This entry begins a series of blog entries on my Lindblad Expedition on the National Geographic Explorer. I was honored to be on this ship because I was selected as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow! I arrived in Oslo a few days before the expedition started. The first day of the official expedition included a guided tour of the city of Oslo, Norway. There we overnighted before a 3 hour charter flight would take us to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway – where the National Geographic Explorer awaited our arrival! This series is posted on a 2-week delay, due to limited internet in the Arctic.
Oslo, Norway is a city connected to nature. This was clear as I interacted with this capital city’s residents, museums, and walkways. Olso is easy to navigate and even to walk from one end of the city to the next, naturally putting its residents outside more. A local told me that the city is designed so that trees are visible from most street intersections. 60-70% of the city is forest with parks both in the city and along its perimeter. My wonderful hostess, Bianca de Laurentis Cardoso, has lived in Oslo for 8 years. After living in many other countries, she told me her favorite thing about Oslo, Norway is that she “feels so free in a place where (she) can walk anywhere- for fun or necessity, and not really need a car.” Several of Oslo’s museums and monuments connect to the environment (remember my blog entries about the king’s palace’s garden and the Norsk Folkemuseum’s exhibit on the Sami’s connection to reindeer). On the official “Day 1” of the expedition we first toured the Vigeland Sculpture Park.
Here, visitors can stroll among hundreds of sculptures outdoors anytime; it’s open 24/7! Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic then took us to the Polar Fram Museum – which actually houses the strongest and original polar vessel ship, named Fram. The original interior is intact and I walked through all levels of the Fram!
Many Norwegian explorers featured here raced to be the first to navigate polar milestones like the poles and passages! One great way to connect to nature is by exploring it, which this museum teaches the polar explorers’ journeys.
I’m usually not much of a city-goer when I travel, but the nature-lover in me fell in love with Oslo, Norway. It is a great model of a culture that is one with the environment. I may not be roughing it like arctic expeditioners, such as Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup, or Roald Amundsen (who was the first to reach the South Pole), BUT I was inspired by Norwegians today and from the past to approach the Arctic with an explorer’s mindset! Whether it’s in your own backyard, in foreign cities, or in the Arctic – get outside and explore our world!
Next up: My first impressions of the Arctic at Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway!