A Worldschooler’s Day in Lillehammer, Norway

Quick quotes from the Traveling Parents before we pass the torch to our eldest worldschooler who is extremely passionate about exploring and writing:

“Every secret of a writer’ soul, every experience in his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” – Virginia Woolf

You got this, kyvelo! – Turknoy Parents

—-

Saturday, May 5, 2019; 8:00 AM.

The night before, Mom had mentioned something among the lines of waking up at 4:00 AM, and had even went as far as planting the bloody phone alarm bomb alongside my bed. Protest had been on the tip of my tongue, although I hadn’t mustered the courage to do so.

As much as this fact had threatened my usual sleep-stocked slumber, I had slept soundly nevertheless. I had managed to pry my eyes open to what I thought had been four hours of sleep, when Mom bludgeoned through the unfortunate door; halting in her tracks as I allegedly “slept” on, completely unnerved. I had been semi-conscious at the time, so I hadn’t completely deceived mother dear. Mutinously mumbling, Mom trudged back through the door, which much to my surprise, had managed a piteous “click”, as she shut it behind her.

I squirmed beneath my sheets, partially due to the psychotic steam that had practically originated from myself, as well as the fact that I had started envying my former frozen self the day before.

Worldschooler, proud and happy! She did wake up like this!

Fast forward, although not too much so as to deprive Mom of precious “reflection”; I had been seated at the dining table a few minutes ago, where I had went through the usual territorial dish disputes; which hadn’t been much use since Dad had knowingly distributed accordingly, wary to the single grain.

Kim had decided to grace us with his bed-headed presence shortly after I had finished, although soon enough he wasn’t far behind.

We arrived at Oslo Central Station pink-faced and breath deprived, tapping for the troublesome tickets furiously, for the train had been due to leave in the next six minutes. As soon as I had stepped foot on the train, it had heaved and huffed, gradually gaining speed as we sped through the greenery. We stumbled through the numerous occupied seats; the occupants of which made noises remarkably like the exasperated huffs originating from the train itself.

The view to Lillehammer is marvelous… my favorite sister thinks so, too!

Speeding through luscious lakes, and fanciful foliage, the train rocked here and there, lulling me into a dream-lavished snooze of which I had debated on whether this infamous “Lillehammer” really had anything to do with hammers at all.

I clenched my teeth as another ear-piercing ring rang through the air. I had woken a few minutes ago, and had fruitlessly been screwing my eyes tight, in hopes of returning to thoughts of mjolnir.

The two hour train ride had finally screeched to a stop. The staff door swung open, revealing the person I guessed was the conductor. I narrowed my eyes begrudgingly, as I couldn’t find a reason as to why a grown man was in need to “toot, toot!” every five minutes. I stepped off the train all too gladly, skipping the way to Lillehammer.

That is, until I had caught sight of exactly how steep their roads, as well as their pavements were. You attempt skipping on a surface where the tiniest nudge would make it perfectly acceptable as a wall.

Map at hand, we marched up up up, family members overlapping family members; desperate for the front position, desperate for the valid excuse of “waiting” for the rest.

“Museum”. My heart skipped a beat as I saw those letters peek out of the green landscape that my skin tone had done a remarkable job of mimicking. I stumbled towards the building, eyes bulging as a bus sped past. Nostrils flared, I huffed as we stepped into the museum.

st. “Museum”. My heart skipped a beat…

“I suppose it was worth it.” I thought grudgingly, although I dare not say it out loud in fear of being accused of sucking up. Dad drawled on about the Vikings in the 1800’s in custody of practically nothing, whilst I fought the urge to roll my eyes. Nothing, huh? An enormous expanse of green stretched as far as the eye could see, shades of mint, lime, and emerald dotted here and there. Houses clustered just above the crystal lake, although it wasn’t difficult so as to imagine it’s former pre-beach-house beauty.

I pressed a palm against the spruce-like wood the cabins consisted of, breathed the scent of worn wood. Mom had teased about taking care of time portals, although now I had the strange urge to seek one out. A river rushed nearby, it was ridiculously accessible.

