We arrived on Friday afternoon and dropped our bags at our airbnb apartment before heading to Frogner Park.(That sounds like it was easy to do, but it wasn't! It involved a $60 bus ride from the airport, followed by a long walk to a subway station, where we paid about $50 for a 24 hour transit pass, followed by another long walk. Thankfully the days are long in Norway at the end of May.)
Frogner Park is filled with sculptures made by Gustav Vigeland. He made a deal with the government in the 1920s that if they would give him a posh studio and place to live, he would spend his career beautifying this public space. He generally sculpted out of clay and then cast in bronze, or utilized a group of stone carvers to create the finished products. The fountain pictured above shows men metaphorically bearing the burden that holds the source of life- water. All around the fountain are trees teeming with life- like this one brimming with babies. Others show people in various stages of life until there are just bones fertilizing the tree of life at the end of your circuit around the fountain. (My interpretations anyway.)
Up the hill from the fountain is the Monolith.
This is the view across the bridge toward downtown from near the Monolith.
And here is the Monolith itself. It took 3 stone carvers 14 years to complete, working 6 days a week. It is about 46 feet high, carved into a single piece of granite and shows 121 individual people.
On the stairs all around the monolith are simplified human sculptures in various poses showing human relationships. My favorite, which I didn't get a picture of, is of a woman down on all fours. Her braid is being used as a bridle by two toddlers riding on her back. I know the feeling.
The bridge is lined by 58 bronze sculptures further illustrating the human condition. The most famous is this angry boy. The story is that Vigeland gave the model some chocolate, and then took it away to get this reaction. I know this feeling too. (Apparently people rub his one hand for luck?)
After we had our fill of outdoor art, we found an outdoor cafe in the park and ordered some pizzas and enjoyed the fresh air. It was about 8 or 9 pm by this point and beginning to drizzle. And we had a long trek back to our apartment yet.
But there is always time to stop at the playground, right?
Riding the tram back to the apartment waaaay past bedtime. Little did we realize this super long day would not be the only one of its kind on this trip!