Exploring Oslo, Norway: Oslo rådhus, Oslo City Hall

“If I have a thousand ideas and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied.” – Alfred Nobel

Oslo City Hall (Norwegian: Oslo rådhus) is a municipal building in country capital, Oslo, located in the northern part of Pipervika neighborhood and faces Oslofjord. It houses the city council, the city’s administration and various other municipal organisations. The building as it stands today was constructed between 1931 and 1950. It was designed by architects Arnstein Arneberg and Magnus Poulsson.

Our Small Friends Exhibition besides the Oslo City Hall

Oslo City Hall is built of red brick  and has two towers, one 63 meters tall and other 66 meters tall. The bricks used are larger than what was typical at the time of construction, but are roughly the same size as bricks used in the Middle Ages. The bricks – measuring approximately 27,5 x 13 x 8,5 cm – were produced by Hovin Teglverk in Oslo. The eastern tower has a set of 49 bells

On December 10 each year, during the death anniversary of Alfred Nobel, the Oslo City Hall hosts the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in which the annual laureate gives his or her lecture and is awarded the medal and diploma.

A podium for the laureate and the Nobel Committee is erected in the far end of the hall for each ceremony. The Norwegian Royal Family and Prime Minister attends the ceremony.

Inaugurated in 1950, Oslo City Hall is the city’s administrative body and the seat of the City Council.
Enter a caption
The building has been decorated by great Norwegian art from 1900-1950, with motifs from Norwegian history, culture and working life.
Future Nobel Peace Prize Laureate – it’s in his smile already!

On December 10 each year, during the death anniversary of Alfred Nobel, the Oslo City Hall hosts the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in which the annual laureate gives his or her lecture and is awarded the medal and diploma.

There are free tours inside the Oslo City Hall. Have you seen the interior of this administration building? 

Advertisements

A Worldschooler’s Day in Tønsberg, Norway

Considering the fact that Tønsberg has been infamous for holding the status of being the filming sight for numerous marvel movies, the most commonly known being it’s role as “New Asgard” I’ve come to the conclusion that Lillehammer; emphasis on the hammer, would have done delightful. Although I’m certain of the fact that even the god of thunder had a hard time heaving up hills.

Well despite the fact, Tønsberg is indeed an abode for godly beings, and today had definitely proved that point:

Today had mirrored the day before, despite the slight shift of breakfast; but I had happily guzzled away. We had managed to catch bus 54, with the help of Dad’s pestiferous prodding, though it had been slightly more eventful then what I had expected.

A little girl, around six, stood blatantly at the bus station. Tears ran down her cheeks as she sniveled forlornly, Dad pointed out. This fact surprised me, for Dad hadn’t been one to barge in the business of other people; though in this scenario I see as to how one couldn’t. We stood rooted to the spot a few feet away, ogling observantly, yet unsure as to what to do. I blinked as a woman bulldozed her way out the bus that had been parked alongside the pavement, scooped the ill-fated fledgling in her arms and bounced back onto the bus. I’m not sure as to why this surprised me, though at a level I had expected her to- at the very least, comfort the poor soul rather than dragging her off like neglected luggage. I wasn’t in any place to protest, for I can’t possibly expect every single mother to be as magnificent as mine. (yeah, yeah, “sucker” or whatnot.)

We tramped off shortly after, though this event had spawned a series of tedious tutts from dear mother, but I doubt we’d ever stray, considering the constant- yet caring cuddles she’d give every few minutes. Some more than others, though you didn’t hear that from me.

Traipsing into Oslo Central had come a teensy bit more natural this time, and the furious fingering we had fumed onto the unfortunate ticket apparatus last time had somewhat subdued, so it’s safe to say we’re professionals now. Even the duration of train had dimmed, and not to mention the fact that the conductor hadn’t been quite as vociferous; thank Thor.

Now onto Tønsberg, the oldest city in Norway. When Mom had stated the fact I hadn’t assumed it’d be a ghost town. That may have been slightly overemphasized, although there truly wasn’t a person in sight. The stores stood vacant, and we were left to mingle with the bitter breeze; for it seemed as if even the sun had skedaddled.

