Monday, June 20, 2011

Oslo in a day (but returning soon!)

in front of the Royal Palace

We played tourist all day in Oslo visiting the Folk Museum, Fram Ship Museum, Viking Ship Museum, and the Royal Palace. My boss, Scott Peterson, at Prairie Winds Golf Club, would have something to say about the Palace grounds. It appears that the Royals have fled the Palace and no one cares about the surrounding gardens. In any case, the Palace grounds are not that impressive, but the structure is spectacular and a focal point of the city.

The museums we visited today gave context to Norway's history and its role in international events over time. The Fram Museum (about the Fram ship that explored both the North and South polls) also had an exhibit on Fridtjof Nansen. He was an explorer who was well known throughout Norway for having skied across Greenland before he was part of the Fram expedition. He went on to play a lead role in international relations and humanitarian efforts during Norway's independence, World War I, the League of Nations, and life under the Bolsheviks in eastern Europe. Nansen was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922. On Monday I travel to Lillehammer and spend five days at the Nansen Dialogue Network where students from the U.S. and the Balkan region will study the work of Nansen and how dialogue and identity are important today. More importantly, we'll look at how to engage in productive dialogue that crosses cultural, religious, linguistic, and stereotypical boundaries.

Norwegians are fortunate to live in a wealthy, beautiful country. They are also well aware of these things and take immense pride in their Kingdom. Today our friendly guide was Eva Mathisen who graduated with the Watertown High School Class of 1979 as a foreign exchange student. She shared this link with us which provides a 24/7 video feed from a coastal ship that gives observers a very real sense of the Norwegian landscape. Apparently, it is very popular in Norway both to watch and to try and be seen on camera. The wake of the boat and nearby waterfalls are nice background noises, but I think Hanz Zimmer could/should write an epic score to accompany the video of the terrain.

Tomorrow I leave my family having completed a great vacation! Probably the best yet! I'll greet 9 very tired students, including Augustana colleague Michael Seeley, at the Oslo airport, as well as our faculty advisor, Dr. Frankie Shackleford. The next adventure begins shortly - stay tuned!

with Michael Seeley on our last big adventure in 2010

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