After the morning wandering and exploring Beamish we drove approximately 30 miles to visit Chesters Fort (LINK) a part of Hadrian’s Wall (LINK). Driving along beautiful countryside we had to have the car disinfected for Foot and Mouth. Arriving at the fort we visited the museum to learn the history of the wall and fort, then walked through disinfecting mats for our short walk to the fort.
Back in 2001 it was decided to visit England, Scotland and Wales and to delve into the history, architecture and culture of the country. What we discovered was an excellent way to do this, Living Outdoor Museums. This was the first Living Open-Air museum that I had ever visited and it started a search for additional ones during all future travels in the USA and Europe. Visiting one gives you the experience and a real sense of the past as you discover what life was like. Within the different buildings there usually are actors in period dress demonstrating the daily life of the time being depicted, while answering questions you might have and explaining what it was like living in those times.
On a fateful August morning in 79 AD Pompeii (LINK), a Roman town-city near modern Naples, was totally destroyed and buried under a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius (LINK) killing around 3,000 people as the rest of the population had already fled before the eruption. A flood of ash and protoplasmic heated air rained down on the town for approximately 6 hours completely burying the town and its inhabitants in up to twelve layers of ash and debris up to 82 feet (25 meters) deep.
“Knowledge is learned but wisdom must be lived” – Anne Wilson Schaef
Travel philosophy ~ But of course, to plan an unbelievably memorable adventure that can be cherished in your minds and shared.
THE GOAL is to travel locally; to see the culture, history, architecture and art; to meet wonderful new people from all walks of life and countries while trying to stay mostly in private homes or home based B&B’s and camping when a convenient room cannot be found, if equipped. If a hotel is the only place available try to stay in small family run hotels. What better way to learn about your host country and their culture than to meet and stay with the people and see how they live? Learn to live and think locally, enjoy the new experiences. Respect the cultural and leave your dogma at home, relish in the differences. I live with Americans every day but when traveling I like to be with the people of that particular country. Try to travel with a small group or even individually, as people will be more open toward you rather than if you are in a large tour group.
“We have arrogantly assumed that our way of living is better when we have not experienced, known and/or participated in other ways of living, Sometimes what we learn from other people and cultures doesn’t have to be political or spiritual. It can be something that is just good to do. – Anne Wilson Schaef
This morning we dock in Alesund, Norway a municipality founded in 1838 consisting of a population of 45,033 surronded by fjords and the high peaks of the Sunnmor Alps. Alesund is the most important fishing harbor in Norway and was destroyed by fire in 1904, luckily only 1 person was killed but 10,000 were left homeless. The buildings of the town center were rebuilt in the Art Nouveau Style between 1904 and 1908. We plan to use the 10 stop Hop-on-Hop-Off bus that circles the town which gives us 24-hour transport with commentary.
Upon reaching the mountain top stop at Fjellstua we get off the bus to view the town below us and appraise the menu of the restaurant that serves basic local dishes. Still full from breakfast we skip buying anything and just enjoy the view. It is decided we shall tackle the steep 418 steps back down to the town ending in Parken Kolturhus. Thank goodness we did not come up them, it is very steep and the steps are all at differing heights (from ankle to knee height).
Reaching sea level again we jump back on the Hop on Hop off bus at the Rica Parken Hotel and get off at the Art Nouveau City Center to walk around town enjoying the architecture and end at the Alesund Kirke (Church). The church was closed but it was a magnificent marble clad building, I can only imagine how nice it was inside.
The ship is leaving Alesund in the late afternoon so we will get a lot of scenic vistas as we wind our way through the numerous fjords on our way to tomorrows stop at the small town of Geiranger, Norway.
After we finish exploring Akershus Fortress we take the T-Bane over to the Vigeland Museum. This museum was the workplace and home to Gustav Vigeland, a Norwegian artist who negotiated free rent on this space for the future rights to his work with the government. This building houses his sculptures, woodcarvings, models, drawings, sketches and photographs of the artist through his years of work. His interesting sculptures are very modern and surreal which made for an interesting and thought provoking visit.
Vigeland was born in 1869 to a family of craftsmen and also designed the Nobel Peace Prize Medal. Vigeland moved to his new studio in Frogner Borough during 1924. His studio was located in the vicinity of Frogner Park, which he had chosen as the definitive location for his fountain. Over the following twenty years, Vigeland was devoted to the project of an open exhibition of his works, which later turned into the Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement in Frogner Park.
Right across the street from the museum is Frogner Park with the Vigeland Outdoor Sculpture Area. We first stop at a corner 7-11 and pickup hot dogs, chips and drinks for a lunch in the park as not much else was open during the holiday. We join the thousands of other people enjoying the sunny holiday in the park while eating our picnic lunch. Frogner Park is the largest park in Oslo occupying a former manor house grounds of 80 acres. The park includes the Manor House and Vigeland Sculptural Exhibition area which houses 212 of his bronze and granite sculptures. There is no way we would be able to walk the entire park so we concentrate on the area between the museum, the Monolith Plateau, the Fountain and the Bridge which showcases Vigeland’s sculptures. What an enjoyable time exploring these sculptures and the park grounds. We cross the bridge, head to the T-Bane stop at the Main Gate on Kirkeveien and head back to our apartment after a glorious afternoon of walking. This was the most crowded we saw the T-Bane during our time here and we had to wait for 2 trolleys before we were able board. Everyone was outside enjoying the weather and visiting with family and friends.
Such a wonderful day, Vigeland sculptures belong in a park. They are larger than life and make your mind explore the meaning behind them. A park for an afternoon stroll and picnic lunch in the beautiful sunshine.