Tag Archives: statues

Norway, Oslo and Sandefjord

Spent a couple of days in Norway on the cruise. First stop was Oslo which I visited with Emma a few years ago and where the lovely Anne showed us all the sites. We docked in front of the impressive Opera House on the water – lovely day and night.

It looks like the weather over this cruise is going to be gray and wet and it was gray but not raining in Oslo so I decided to walk to the Contemporary Art Museum (the Aston Feanley Museum) in the Frogner area that Emma and I stayed at when we visited. It it is a funky part of town on the waterfront (as all bits of Oslo are) with cool hotels and apartments and dozens of eateries and some shops of course. In fact it is a cool 😎 city all round.

Oslo is always full of statues – mostly of nude women it would seem (?) although I liked the man sticking out of the side of the wall at the Museum.

The Aston Feanley was designed by Renzo Piano and like many places exhibiting this kind of art, the building is sometimes more attractive than the contents.

There was a large Damien Hirst collection (I am not a fan – the circular ones are his and resemble my old spirograph toy. I declined to add in the formaldehyde cow and calf but it is there) but I did quite like the abstracts by Olav Christopher Jenssen and the Jeff Koons’ gold lamé Michael Jackson and his monkey was a hoot.

Our second stop was the delightful town of Sandefjord – once the whaling capital of Norway and also a spa town where the wealthy when for treatments – especially rheumatoid arthritis. One of the treatments offered was listed as jelly fish (maybe a natural electric shock???).

The centre of town has a magnificent statue that shows the whalers on a time boat on the tip of a whale’s tail. It rotates fully very slowly every hours. And round the statue are carvings of the whaling process.

The old lady was a well known character who fished locally every morning to earn a living and she seems to have been much loved. The children’s statue is for Norway’s National Day – this is a country that only celebrates its national day with a kids parade and flags and music. No tanks, marching or military. What a civilised place this is.

We then popped into the local fish market – which had an array of pickled herring – which I love – to gravad lax and all sorts of fish which I didn’t recognise – the spotted one is a wolf fish.

The old town of Sandefjord has perfectly restored houses which are so well kept and loved. Even in the rain they looked so cute.

Back in 2015 there was a large street art festival here with artists from all over the world – here I some of the work that still remains.

As usual – Norway is a big hit with me.

North Macedonia, Skopje (my 108th country) – they like to build big stuff here (and I mean big)

Well my guide book described Skopje as “bonkers” which I thought was a bit tough until I got here. It is indeed bonkers but in a kind of Disney meets Soviet meets Europe meets “Honey I shrunk the kids”.

As you walk around Skopje – which is quite small – you come across statues and massive buildings at every turn – really at every turn. Most were built in the past 10 years and don’t serve much purpose except, as I understand it, as a form of building national pride in what is still a very new country, although a very old civilisation (this is where Alexander the Great hails from, allegedly). At first you don’t know what to make of it and then it becomes quite entertaining to see if you can walk for more than a minute without spotting a new fountain or statue or massive building or funky bridge- you can’t. I’m beginning to quite like it!

Here’s what I mean and check out the people in some of the photos (actually there are not that many people around in this city) to get an idea of scale

The central square fountain – almost competes with Bellagio in Vegas

That’s my Marriott Hotel at the top – they are not usually quite so fancy. Also, is that the Arc de Triomphe?

Not sure who these folk are but I wouldn’t mess with them.

The stone bridge, the mother and child fountain and another bridge with lots of famous North Macedonian writers leading to the Archaealogical Museum – whose inside is much tinier than its outside!

Behind the stone bridge is the old citadel of Skopje. And another bridge with famous Macedonians

Sometimes you come across some smaller pieces along the street that are quite sweet. The singers outside the Bank – maybe singing “buddy can you spare me a dime”? And the so-called “glitzy girl”

Some of my favourite smaller sculptures in Skopje

And they are still building like crazy – see below