Two days in Oslo: a grand cafe, moods of Norway and visiting peace

The next day I wandered around on my own but to my dismay, found nothing terribly photo-worthy.

No sweeping panoramas of the fijords, no grand squares or world-reknowned historic monuments. Drat.

I fully intended to visit Vigeland Park and its famous naked statues - over 200 in total - but it's just too bloody cold.

Instead I went back to the harbor to check out the Nobel Peace Center, a museum dedicated to Nobel Peace Prize winners and their works.

Loved their stories. And being indoors.

The entrance is graced with a rather provocative installation.

I'm still trying to decide if I like it or not.

I'm sure there is a ton of fascinating Nordic history here, but to me the most interesting thing about this city was the food, the shopping and the people. Unfortunately my SLR failed to make the cut for the 20-kilo limit on baggage and I can't very well stalk passersby with my little pink Cybershot. Sigh.

So I settled on looking for little pockets of interest and groovy details.

I stumbled across "The Cube" by Bård Breivik, a permanent installation at the University of Oslo.

It's kind of like Oslo's version of the Chicago bean.
Supposedly each of the four sides will be eventually be installed on a wall.

The is something a little disquieting about a total lack of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, in the city center at midday.

Seriously, where is everyone??

Actually, I rather enjoyed the solitude.

That evening we met up with a couple of Andrea's colleagues for dinner at the Grand Cafe (circa 1874), a famous meeting place for writers, artists, academics and diplomats since the days of Henrik Ibsen.

As we took a cozy table by the window and watched the city bustle past, I imagined what it would have been like to eavesdrop on their idle chatter. Brilliant.

The seasonal fall menu featured regional fare themed on classic Norwegian fairy tales. Amazingly, I have no decent photos of our dinner. I will let that be a testament to the goodness of the wines.

The insanely yummy dessert, however, is emblazoned on my palate...

Praline caramel mousse served with apple jelly and cake crumbs.
I die.

Everything was so delicious we asked the chef to come out so we could thank him personally. I worked up the nerve to ask him about the preparations, but he only smiled and said if I wanted to know I'd have to work in the kitchen. I guess I'll have to wing it.

The reindeer isn't likely to appear on the recipe index, but the beetroot butter and caramel praline mousse are definite must-try's this season so stay tuned...

After dinner we retreated to the Theater Cafe for a glass of port.

And a few more silly snaps before bed.

Next time we visit Norway we’ll definitely do more of a nature trip, but we really enjoyed Oslo and would love to come back when we have more time.

Tomorrow we're off to Helsinki!

Nite Nite.

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