself and one’s creative efforts. Add to that the occasional negative feedback, and it’s easy to give in to the blues and stop writing, blogging, photographing, singing, whatever is important to you. Reading about Thor Heyerdahl’s completely individual decision to set about proving the viability of his anthropological theory and about his prolonged, sustained, and courageous effort to carry out his idea, inspired me to carry on in my own efforts to create. His story inspired me to toughen up and believe in my work.

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Kon Tiki

Interestingly, at the same time that I have been touring Scandinavia, I have been reading Eric Maisel’s book The Van Gogh Blues. I did not dare leave home without an ebook copy of his book Coaching the Artist Within loaded on my Nook, but I also decided to purchase The Van Gogh Blues after reading the sample. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for creative people, including bloggers! Leanne Cole wrote an  interesting post about being called “just a blogger.” Leanne did a wonderful job combating this negative idea. Who is anyone to judge a person’s form of meaning creation? If you think what you create has meaning, then it does. My blog is important to me on many levels. I don’t need to extol the joys of blogging, but just wanted to share a thought to encourage my fellow bloggers to keep up your work here in the blogosphere, and in the art that you bring yourself forth to create. And if you are not a blogger, whatever you do in your life that has value to you, embrace it, especially if it’s “just” being a good person.

The last ship museum, which is the Fram museum, the first ship specially built in Norway for polar research, is pretty awesome:

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It’s a great museum for kids, including the inner child in all of us. You get to do goofy stuff like this:

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and this,

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though the last one was educational. I couldn’t pull the adult-sized sled through snow, just the child-sized one. So now I know not to go on a polar expedition.

The pier for the ferry to take you back to the city center is just beyond the Fram museum. There are these neat old wooden boats down there, but don’t worry, they aren’t  what you will be riding on to get back to the city.

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The ferry didn’t drop us off near the central train station like we expected. Instead we stumbled upon the Nobel Peace Center. The sights are so well organized in Oslo, it’s a brilliant city for tourists. We didn’t have plans to see the Center because I wanted to see the Munch Museum. The museums in Oslo don’t stay open late, and we had a late start, but here we came off the ferry and found ourselves staring at the Nobel Peace Center.

 

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So, in we went. Here is another example of a man with a vision. He turned his negative experience, his guilt over having invented dynamite, which was used in war, into an enduring institution in support of peace. Keep in mind that Alfred Nobel created the peace prize out of nothing more than his own decision. Well, his money too, of course. But money without the idea, or the idea without the will, would not have invented this annual award which makes such a huge positive difference in the world.

The news lately has been bleak, emphasizing more atrocities and injustices that you don’t need me to enumerate. It is all certainly enough to make one feel that we are not making progress and to feel hopeless. Well the Nobel Peace Center will infuse you with hope. While I only made it through 3 stations of the guided tour, I left transformed by hope and a feeling of human progress. In the gallery are some interesting statistics about social media and freedom. Here’s one example of a woman who used Facebook to effect change.

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We also were shown information about the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a recent recipient of the award. OPCW is amazing. The have destroyed an estimated 95% of the chemical weapons in the world.

Finally, the Munch museum was a must for me. While his more famous paintings are in the National Gallery, I always like to go to the artist’s museum to see his or her minor works, sketches, and experiments. In addition to The Scream, which was amazing to see up close, but which I couldn’t photograph, I discovered Munch painted some pretty ones too.

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He was into death and “crystallization,” the relationship between death and life (with lots of Grim Reaper type figures hovering right next to the living, and bones, anatomy, and also came up with a myth about the creation of man and woman. A rather depressing one. But it was interesting to see the range of his skills, his thought processes, his interest in science and to learn about his friendship with the anatomy teacher.

I leave you with one little quote from The Van Gogh Blues, which is actually a quote from Gandhi. “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” What you do to create meaning is significant to you. And what you do might make a much bigger impact than you realize, even if it’s “just a blog post.”

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8 thoughts on “Oslo, Nobel, Munch, Maisel, peace, and inspiration

  1. Fabio

    Super great stuff, Nia! I will write a comment in my evening. Thanks so much for your energy, thoughts, photos, and for inspiring us to do a better job wherever we are! Thanks also for sharing so much culture and travel hints with all of us! Take care and you both have a good night! 🙂 Fabio

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Fabio

    It was a very productive day for you and, consequently, for us as well. You have visited five museums and the Nobel Peace Center. Not bad, eh? Loved that church! The Viking ships are so elegant! The pictures of yourself are excellent! Last, but not least, you address the obstacles and negativity that we may receive from someone in regard to our projects. We have to find the energy and we need to develop the skills to overcome the criticism and continue our journey. Thanks so much for sharing your tourism in Scandinavia, which is so rich in culture, experiences, photos, and discussion of ideas! Take care and have another GREAT day! Hugs! Fabio

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
      1. Fabio

        A pleasure to follow your journey through such interesting places and cultures, Nia! I am the one that needs to give thanks! After a long day, you find time and energy to sit at the “typewriter” and to prepare your fine report. Everything is of professional grade, especially your writing! Thanks so much! Have safe trips! Fabio
        PS: So nice also to find one or two photos with your very optimistic smile! Take care! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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