Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Wandering in Oslo and Other Intrepid Explorers: Part One

Today was another first day in a big city without a map. 

A day of not knowing where north is when google map says go north and there are five streets intersecting, plus a tram and bus line. When Oystein walked his bike with me to the bus stop and said, "Get on 31 and get off at Solle, I had no idea of how to get home or where to go or what to do. Just that this was the beginning, another first day.

I’ve had many such days, haven’t I?

What about Tokyo, the first day, fifty years ago? My Japanese sister had walked me to the bus stop the day before and had written the Japanese characters to look for when each bus stopped. But when I had to do it myself? Looked like Greek to me! And each bus passed before I could decipher the destination.

But it eventually worked out. And today worked out. In fact, just fine.

First stop—Dr. Sunde

Was I looking forward to a doctor’s visit in a foreign country? Well, actually yes. I tore something three weeks ago lifting a carry-on into the over-head for the third time in one day. And it was the only time I didn’t ask for help and look where it got me!!! Rip! Nothing has helped for the last three weeks. Maximum dose anti-inflammatory. Not lifting (well, except for helping Oystein lift a zillion old roof tiles and an emormous picnic table...). His physician son recommended this shoulder clinic.  I was still in pain, couldn’t lift over my head and had to decide about whether to do farming in Portugal.

See the two pictures of the office. One shows absolutely typical magazines to read while waiting—a choice of movie star trash or sailing. The second picture is absolutely not American! Shoes lined up under our coats. All the patients and the doctors walking around in socks!  "A Norwegian custom when it’s wet outside," the receptionist told me. Well it was dry as a bone outside, but when in Norway...

Dr.Sunde was kind, thorough and funny. He didn't act like an orthopedic surgeon and in fact isn’t. He's bit of a renegade GP who is known for his ultrasound diagnosis and preference over MRI. He prides himself in rescuing people from unnecessary surgeries because of inaccurate MRIs. He found a torn supraspinatus tendon and bursa full of fluid. Treatment? I asked for an injection and promised to take it easy. In one week I’ll be shown PT exercises and off to Portugal! Farming? We'll see. (And I promised to obey the physical therapist who emphatically told me, with a smile, "Always ask for help!")

Emboldened by success and helpful people, I next wandered into a hair salon ansd asked if someone had time to trim my bangs? She did. And when I offered her payment, she said it was free – because she wasn’t busy then anyway. Wow! So I gave her a hug and took Lena’s happy picture.

Second stop -- get a map, get a plan

I then took a bus 31 from Solli, or at least that was the plan, until a woman said I could just get on the tram and it would get me to the train station too. I did and it did. But then again the problem of getting out google maps and trying to figure out which way was north towards the tourist information center. Eventually someone showed me the sideways sign in the shadows and yes! Boy was I happy to find tear-off maps of Oslo. And brochures. Voila!! I could come up wiht a plan!

I bought a three day Oslo pay, discounted for seniors, and a two day on-off bus pass.And spent hours in the Viking museum.  This was the one thing I had to see in Oslo! Maybe because after riding through the fjords and seeing how difficult farming would be on those slopes, I could begin to understand the need perhaps to plunder (though not to rape). And above  all I could admire their fortitude. 

Third stop --The Viking Museum

There was something reverent in the museum. Those timbers, those nails, those lines and mast and curves – are actually Viking! 

The three Viking Ships were recovered from burial mounds And all the little things. A wagon. Animal carvings. Bucket full of apples... One of the three ships had two women in it. A queen? They were richly provided for. 

Vikings -- intrepid explorers that could certainly inspire me (without the swords, thank you.)


All I had to conquer was the not understanding the buses, trains, and how to somehow get back to Oystein and Liv's home!

And the Fram and the Kon-Tiki Museums

What is it with these Norwegians? All these boats! Ropes and expiditions! Crazy men who don’t know borders! 
To Be Continued in Part Two... (Can’t transmit all of blog by this wifi!!!)

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