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Oslo
 
Known as Christiania until 1925, this seafaring city showcases the Norwegian appetite for exploration and adventure. Displayed on the Bygdøy Peninsula are three magnificent Viking longboats, the fragile balsawood Kon-Tiki in which explorer Thor Heyerdahl linked Peru to Polynesia, and Roald Amundsen’s schooner, Fram, used on the 1912 expedition to race Scott to the South Pole. In the heart of Oslo itself, works by prolific artist Edvard Munch are headed by The Scream, Frogner Park is dotted with towering bronze figures entwined like spaghetti, the work of Gustav Vigeland. Other eye-openers include a lively dining scene, headed by Michelin-starred chefs, Akker Brygge’s pierside eateries, and the lively clubs and trendy bars of Grünerløkka.
 
Norway
 
It’s easily forgotten that Norway stretches some 2,500 km north-south with many times that length along the fjord-indented coastline. The northernmost town, Tromsø, is far inside the Arctic Circle and the aboriginal nomadic Sami people still tend their vast herds of reindeer across snowy plains there. Further still, out into the Arctic Ocean, is Svalbard (Spitzbergen) the Norwegian island kingdom of the ice-bear. Cruising the fjords is rapidly increasing in popularity; marvelling at glaciers, watching for whales, admiring incredibly beautiful land and seascapes. Norway has been a Kingdom since the 9th century and a feature of its capital, Oslo, is the Royal Palace – a royal workplace and home that is open to visitors. Norwegians have always been a maritime race (and hence explorers) and Oslo has museums dedicated to Viking ships, Nansen’s polar exploration vessel ‘Fram’ and Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki – there are even city tours by boat. It also has a tempting shopping area and a vibrant nightlife – from which you can emerge into the midnight sun in summer. (Head further north in winter, if it’s bright lights of the Aurora Borealis variety you’re after.)
 

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