Urban nature at Ekeberg Sculpture Park in Oslo

Urban Nature - Ekeberg Sculpture Park #10Ekebergparken can offer installations by international artists, as well as museums, restaurants and a panoramic view of the city. Scattered across 65 acres on a small mountain across the Oslo Fjord from the city, the Sculpture Park includes works by artists that range from Renoir, Botero and Salvador Dalí to Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer and Dan Graham. There are a handful of site-specific works already installed, including a Sky Space by James Turrell, his northernmost to date, which the American artist built into a hillside beneath a newly artificial lake.
We’ve had the loveliest sunny weather this weekend and my wife and I have had some quality time while enjoying the colourful fall scenery on our photo hunt. You’re welcome to join us and enjoy some of the shots – let’s start with a panoramic view of Oslo from this hill area:
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A view of Oslo, the capital of Norway from the hills of Ekebergparken

The hilly area is about the same size as Oslo’s other famous park, Vigelandsparken (The Vigeland Sculpture Park), and is inspired by similar international facilities, such as Louisiana outside Copenhagen, Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands, and Storm King Sculpture Park outside New York.

The collection of sculptures and installations on display in the park was put together by a committee of experts, with the feminine as an initial theme. Let me give you some examples from our photo hunt:
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Left: – “Mother and Child” by Per Ung – Right: “Venus De Milo Aux Tiroirs” by Salvador Dali
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Left: “Venus Victrix” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1914-1916 – Right: “Marilyn” by Richard Hudson

From dilapidated to attraction:
For those for whose impressions of Norway are limited to gravlax, skiing and Edvard Munch, Oslo’s vibrant contemporary art scene, which has been garnering international buzz lately, may still come as some surprise. The latest chapter in the Norwegian capital’s development is this ambitious new Sculpture Park – the passion project of Christian Ringnes, a local real estate tycoon who bought the adjacent Ekeberg Restaurant and donated tens of millions to create a sculpture park. In 2005 he refurbished and reopened Ekeberg-restauranten (the Ekeberg Restaurant), the area’s prime eatery.

The Urban Nature:
The hill area was converted to a park as early as the end of the 19th century, but was left to deteriorate until this property investor on a walk through the park was struck by how neglected and unused it was. I’m happy to report however, that it’s still plenty of room for a quality time in these recreational surroundings:
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– just 10 min from the centre of Oslo – I would say Recreational!

The natural beauty of the park is still part of the attraction and young and old were out enjoying the fall colours. Some of the statues are playfully hidden on the side trails so you have to go looking like a treasure hunt. There is also a nice dog park where both dogs and their people enjoy socialising in the sunny weather.
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Left: An untitled sculpture by Dan Graham – Right: More urban nature : -)

Above you see an unusual sculpture by Dan Graham, and as you can see the viewer becomes a part of the art itself. I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as we did and if you ever get to Oslo don’t miss this experience – just ten minutes by bus or tram from Oslo center.

 

Outdoor Easter Bunny Eggs Hunt

Outdoors Easter Bunny Egg Hunt #C2Our family tradition, hunting for Easter Bunny Eggs, is one of my dearest and may be one of the best examples of recreational outdoor activity in the Norwegian woods. Every year the feeling of anticipation and excitement takes me down the memory lane. You may say I’m a bit childish, but I’m just fine with that and it’s important to get into the right spirit – and of course: you have to love being outdoors too.
The Easter Egg and Bunny or Hare thing dates back to pagan times and is more about fertility and a celebration of spring than recent Christian Easter traditions. Honored in many rite-of-Spring festivals, during the span of history, eggs represented mystery, magic, medicine, food and omen. So it represented the rebirth of the earth – the long, hard winter was over – the earth burst forth and was reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life.

But lets get back to the outdoors hunt and you are welcome to join us around the bonfire as I go on with the story and show some photos:
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Of shore, resting after the Egg hunt at the bonfire.

The hunting is of course the most exciting part and you may wonder how the eggs get there and how we find them. Well, when I was young my dad did it – but since this is something of important passing on to generations: nowadays my sister and I walk a bit ahead, to see if we can find some bunny footprints.
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When we were children, my parents told me they did, so then it had to be true, and it has never been questioned in the family. It’s just the same as Santa brings the gifts of course. People who don’t believe in this have missed out on something important from their childhood I think.
Also I hope you see why this should be an outdoor activity: You have to find the eggs in the Bunny’s natural surroundings! And tell me; what can be more recreational than sitting around a bonfire, smelling spring is in the air, listening to the sounds of birds and eating hotdogs grilled on the bonfire:
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So now I hope you understand the excitement in my Easter anticipation and why it’s so important to me to hold on to this childish, family tradition of believing it is the Easter Bunny who laid the eggs. To sum it up in one collage photo:
Outdoors Easter Bunny Egg Hunt #C1

So here it is – from me to you: A new Easter Egg hunt family tradition for free!