Tønsberg seemed to be surrounded by a rolling ocean of hills and herbage, with tiny tufts of trees brimmed with blossoms. A turret stood isolated on the tippity top fold of green; a turret of which I had had no idea as to exactly how long it’d take to get there.

“I don’t know, it must be something with the internet.” Mom had the map at hand. Now I knew for certain Dad was stumped. We were lost.

Mom gestured wildly towards a road of which had been layered by construction. I sighed, pushing the arms of my jumper up to my shoulders, for apparently Tønsberg had chosen right now the perfect time to convert to sweltering hotness. Dad took charge once more, and we trudged up a steep slope; the likes of which wasn’t smothered by construction, until we halted abruptly at the face of an ivory cottage.

I inhaled sharply as Dad trotted towards a gap between the greenery that sat conveniently alongside the ivory cottage, though if the fact it was somebody’s backyard wasn’t tangible enough, a clothes wrack stood embedded into the earth; although Dad walked on nevertheless.

One by one family trickled away after Dad until I remained. Shortly after the mass of green had engulfed the single remaining family member that had been in eyesight, I sighed as I succumbed, and plunged into the forest.

I sighed as I succumbed, and plunged into the forest.

Mom nearly scoffed at every step we had taken, for apparently she had what was considered experience in these type of things; although I’d hardly call what we were taking “steps”, or rather more of a earthy embrace.

Finally we had made it out, although to my dirty distress my knees were caked in soil, coincidentally on the same day I had decided to start anew in the pant department.

Face to face with the famous fortress. Excitement sparked in my belly, although I feel as if it was partially due to the tarnished trauma it had taken to get there, although of course, the history behind it too. Though the view!! A large lake occupied the dip between hills; calm as well as comforting. Despite the fact that winter was far ahead of us, a layer of glass seemed to plaster the surface, tingling my toes with the urge to sprint onto the sheen surface. The lush grass immersed my legs at every step, though I took care of the fanciful flowers. Wind whipped my face, kissing my cheeks pink.

Face to face with the famous fortress. Excitement sparked in my belly, although I feel as if it was partially due to the tarnished trauma it had taken to get there,
Though the view!! A large lake occupied the dip between hills; calm as well as comforting.

We stopped by a cafe on the way back down, the original request of ice-cream quickly morphing to a numerous amount of items once hungry eyes were unsheathed. Shortly after a flurry of lip smacking and chomps we made our way to the port, although once the fact that certain items remained sinkable was made clear, I wasn’t as quick to dive in.

The ride back was a sad one, though it had been perfect for pondering. Reflection was inevitable by the time we’d be home, so I might as well ponder. Tønsberg was beautiful, and it had been such an eventful trip it’d be hard to form the right words. Once again I had fallen for another bit of the Norway I had come to treasure.

One thing was for sure, I definitely had a lot to write.

COUNTRY 29: Slovakia, Little Big Country

“The way you call into the mountains is the way the echo will sound. “ – Slovak Proverb



Uummm, what’s  that body of water surrounding this country? None? Really? A landlock country… is definitely something new for our family. We had lived in a peninsula country for quite quite some time now. A little drive away from home will lead us to the Arabian Gulf. Don’t get us started on our archipelago, dearly beloved Philippines. 

Back to Slovakia… little big country surrounded by countries! It’s fantastic in a different sense. Two hours away from Vienna, Austria, ta da, Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. 
It’s like exploring a different world passing through the magic closet (yeah, like Narnia.)  
 Churches, museum, shops and Dr. Seuss House (not really but our hostel accommodation), our two days in the  country is satisfying to say the least. 

These traveling kids see our City Tour in different perspective.. education should be customized, travel with kids should b specialized to the kids need as well… You can almost see the traveling dad rolls his eyes at this! 😂

Waking up in an ambiance of medieval city, we definitely had a fun time going around the city, checking out monuments and restaurants alike. 

Bratislava is kid friendly capital city. Although, we never really see that many kids. Really.

A picture says a thousand words, yes, but the conversations our family had during our family travels will be treasured by all members of the family. 

Enjoying Bratislava Castle and Danube River

As if our days in Bratislava couldn’t get any perfect… we present you, bookstores and street art!

