Frogner Park (Frognerparken) is on the west side
of Oslo and contains a large park with a museum, sculpture garden, baths,
foundtain, large manor house, as well as trees and grassy areas, perfect
for a picnic.
Funny thing about the picnic. I'd expect to see ants at a picnic since, well, that's basically their job, and they're no slackers. Yet there were no ants at our picnic. I just sort of assumed that ones yet one more area in which the Norwegians, or maybe Europe, or hell, everyone somehow, magically, is better than the US. And maybe that's the case, but there were no ants. We then took a tour of the statue park (described a bit further on down), and I left everything except my camera. Then we came back, packed up, and eventually took a cable car back to downtown and the apartment where we were staying (this is after spending an hour walking downtown and to the Opera House, described in the Downtown Oslo web page).
We did some stuff, like put away some leftover food, made some plans for what we wanted to do for dinner. Eventually I put on my shoes (note: people generally do not wear shoes in Norwegian households—we wanted to make sure we followed the rules and didn't get the apartment dirty) and my fleece jacket and got ready to go.
That's when Faith noticed an ant on the floor in the front hallway.
It was quickly dispatched. No problem. Except there was a second one. And then I spotted a third. What the hell?
We killed them. Then there were another few. They were also slaughtered. We did another check on the dark wooden floor and spotted a few more. Plus one on the wall. Damn it!
Fine. Smoosh, smoosh, smoosh. Faith was making a pile of them so that we could clean them up once when we were done. It was weird, fucking weird. How did that many ants get into the apartment?
It started to dawn in my brain that we must have brought them in, because the apartment was rather immaculate. Another part of my brain was starting to get concerned that 10-20 ants might be considered a bad sign. I just wanted to go to dinner and stop with the ant massacre. And at this point, I was seeing ants where there were no ants. I was seeing things move out of the corner of my eye. On the floor, in the shadows, on the wall. I could even feel them around me. Or crawling on me.
I had a brief, momentary freak-out where I took off my jacket and dropped it to the ground. I did a quick check but there were no ants on me. I figured I was just letting things get to me a bit.
Faith was slowing down on the ant killing. She had accumulated a couple piles of dead ants and was verifying there were no more on the floor. Since it was winding down, I picked up my jacket and looked down at the floor with a few piles of dead ants and no more moving around.
Then an odd thought struck me. I should make sure that there weren't any ants in my jacket since I had it on the floor for the last 30 seconds. But it was more of a statement, a command, than any real deep analysis. The thought was: shake the jacket. So I did. Then I looked down and saw 5 ants crawling on the floor.
Awwwww...fuck. We were just finishing this annoying business and there were some that had gotten into my jacket. Fine. We killed them.
Then I shook it again.
And there were more on the floor.
After squashing them, I shook it again.
And there were more fucking Norwegian ants on the fucking Norwegian wood floor. What the hell?
I shook it again and more ants.
Somehow my jacket was producing ants.
I said something to Faith. Probably something coherent like "ants!" Then I shook my jacket and produced more ants.
I think I had to demostrate the jacket's new-found ability a couple more times before Faith believed in its ant-generating magic. It was a Fleece Horn of Plenty (of Ants).
I tried to figure out where they were coming from. I pulled out the thin gloves in the pocket and shook them and there were like a dozen or so more ants now moving on the floor.
This continued for a while until at some point I said to Faith that I no longer cared and just wanted to get something to eat.
So we left things as they were, had dinner and returned afterwards. And we checked on the magic ant-producing fleece jacket and gloves. It produced only 3-4 ants this time. So its battery, gas tank, or whatever was running down. At dinner, I had had time to think about things and came to the conclusion that during the ant-free picnic and the half hour or so we were looking at the statues, all the ants in Norway were crawling into my jacket, to move into my gloves, which in no way resembled sugar. Somehow my jacket became some weird pied fucking piper that attracted insects instead of rats (this was probably for the best).
There was only one choice to bring this to an end, especially since we did not want to infest the apartment and we were flying out of Norway the next morning. I threw my rain jacket, fleece jacket, and glove liners into the high-efficiency European washing machine in the apartment. Suffice to say it took way, way too long for it to spin the load dry because first, we hadn't explicitly set it so it would run a spin cycle, and second, there was so few items in it that it was hard for it to get it balanced (but eventually it did and then it started roaring like a jet engine as it spun to to takeoff thrust). But apparently the 1.5 - 2 hours it took was enough to finally vanquish the ants. I had checked my backpack where the jackets had been for the hour after the picnic, but apparently the ants preferred the gloves.
So eventually we got rid of them, got things dried, cleaned up the piles of dead ants, and were able to move on.
We did get a note from the apartment's owner saying that we left the apartment very clean (because we fucking polished her floor with the blood of over 100 ants), so apparently we did get them all. And there were none after that that appeared back in the US, so the European washing machine did the trick.
Anyway, it was a nice picnic, even if my jacket and gloves became became an ant vacuum cleaner. They were all quite clean after that. And the Norwegian ants were polite.
So yeah...picnic pictures below.
The Vigeland Park (or Vigeland installation)
is the largest sculpture park of works by a single artist. Created by
Gustav Vigeland, mostly between 1939-1949, who also created the design
of the Noebel Peace Prize Medal (the back has 3 naked dudes, arms on
each others shoulders grooving on peace and brotherhood). The park is
850 meters long (about half a mile). Over 200 sculptures are there
in bronze, granite and wrought iron. Five units contain most of
the works: The Bridge (with the Children's playground),
the Fountain, the Monolith Plateau, and the Wheel of Life.
The last of which we didn't visit.
The Bridge contains sculptures of people relating to one another.
After the Bridge is the Fountain, and surrounding the Fountain is a tile labyrinth. Kai said it can take an hour to talk, so we didn't spend too much time there.
While it's true that "Allstory" is not an actual word per se, it seems to fit the description as well as Germanic ethic of smooshed-together-non-hyphenated überwords. At the center of the fountain stands 4 statues holding up the dish where the water originates. Alone the edges are bronze sculptures of trees with people in them, and surrounding the 4 edges of the fountain are pictures depicting the story of human life, and its many paths, and the cycle of it all. The trees amplify the stories shown along the edge of the fountain. It's cool and thought provoking.
Eight gates surround the Monolith Plateau. Each gate depicts man in all ages in wrought iron.
The monolith is informally referred to (at least by one Norwegian) as "The Troll's Dildo". It contains 121 figures and is 14.12 meters (46 feet) high. In theory, it's an upbeat work depicting man's desire to reach towards the heavens (while naked along with a hundred of man's new best friends).