Bygdøy is a peninsula which is home to many of Oslo’s most popular and interesting museums. We caught a ferry across and headed straight to the Viking Ship Museum first.
The Viking ship museum contains 3 intact (mostly) Viking ships dating from the 9th & 10th centuries. These ships had been used as burial ships. The dead were placed in burial chambers on the ship and then the ships were buried. Many artifacts were buried with them for their use in the afterlife – food & drink, animals, furniture, carts, cooking tools etc. Because of the nature of the soil in which they were buried these ships and their contents are remarkably well preserved. Just fascinating & spine-tingling.
The Norwegian Folk Museum is a different kind of museum. Founded by the King of Norway in 1882 (making it the oldest museum of this kind in the world) it is a collection of around 150 traditional buildings from all over Norway, reassembled in a lovely park-like setting. The highlight is the Stave Church (a church of a type built in Norway from the 11th to the 13th century, the walls of which were constructed of upright planks or “staves”) but the cottages, farmhouses, schools and more provided an interesting insight into Norwegian heritage.
The next stop was the Fram Museum. To be honest I had low expectations of a museum about a polar exploration ship but it was terrific. There are two ships on display – the Fram and the Gjøa. The Gjøa was the first ship to sail through the Northwest Passage, and the Fram travelled to both the Arctic and Antarctic, and took Roald Amundsen to the South Pole. You can explore both ships and imagine the life these explorers endured on their long journeys.