Oslo, the capital of Norway. Like a viking exploring the sea, I navigated the waters of this foreign city. By bicycle, train & bus, I explored the Scandinavian metropolis by visiting museums, meeting locals & searching for Turtle Power. Join me and my Norwegian pal, Mathias, as we tour Oslo in a quest for culture and cowabunga!
PART 4, the final chapter of the 4-part travelogue!
The final day of my trip had arrived. Despite little sleep, I forced myself out of bed and hit the ground running. The clock was ticking - my plane departed later that afternoon. I only had a few hours until my time in Norway came to a close. With Mathias by my side, we climbed on our bikes and embarked on one last excursion.
Our first stop was the National Gallery (Nasjonalmuseet). The museum itself isn't overwhelmingly large, but many celebrated works from around the world are housed here. They're all beautiful and inspiring, but it's Edvard Munch's Scream that is the main attraction. The Norwegian painter's iconic piece is famous for its merit and infamous for its bizarre history. In 1994, it was stolen from the National Gallery. Luckily, it was recovered several months later. The Scream is now safely back on display at the museum - behind a wall of thick glass and monitored by a team of Foot Soldiers (AKA museum security). The surveillance is rightfully extreme, but I unfortunately wasn't even allowed to take a photo! I think it's just a mischievous scheme to sucker visitors into purchasing a magnet from the gift shop.
While exiting the museum, I glanced at the time and realized there were about 2 hours left before shipping off to the airport. Defeat settled in. I had to come to terms with reality - finding a TMNT-related souvenir wasn't going to happen. This would be my first failure in that department. Even in sketchiest back alleys of Bangkok, I had managed to find something. But in Norway, my luck had run out. Would I have to settle for one of those gaudy toy trolls aimed at clueless tourists? They plagued the shelves of every tacky souvenir shop in Oslo. I kept seeing them everywhere I went. All trolls and no Turtles.
Mathias and I continued our final trek through Oslo. With such little time left, our options were limited. We haphazardly made our way to another museum, killing time until the inevitable was upon us - my departure. Our pace was slower than normal, pedaling with little enthusiasm. I glanced at my surroundings, soaking in Oslo once last time. That's when something caught my eye. I saw a lot of junk. In my TMNT-collecting world, junk equals jewels. I hopped off my bike and pressed my face to the glass of this junk-filled store front. What I saw was promising, making my sewer senses tingle.
I assumed my luck had run out, but maybe I was wrong?
I left Mathias outside and entered Lucky Eddie - a mecca of secondhand goods. From floor to ceiling, the shelves were lined with movies, music, literature and comic books. Each aisle had a collection of rarities on display. I thumbed through a few vinyls and trade paperbacks, noticing nothing was English. Had I finally hit the Norwegian jackpot?
The items inside Lucky Eddie were chaotically organized. There was some sort of method to the madness, but the pattern was lost on me. A map would have been useful in navigating this land of perplexity. The popular titles seem to be Donald Duck and Beetle Bailey. Walls were dedicated to these grand collections.
After a few wrong turns, I eventually found the "T" category in the comic book section. I was prepared to comb through hundreds of comics until I found Turtle Power, but I didn't have to. Peeking out of the box was a TMNT comic! And this was no American copy, this was Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles - the European counterpart. I flipped through the pages, fighting the urge to shout "cowabunga" inside the store. The entire comic was in Norwegian.
My excitement was through the roof - I bet my friends back in America could even feel it. Lost in a fog of emotion, I had missed there were more Turtles comics in the box. I laid the small collection out on the floor, admiring their foreign flair. Turtle Powered perfection. I awkwardly mumbled my way through the payment process with the store clerk. He (Lucky Eddie?) was one of the few Norwegians that I met who didn't speak English. But making money is international, so we had no problems. I forked over my Norwegian Krones and walked out with a TMNT souvenir.
With a bundle of comics in my bike basket, we navigated through Oslo and returned to Mathias' apartment. I stuffed my new treasures safely into my backpack and geared up for my departure. After a week of being connected at the hip, it was time for Mathias and me to separate. We said our goodbyes, had a hug, and then I was gone.
The airport was an ease. My foreign TMNT comics and I made it through security with plenty of time before boarding the flight. Traveling and experiencing culture makes a man hungry. With time to kill, I hunkered down at a rotating sushi spot in my terminal for a quick bite. Still feeling the effects of my TMNT win, I ordered a beer and ate like a king. This meal was my victory lap.
Oslo got smaller and smaller out the airplane window. As we made our voyage over the Atlantic, I saluted goodbye to Norway and buried my face in my latest TMNT discovery. The language inside the comics was obviously lost on me, but the international lure was fascinating. A strange sensation came over me as I leafed through each page. Were the cosmos playing a sick joke on me? The illustrated images inside the comics oddly outlined my entire trip. The key moments were all there.
Suffering from jet lag.
Exploring the city by bicycle.
Dressing up for special occasions (a Norwegian birthday party, perhaps?).
Discovering secondhand treasures!
And the biggie, English is not their first language.
Comic books - travel agents for a new generation. Who knew?
Thanks for taking this journey to Norway with me! If you liked this adventure, check out my other travelogues to other spots around the world.