An enormous expanse of green stretched as far as the eye could see, shades of mint, lime, and emerald dotted here and there. Houses clustered just above the crystal lake, although it wasn’t difficult so as to imagine it’s former pre-beach-house beauty.

Seeing, smelling, and feeling things that had such stories behind them was simply indescribable. I’m not a lazy writer, so I don’t say that to the advantage of a decrease of words, which the previous extremely detailed paragraphs should hold proof of.

I had LITERALLY trotted through time today, from Viking abodes, to the perfect, prim, and proper peoples and places of the following decades; I had thoroughly enjoyed the adventures today had held, as well as Lillehammer itself. The architectural astonishment, and the historical heaven I had experienced the moment I took my last excruciating step uphill had been one of the most memorable; despite the lack of hammers.

The architectural astonishment, and the historical heaven I had experienced the moment I took my last excruciating step uphill had been one of the most memorable; despite the lack of hammers.
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Tønsberg, The Ancient Capital of Norway

 

“The brace man well shall fight and win, through dull his blade may be.”- ~Fafnismal 28

Tønsberg is generally regarded as the oldest town in Norway, founded by the Vikings in the 9th century and also regarded as an Ancient Capital of Norway.

The town is also eventful in this present time as it is ancient. Tønsberg is a town filled opportunities for those with an urge to explore (like our Turknoy family and the Vikings!) We have noticed buzzing activities just below the The Castle Rock Tower, Slottsfjellet, and Brygga during our visit.

Tønsberg has beautiful nature to explore, too. At the coastal path, gorgeous and ever changing magnificent landscape can be enjoyed.

As mentioned, the town of Tønsberg is the oldest town in Norway. It was founded during the Viking Age, and celebrated its millennial jubilee in 1871! The greatest testament to the town’s significance during the Viking times is the world-famous Oseberg ship, which was discovered just north of Tønsberg center.

After the Viking Age and throughout the Middle Ages, Tønsberg remained a center of power until 1671, the only established town in the Vestfold region.

Tønsberg was a hub for commerce and shipping, and sites as Tunsberghus, several churches and monasteries, as well as the Earldom of Jarlsberg served to reinforce the town’s position of importance. Tønsberg was also a member of the Hanseatic League and played a major role in the establishment and development of commercial whaling in Northern Europe.

For hundred of years, Oseberghaugen has concealed one of the world’s largest Viking treasures, the Oseberg ship, excavated in 1904. The 21.5 meters long Oseberg ship turned out to be the grave is an eminent woman, perhaps a queen. The ship was filled gifts for the journey to its not so obvious doom! A copy of the Oseberg ship’s beautifully carved bow can be seen at The Slottsfjell Museum. Another complete replica of the ship can be seen at the harbor of Tønsberg.

The world’s most important discovery from the Viking Era was made just outside of Tønsberg in 1904, the famous Oseberg Viking Ship

The Castle Rock Tower is Tønsberg’s most famous landmark and is part of Slottsfjell museum which is located at the foot of the hill. The present tower was built as the 1000-year anniversary and was completed in 1888. The tower is 17 meters high, with a stunning view of the town. The original cross from the Maria Church and the engaged signature of three Norwegian kings can be seen in the tower.

The Castle Rock Tower is Tønsberg’s most famous landmark

Family photo The Castle Rock Tower is Tønsberg’s most famous landmark

The Slottsfjell museum and the area around is a culture heritage that represent the long history of Tønsberg. The ruin park shows remains of the one of Norway’s most significant medieval fort. In the museum’s Viking hall is Norway’s forth Viking ship, the only preserved ship that is placed outside Oslo, and the story of Oseberg findings. The Whale exhibition shows whale skeletons and the history of Svend Foyn. The blue whale skeleton  is the world’s  largest preserved skeleton.

The Quayside and old warehouses restored in 1978-1980. The brygga is a popular place with restaurants, marina and activities in a maritime setting.

View of the Tønsberg Brygge from the Bridge!

Playing Knight!

