July 10, 2006

How I spent my summer vacation, installment 2

We are up to Tuesday, the day after I spirited the children away to the Oslo Fjord.

I have a very old, very dear friend who has a Norwegian father and an American mother. We have been close since we were two years old, throwing rocks in a pond together. His father is a retired Norwegian diplomat and his parents are living in Oslo. I have known them forever and I love them. So, going to see them was practically a requirement. Off we went, just me and the kids as, once again, the Viking Bride was laid low by the sleep problems of the littlest viking.

Our friends live near Frogner Park (link is to pictures of the Vigeland sculptures there). (more photos here). We didn't go to the park this time. It was raining, off and on and a bit chilly. The only bad day of weather we had the whole trip.

We had a lovely visit with our friends. This was the first time I had seen their apartment since they had renovated it. The apartment was lovely. Huge windows, full of light, generously proportioned with a fireplace in the dining room and the living room. The dining room was banquet sized with an elaborately painted ceiling, original to the building. The rooms all had stunning plaster moldings. High ceilings, hardwood floors, the works. It also had an interesting arrangement I've noticed in other Oslo apartments. The front hall is self contained and differently floored -- tile, I think. It is closed off by doors from the rest of the apartment, which makes sense when you consider the cold winters they endure in Norway.

The building is rather historic, built in 1889 by Henrik Bull (link is to a Norwegian language biography but it does have some nice pictures, partial English langauge bio here), a famous Norwegian architect. I think that this must have been one of Bull's first commissions since: "Henrik Bull etablerte sin egen arkitektpraksis i Kristiania i 1888. . ." Or, he established his own architectural practice in Oslo in 1888. Bull went on to build a lot of well known buildings in Oslo, including the National Theater and the Historical Museum.

It was quite cool to visit a building he designed.

Cool, by the way, being the operative word under the right conditions since the building lacked any central heating system.

After lunch, my sister in law spirited the kids away to see Ice Age II, in Norwegian, while I browsed my way back up the main shopping drag to take the train back to my in-law's house.

It was a lovely afternoon, spent in the company of dear old friends, in a beautiful apartment with an impressive historic pedigree. And they served beer. Really, how much more could you ask for? And before you do, let me note that my friend's mother served homemade lemon ice-cream that the children devoured.

Posted by Random Penseur at July 10, 2006 10:17 AM | TrackBack
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