Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Oslo – 28 May 2011

Our plans to conclude our Ryanair “Baltic Cruise” felt very shaky at the beginning of the week, as the Icelandic volcano Grimsvoetn, started erupting on Sunday. The ash reached Scotland by Tuesday, and all Scottish airports were closed. The prediction that the ash would reach London by Saturday, was very disconcerting and we began to wonder if we should have taken our Baltic Cruise by ship after all,. Fortunately a combination of strong winds, extremely heavy rain on Thursday removed that possibility, but best of all, the volcano stopped spewing ash, and merely started letting off steam.

So our flight left at 8:25am as scheduled. London was grey and cold, and unfortunately, so was Oslo, but at least we had made it there. Our central city hotel was great for exploring between the showers. Directly opposite the hotel is the stunning modern Opera House, only opened in 2008. This building reminded us of an architect's computer graphic visualization from a distance, with small figures walking all over it. It really had a surreal, stylised look. Up close it is amazing. Totally clad in white marble, it really is like a giant playground for all. Angles, steps, glass walls all add interest and texture and the slope which begins as a roof, becomes a piazza before transforming into a beach which simply disappears under the waves.
This is a modern building with a difference, that should stand the test of time. It is a building with a function as well as fabulous form but introduces fun by allowing people to interact with the structure in a way that is rare. Where else can you walk off the street and by means of gradual ramps end up on the roof of an Opera House? From the height of our hotel vantage point we could see people freely walking over the entire structure making it a “we have to do that too” attraction.

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