If we see a good library or bookstore in any city, we’re stuck for sometime for sure — this bookstore in Bratislava definitely would have made it to top 1 if are more stories about the country

Bratislava can easily have been a day trip from Vienna or Budapest. But hey, not for our family. There are lots of see, lots of discussion to make. It’s that Little Big Country. 

COUNTRY 26: Lithuania, Real is Beautiful 

Dogs cannot make dreams come true — people must do that. – Lithuanian Proverb

Well, we’ll, well.. Our  traveling family has a dog. We kind of know that our dog didn’t make us travel to a lot of awesome countries and made us realize our travel goals.  We are avid advocate of the necessity of goal setting. Set goals. Live the life you imagined. 

We’re glad to have made it to Lithuania. Positively surprising, this country indeed is. We visited two cities, Vilnius (the capital city) and Kaunas. We walked around these cities and for whatever reasons, the kids were very playful and carefree.  Even the traveling parents has lots of time for romance, in between churches, museums and monuments. 

Full Day City Tour in Vilnius means kids playing half the time!
We celebrated our youngest traveller’s 5th birthday in a very petite  ice cream and cake shop. 

She celebrated her 5th birthday in Lithuania 🇱🇹! She says this a lot 😕
Basketball and Trampoline, that’s a great way to celebrate 5th birthday, right?
Of course, we had fun exploring a new city for another year of our little explorer’s adventures. 
Read books and drink coffee. Those words are music to our ears when we had a long day exploring. The locals and residents are still heavy on reading in this country, cafes are so beautiful to observe and to just relax and enjoy a good cup of coffee and books. We took with us a lot of books home, too. 
Beautiful City, Books and Coffee

Exploring another city in Lithuania, Kaunas is the second-largest city, former citadel of Russian Empire, temporary capital of Lithuania during the interwar period, point of intersection of all main roads. In addition to all historic infrastructure, plazas and monuments, the  landscape is magnificent. 

Kaunas is seriously gorgeous!
Walking around Kaunas, there were a lot of stops to appreciate the landscape
Oh, the Ant and the Grasshopper story, it may look like. But did you know that Vladislavas Starevicius is the first to creat masterpieces in puppet animation?! She learned that while eating a bag of fresh strawberries we got for less than a euro.
If this country is a person, Lithuania is beautiful inside and outside. Do you agree? 




COUNTRY 25: Latvia, Best Enjoyed Slowly…(Or Quick and Dreamy!) 

Promised berries will not fill the basket.- Latvian Proverb

 

There are no promises for  family satisfaction. Only commitment and lots of goal setting. In this case, plans how to get berries to fill our basket! It’s either we want baskets full of berries or not. No half hearted berry lover, right! 

There is however, best way to enjoy life… Slowly or quick and dirty… hoops, family blog… uhhmm quick and dreamy! 

With this in mind, Latvia! A very musical, creative, artistic, spectacularly cold country. 
First.. enjoy slowly. Get to know the country. 

Latvia is a not-so-big  country by the  the Baltic Sea . Come on, check it out. It’s really a country! Oh the occupation regimes seems endless… In early times, it was occupied by Balts, and was later ruled by Vikings, Germans, Poland, Sweden, and Russia. It only became an independent country in 1918.  (Corrected by our favorite Rebel Travel Family from Latvia, so this should be accurate. – Advanced Happy 100 Years of Independence, Latvia! Exciting year ahead.)  That’s barely like a person who discovered traveling to new places  and enjoying new found freedom after series of boarding schools after schools after school after 8-to-5 corporate slavery. 

A slow taste of Latvia and you’ll definitely crave for more (oh please stop me with the innuendos!)

We stayed in Riga, the capital city, for ten days. Our eldest traveller stayed with a host family for a Youth Choir trip while we stayed in the heart of the Old Town of Riga. She had a lot of fun with her host family she didn’t want to leave. They are all so musically inclined, something missing from her real family. We were sure that if they offered her to stay for a longer time even after the scheduled choir concerts, she would have said stayed. Sending all gratitude and love to  this fantastic Latvian family 

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

We didn’t see nor appreciate how green the city was. We visited March, beginning of spring. Hence, our desire to go back during summer season. Another wish list in our growing travel to do list with family. 
We did however stayed indoors a lot a experienced a taste of Riga, literally and figuratively. 
 