Viking longboat repair station… fine, fine … or any normal boat

Torvet, the main square of city center is a 10-minute walk from Tønsberg Brygge or Wharf and also to the Tønsberg Station. It was Sunday when we visited so everything was closed. It was still a very fun walk to do with kids!

Leading path to the Torvet, the main square of city center.
All dreams will be great 👍🏾

Torvet, the main square of city center.
Built 1919

Dream catchers

Last but definitely not the least trivia about Tønsberg is that the town is the New Asgard! Hello Marvel movies fanatic like us! Though, a little bit of reality from a Tønsberg resident.

It does make a lot of sense, though, that Marvel Universe is in a town with Norse mythology and Viking background. Tønsberg was the Earth-based battleground of Orin’s war against the Frost Giants, revealed during Thor’s prologue. It is also the location where the Red Skull, back when he was Johanna Schmidt, first discovered the Tesseract, containing the Space Stone, which has had a massive impact on the fate of the Avengers. The New Asgard with a new queen Valkyrie, that’s Tønsberg, Norway. What a fateful location indeed.

Marvel Studios may or may not have filmed in Tønsberg, well, they should have. This town is fabulous and Asgardian in any way!

Top of Castle Rock where our Marvel fanatics play loving the view and Endgame at the same time!

Have you been to New Asgard… hoops, Tønsberg? 🤗🇳🇴😜❤️

Lillehammer, UNESCO City of Literature

There is nothing noble in being superior to your frown man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. ” – quote by Ernest Hemingway

Being superior to your former self, exactly what Hemingway quoted, is what we have taken away from Lillehammer with its extreme love for literature, books and written word. There’s a sense on ownership in all literature events we observe happening in the Lillehammer; an ownership that feels everybody involved in their own confident world.

One fine Saturday we visited, the Literature Festival, Norsk Litteraturfestuval, is being celebrated and there were a lot of book readings and discussions with authors almost at every buildings. We visited the Public Library and there’s an ongoing event with an author, a great event to have observed, while browsing the library, even though the discussions were in Norwegian.

This festival, the Norwegian Festival of Literature is the biggest of its kind in the Nordics. Words is the main weapon to stir emotions and provoke actions in this Festival.

Lillehammer is one of Norway’s most important cultural centers and has a status as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Lillehammer is one of Norway’s most important cultural centers and has a status as a UNESCO City of Literature
Town Center, Lillehammer, Norway 🇳🇴
There’s always time to stop exploring and read books… so yeah, never stop exploring!

Lillehammer is a charming town at the entrance to the Gudbrandsdalen valley. Coming from Oslo, it’s a huge change of scenery from buzzing wide streets to picturesque pedestrian streets; from high dense of people to not so much, having only 27,000 inhabitants.

After exploring the town and it’s literature events, we head on to Maihaugen Open- Air Museum, a blissful environment depicting how it is to live a life like it was the old days with the Viking.

The Maihaugen Open Museum has more than 200 historic houses and buildings as far back as the 13th century to the present day.

We have visited houses from each decade during the 20th century. We also visited the childhood residence of Norway’s Queen Sonja.

Maihaugen and Norges Postmuseum
A magnificent landscape, a village with a view! ❤️
Maihaugen is a feel good experience where history is brought to life!
Behind us is the oldest church in Norway in Maihugen

Lillehammer fanatic – the place and the Netflix
show 🤗

Quick Triva: Lillehammer is the location of the American-Norwegian television series in Netflix, Lilyhammer. Our traveling dad watches this.. for travel planning purposes. It’s semi-crime, semi-comedy series set in Norway, what’s not to watch?

What a fantastic spot for kids looking back and knocking on the generations past.

We also experienced Norway’s important postal history at the Norwegian Postal Museum at Maihaugen.

Norwegian Postal Museum at Maihaugen.

Storgata, lined with idyllic wooden houses, provides the framework for a modern and friendly shopping experience and an experience already in its own right. We were able to shop for some very expensive brand at very low prices, a.k.a we visited a semi-flea market as it is in a fancy shop.

