Our plane touched down in Oslo around 10am Norway time. After dropping off our bags at the Airbnb, we headed straight over to City Hall for a tour with our delightfully nerdy tour guide. It's a beautiful old building where, along with other official State business, the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is held. Do you see that long bench along the wall on the ground floor? We fell asleep smack in the middle of that bench for an hour and awoke to literally no one else on the bench and a large tour group standing directly in front of us. So that happened.
We then hopped on the tram to get to The Vigeland Park which is the world's largest sculpture park. It's stunningly beautiful. So very green, with flowers everywhere and some very impressive fountains. The sculpture artist, Gustav Vigeland, was obviously very talented but perhaps a bit disturbed. Exhibit A (and my favorite)...
I mean, it takes some strong feelings to want to punt a baby...and then to memorialize those feelings for all eternity, yikes. Here are some other pictures of the park.
Notwithstanding the above sculpture, one very obvious characteristic of this society is the focus on family. Mothers get a full year of maternity leave with 80% of their original pay, and fathers are expected to take two months paternity leave. Within the first few minutes of walking around the city, we saw several individual fathers pushing strollers around with no women in sight. How refreshing! We even saw a group of fathers and their baby strollers. We also noticed many families with four or five little kids. It's basically free to have and raise children here, so why not? Overall, the people seem quite happy and balanced. Everything is so incredibly clean, efficient, and friendly that we would consider moving if not for the harsh winters. Well, it's midnight here and still light outside, but we're going to try to get some sleep.