The Riga Music School…where we left our eldest musically inclined traveler with fellow musicians and off she goes on her own for a week or so…
These kids are just happy being in churches. This one though, St. Peter’s Cathedral, we attended the service :: her choir sang during the service!
Overlooking the magnificent view of Riga Old Town are 4.1 million books in 50 languages, that’s the National Library of Latvia! Hey, a culture nurturing books and reading books, we’re hooked!
We always make it a point to visit the local market when we visit a new country or a new places. Like tourist attractions, there are lots to learn about markets and local products. Plus, cheaper and fresher home cooked meals! #RigaCentralMarket is located at the center of Riga and is the largest and, duh, #centralmarket 😀which is also one of the largest in Europe and probably the most advanced market in the world. Imagine, it’s built with the German army aircraft hangars. This food specialist dad and the quality assurance mom agrees! The experience is really one of the kind, the wet market is not very dry… in a great way! ❤️
The Railway Bridge, the bridge across #riverdaugava, inaugurated 1914 and illuminated since 2007 with two modes, normal and holidays. Daily illumination at night time is blue lights, during holiday is blue and white lights! But hey, we wouldn’t know! We only see bridges daytime, before kids bedtime. 🤣 . .
We need houses as we need clothes, architecture stimulates fashion. It’s like hunger and thirst — you need them both. – Karl Lagerfeld Art and architecture immersion in Art Nouveau District, #riga the second time around is more love! ❤️

The more we stay in Latvia, the more we were hooked. Off we got on the trains and enjoyed this super affordable public transportation. 

Oh the places we’ve been around Latvia

Out of Riga, maybe our quick and dreamy version of Latvia. We head on to Jumarla for three days to freeze our beautiful .. faces.. by the Baltic Sea. Such a shame we didn’t get to swim and see the beach crowded with hot bodies. There still saw  lot of tourists walking by the beach.

 

It won’t be our #turknoy #familyadventure if we don’t include a visit to the beach soaked in rain in freezing temperature. 😘🤣 Hello Baltic Sea!
There was really no one in the streets of #Kemeri when we visited. And we took a picture of their attraction – The water tank! It was a fun walk with the family in the cold in a very quiet village. Priceless! ❤️
 
We took more trains and visited more quiet towns, we have enjoyed the serenity and silence of empty streets.  The kids definitely has their share of echoing screams. We felt like we were in the opening credits of a country movie, eerie silence, solitude. We’ll, it was fun, cold experience. 

Oh the food, wine, cheese and coffee! Let’s not elaborate on that in this blog or we might go booking a ticket to Latvia for a hot wine and salmon. We ate a lot of meat, too. It might be not politically correct to post photos of them, you know…. pork. 

Culinary Journey for all types of senses – burp!

No matter how you travel Latvia or any country in particular , slow or quick, night or day, fast food or fine dining, herbivore or carnivore, medium rare or well done, train or bus, music or story, travel it your own unique busy way! Just be  alive. Let’s be busy being alive



Have you been to Latvia with kids? 

COUNTRY 23: Finland and Dreams!

“Happiness does not come from happiness itself, but from the journey towards achieving it.” – Finnish Proverb 


Our gateway to Eastern Europe from Middle East  is Helsinki, Finland. Making Finland, our 23rd country to explore as family.  If you know our family up close and really personal (which will be the case if you read all our blogs because that’s really us! – read on! ), then you’ll know that NO. 23 is a huge life sign for us. Not in a Michael Jordan kind of way. But that huge and enormous impact. We guarantee, that Finland will play part of our family life’s future. We’ll do all efforts, of course, and God wills will pay the wave. Anyway, we are a happy bunch because we are loving our journey. 

That moment we landed in Helsinki… it’s like taking a huge breathe of fresh air! Inhale, exhale. We felt we were home in a strange land. Actially, we always feel at ease in Scandinavia countries like Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Although some geography experts will claim that Finland is not part of Scandinavian Region. Oh well, either way, these countries are our true north. (Literally and figuratively!) 