Hoarding on books from UNESCO City of Literature at Storgata, Lillehammer

The train view

We could easily fill this blog with lots of train view as we took a loads of photos. The lake view, the fields and mountains views, the houses and landscapes views – everything seems to have come out of a perfect masterpiece.

The train back and forth form Oslo to Lillehammer has jaw dropping view we didn’t want the journey to end 🇳🇴

Did we give you enough reasons to visit Lillehammer? Hope we did.

Exploring Oslo, Norway: Det kongelige slott, Royal Palace

“I think the main task in life we all have received, is to become the best version of ourselves, no matter how difficult life can be. ” King Harald V of Norway

Det kongelige slot, or simply, Slottet is the royal residence home to HM King Harald V and HM Queen Sonja. Slottet is located at the top of Karl Johans gate, completed in 1849.

The Royal Palace Park surrounds the palace on all sides and features grassy areas, majestic trees, small ponds and statues. These grassy ares are perfect for a quick picnic/ hanging out in front of the castle while admiring the majestic neo-classical style with the facade of stuccoed brick.

Great fond memories in front of His Highness home residence

The building is in neo-classical style with a facade of stuccoed brick, and was completed in 1849.
Our prince and the Royal Palace

Beyond hanging out during sunny days (or any cold days!) there are tours in summer, changing of guards every 1:30pm and service in the Palace Chapel every Sundays at 11am.

Our family believes the King Harald of Norway is THE coolest monarch. He is a champion sailor; he represented his country three times in Olympic Games; he support all genres and religions.

Not so long ago, he quoted Love Actually, in comparing Norway with United Kingdom,

“We may be a small country, but we’re a great one…”

He is certainly has more right to state this than Hugh Grant.

If you don’t think that is way too cool for a monarch, you should hear the love story between King Harald and Queen Sonja.

Once upon a time in 1950s…. so the real fairy tale starts King Harald saw a commoner, love at first sight, chased after her, courtship of nine years! King Olav V disapproves of the Prince not marrying another royalty from Sweden, a country of alliance. They defied all odds and eventually got married and live happily ever after ruling a great country… making it greater every day…

It’s a lot better than Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s story, right?!

Hanging out at The Royal Palace Park
the top of Karl Johans gate is the a Royal Palace

Obviously, lots of positive energy around The Royal Palace that our family wishes to absorb. And really, it’s a fine place to visit!

Don’t miss passing through The Royal Palace when in Oslo, Norway!

Exploring Oslo, Norway: Vigeland Sculpture Park

“That two bodies press convulsively together, man and woman, he fertilizing her, he giving her a budding life, or he planting a seed, a seed of life in her womb – Oh God. I think this God-given idea is so enormous, so eternal, so endlessly wise – that people should not be allowed to depict it in art!”

– Quote By Gustav Vigeland

One may find this quote inappropriate for a family travel blog, but this really relates to what radical unschooling or radical family lifestyle means. There is no taboo in art, so there should be no taboo in nonconforming to school, religion or  any  society’s institutions.

So a day spent in Vigeland Sculpture Park may be equivalent to any “normal” art or any lessons day in school. Or more. Kids running around in more than 200 naked sculptures depicting life, of course!

On a more serious tone (the previous tone was made in pun but no way less serious!)…. the Vigeland Park is one of Norway’s most visited attractions and the world’s largets sculpture park made by one artist, Gustav Vigeland, contains no less than 212 bronze and granite sculptures

Gustav Vigeland (11 April 1869 – 12 March 1943), né Adolf Gustav Thorsen, was a Norwegian sculptor. Gustav Vigeland occupies a special position among Norwegian sculptors, both in the power of his creative imagination and in his productivity. He is most associated with the Vigeland installation (Vigelandsanlegget) in Frogner Park, Oslo. He was also the designer of the Nobel Peace Prize medal.

The park was completed between 1939 and 1949 and all the statues are centred on the Human Condition theme of the park, illustrating relationships between men and women, adults and children.

The park can be divided into 5 main units that are located along the 850-metre-long main axis: The main gate, the bridge with the children’s playground, the fountain, the monolith plateau and the wheel of life. Norway’s most famous boy, the angry boy, is located in the middle of the bridge together with more than 50 bronze sculptures where the artist wanted to display mainly young people and show the relationship between men and women.