 

Cool winter beach best place to chill

Cool winter beach best place to chill #1All four seasons have their charm and their significant change in Norway makes them even more fascinating. One place to experience the differences during the year is the beach: Hot and inviting to swimming in the water in the summer time – crisp, fresh air and inviting to skiing or skating in the winter time – as well as the golden beauty of fall and the nature waking up from hibernation in spring time. You can’t have it all at one time, but since I have been living for a while and been blogging over the years about the four seasons has made me even more aware and fascinated by this phenomena.
When my wife and I take a long weekend at our vacation home in Sweden, we often go to the beach at sunset for a photo hunt. I gladly take you along and when thinking of sharing it with you, I came up with the idea for the title of this post:

Cool winter beach best place to chill”:
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Let me show you what I mean about the significance change in the seasons with a couple of pics from the same beach at the summer time (click the pics to bigify and enjoy!):
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Like I said, the golden beauty of nature is proven in the fall and of course I have a couple of pics from the same beach illustrating – or what do you think?:
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To sum it up, I made a collage with photos from the Cool beach best place to chill:
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I hope you all can understand why I feel lucky to be able to experience all four seasons, enjoying the beauty of the nature in each one. Outdoor recreation for me is the best way to get in contact with the world around me and recharge my batteries. What about you?

Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway

Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #2This weekend is the big “Get Outdoors Day” in Norway; the Norwegian Tourist Association’s national Outdoors Recreation Sunday – time to get up off the couch! In Oslo, the main event takes place at Sognsvann – a lake up in the mountain/forest 15 minutes from downtown by the tube. The whole idea and main goal is of course to motivate everyone to be more physically active and explore nature in your own neighborhood. The camp at Sognsvann has been held 20 years in a row – I was there with my wife and a friend and gladly invite you along to motivate you too:
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway
This grand event gives everyone in Oslo a good opportunity to use nature in a healthy way. Outdoor activity is good for both physical and mental health. This annual outdoor camp is also of course an important carrier of the tradition of Norwegian leisure culture.
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Sunday was the chance – for children all age – to try climbing, rowing, canoeing, fishing, orienteering, jumping – even skiing – and much, much more – free of charge!
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Skiing and Fishing
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Kiting and Swimming
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Canoeing and Climbing

Quality time with my wife:
I was there, all thanks to my wife. Struggling with my Parkinson – the uninvited guest in my body makes me stiff and hard to get going – it’s always easy to sit back in the couch and feel sorry for myself. However, to head out in the nature and get out of the patient role is the best way to charge my batteries – actually the best medicine too! So my dear Diane; Thanks for inviting me out and to share this nature in a quality time with me!
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The clean, fresh air – the scenery: is there any more recreational?

The summer in Norway is coming to an end but that isn’t the end of outdoor family fun. There are plenty of outdoor activities to do here all year round, and the Norwegian Outdoor Recreation Union does a great job of giving families plenty of inspiration for the seasons to come!

Family from Norway exploring Cinque Terre in Italy

Family from Norway exploring Cinque Terre in Italy #1Cinque Terre (means five lands) consists of 5 tiny villages connected by footpaths and linked by boat, rail, and trail. At the Northwest coast of Italy, they date as far back as the 13th century and sit on the hillsides of that plunge into the Mediterranean Sea. Colorful houses seem to hang on the cliffs. Local churches sound their daily chimes. And the land is terrace farmed for food. Surrounding these five villages is an infinite mosaic of vineyards, olive and lemon groves, and fruited trees. These agricultural plots seem to hang onto the sheer cliffs above the sea. And from these marvelous fields, we receive tangy local wines such as Sciacchetra, purely extracted olive oils, and delightful herbed pesto.
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These five communities discourage auto traffic to preserve the tradition and ecological impact of the area – so they are best reached by train. It has now become a World Heritage Site and a UNESCO National Park. In fact, certain parts of the nearby sea are part of the National Park system as well. And it is the preservation of this area that makes for some clear water scuba diving and snorkeling.
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The agriculture is of main concern here in Cinque Terre. All of the 5 towns and other rural villages are tied to each other in their quest to keep local farming alive. The towns people, like their forefathers, preserve the terraced farms as a means of income and property stability. While some of the farmland has been abandoned and is scrub, most have been passed on from generation-to-generation. They farm mostly wine grapes, olives, pears, and herbs. Each family plot is divided by old, dry-rock, stonewalls, built hundreds of years ago.
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Monterosso al Mare is the most western of the 5 towns and the closest to being a classic beach town of the Italian Riviera. Vernazza, and Corniglia are just a few kilometers down the coastline.

The latter is different from the others because it is situated on a plateau, over 300 feet above sea level, while the others lie next to the Sea. Manarola and Riomaggiore lie on the eastern end. All of the villages are linked by charming cobblestone pathways that make home to local musicians.
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Over centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. The villages are not influenced by modern development, and that simple, original look, combined with pretty colorful houses, arranged one upon another like stairs gives this piece of Ligurian coast a unique charm:
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This is the fifth post from our big family trip; my wife (DianeCA) and I, our children + SO and even my grandchild met up with Diane’s brothers and spouse from the USA. 14 people in all gathering in Pisa at the Park Hotel California, and having the time of our lives enjoying each other’s company, getting better acquainted and exploring this wonderful part of Italy. From my first post: Family from Norway touring Tuscany in Italy, you’ll get an introduction and then you’ll find information and links to my other posts from Pisa, Florence and Sierra.