When in Helsinki, do what the city statues do

Unique Christian churches, busy people going on their business, convenient transportation system, artistic places everywhere and of course, playground of big and small kids abound. 

WHAT WE BELIEVE : Faith is personal, religion optional. Prayer is between us and God and very private, place of worship is communal – we just love this place!

We stayed in memorable accommodations  in this capital city – cabin by the sea and an apartment owned by an awesome artist. You know those phrases we, as  traveling parents often say during our holidays, became more surreal —-“People live this way?! Day in and day out? What a spectacular way to live.” Of course, the optimistic family family members will rave and say with conviction – We can live like this, too!”  

Cabin by the sea in the forest close to the city! Hhhmmmmm blissful family bonding
Our second apartment in Helsinki where we stayed is homey and artsy! Very! 💞
 
With  this energy and vibes, we started the first day of spring with the biggest bon fire our family has ever seen! And yes, spring coincided with Easter festivities, oh what fun.  Easter bonfires in Seurasaari is a Finnish Tradition during Holy Saturdays . According to Finnish folklore, evil spirits, witches and trolls are particularly busy on that day and bonfires are believed to scare them away. 

For our family, this actually  makes sense more than Easter bunnies, don’t you think? Since Jesus Christ is yet to rise, the Black Saturday is like a fun day for evil spirits, hence, bonfires can help! That’s how our family interpret this tradition. Anyhow, it’s really cool to witness world traditions  especially one that we can relate to. 

We are the Mom and Dad on fire with the desire to live life with kids 😄👍
Experience over things. Rationale over traditions
Another highlot of our Finland adventure will be life’s celebrations! I ur eldest kid traveller celebrated her 11th birthday in Helsinki at Linnanmaki, an amusement park we enjoyed way better than Disneyland. 
Traveling with 11-year old little lady! That’s a load of leadership there!

Oh yes, she’s feisty , courageous,  determined, gorgeous, visionary  and eleven! Her talents, wits, beauty and brain will sure change the world we live in. What better way to celebrate this by pumping the adrelin with adventure and sugar in a very metropolitan city? 
We definitely made family memories in this country. True to our vision of living up to the uniqueness and individuality of our family members, up to paving our own family trails. It’s just really fantastic exploring a new place while kids grow… by age and by number of countries visited. 
The strongest survives, and the most adaptable to change, THRIVES! Let’s keep traveling ❤️

Dr.Seuss’ House in Bratislava

“Why fit in when  you were  born  to stand  out? ‘ –  Dr.Seuss  

Oh  the places we find together, we even managed to find Dr.Seuss House!  Or  at least, that’s what  we call Hotel Galeria! A unique hotel very close to  the  Main Train Station in Bratislava, Slovakia (our 29th Country! )

Look, what our Little Lady Backpacker ran into while exploring Eastern Europe ❤️Congratulations, today is YOUR day!!

The facade of  the Hotel Galeria is full of colors, screaming for  admiration. The irregular shape and architecture is quite  pleasing to watch from  afar, much more in a closer view. 
This is the hotel lobby! Don’t you just love all the colors?!

The view from the inside  of the hotel also  never disappoints. The lobby looks like an artist hard-at-work and all wall and table covers look like abstract colorful painting!
Her bed and the colors! Including colorful towels. What a wonderful way to introduce the kids to backpacking in Europe 💞
This is not a sponsored post. We were just in awe having to experience a hotel like this that our eldest traveller described the hotel in her IG account as “one of the best hotels she has stayed at.” We book our hotel reservation one day before heading to Slovakia from Hungary.  It was  a reasonable rate for a 2-star hotel. 
Yes, it’s a 2-star hotel. We could recommend a lot of improvements on facilities, yes, but we always get what we paid for, right? With this hotel, plus lots of color, art and good customer service! 
Waking up to art in Hotel Galeria ❤️

What would you do when you see this Hotel? Do you dare check in? Would you? 😊

Hoops, the name of the hotel is Hotel Galleria. However, this hotel will always be  Dr. Seuss House for our family. It’s a really unique concept worth benchmarking anywhere. Don’t you agree?