The popular Angry Boy sculpture shows a naked little boy crying and about to stamp his foot.

Not shying away from naked sculptures and artistic interpretation of the human bodies and its “activities” , we have explored  the Vigeland Sculpture Park three times for different seasons, (two actually – cold and very cold!), and it was always an eye-opener experience, both literally and figuratively!

Park size is relative … whether you like it or not 🤣

Vigeland.

Snow and let it all out! 🤣

Fall season with family is the time to explore Vigeland Park!!!

The Naked Park

Okay… so let’s pile up and explore 👊🏽

So you think you are cold? How about the sculptures?! 🤣

Snowy and rainy in the midst of naked and artistic truth of sculptures!

and on to almost summer in Oslo!!

Cloudy and sunny at the same time is The Perfect time to explore Vigeland Park

Can you see the excitement of kids when it’s time to explore the Vigeland sculptures!
Vigeland sculpture is so much fun!!! ❤️

 

Have you explored Vigeland  Sculpture Park in Oslo, Norway? Did you like it? 

Exploring Oslo, Norway: Den Norske Opera & Ballett, Opera House

Opera House is at very close proximity at the harbor . It’s angled, white exterior looks low its rising from the wage. Climbing the roof is fun on its own, not to mention the panoramic views of Oslo and fjord, at all seasons.

And of course, our traveling family climbed up and enjoyed the sunset and the view!

Oslo’s Opera House in Spring!
The panoramic view of Oslo City seen from the top of Opera House

The opera is designed by the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta, and has received several prestigious awards. The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet offers a rich and varied programme from three stages: The Main House (1369 seats), Second House (400 seats) and the Studio (200 seats). The Opera roof and foyer are also used for concerts. 

Climbing up and down Oslo’s Opera House is an adventure in itself!

Enjoying the view of artistic glass sculpture “She Lies” from Oslo’s Opera House.

This art installation lies in the water just beside the Opera House; it’s axis turns with the wind and tide. Like the Opera House, unique experiences is guaranteed every time.

She splits! With the view of Oslo’s New Harbor Promenade

We have yet to visit the inside of the Opera House. There are tours available. Large-scale windows at street level provide the public with glimpses of rehearsals and workshop activities. The building’s interior is mainly oak, and the main hall is shaped like a horseshoe, reminiscent of classical theatres of the past.

Wishing, thinking of watching a performance in the Opera House during our visit to Oslo this time around. Any recommendations?

Exploring Oslo, Norway: Food Trucks

 

So you think Norway is expensive? Maybe. Maybe not.

In Oslo, yes, dining in is expensive. With the tax added in plus the table fee, of course, we think it is insanely expensive.

However, eating in Oslo (or in Norway, in general) doesn’t have to be expensive.

Case in point, food trucks! With food trucks, there are a lot of relatively cheaper food options with greater quality at accessible and convenient locations.

The lower operation cost of food truck industry while providing high quality service and food options may be the most obvious rationale why there are a lot of food trucks in Oslo. The perfect choice for travellers looking for quick-stop convenient access to food without the super excessive cost!

Staying in Aker Brygge area, these are the food trucks available with the view.
Good Mood Street Food Truck

Good mood

Is there any truck cooler than this? Rock and roll! 

 

Tonio’s Donuys& Churros
Putting the price out there, just in case you guys want to treat us to a Churros and Kaffe! 

 

Late afternoon, these 4-5 food trucks will line up and open right at the Promenade leading to Aker Brygge. Perfect for hungry stomachs craving dinner/ snack/ very late lunch after exploring/ doing business/ enjoying Oslo city!

Food truck paradise during afternoon!
Asian Fusion on Wheels
Italian Street Food and Catering

Streets of Bangkok

#GoGrilla

Stay tuned. We are  still in Oslo, Norway for ten days or so  and really intend to hunt more food trucks! If you are also in the city and knows of food trucks to check out, give us a shout out!