Norway Part V

We arrived in Oslo from Bergen using NSB–in a wonderful scenic route over the high mountains, then bus to Schein Skøyen. My cousin, Lillebeth, picked us up at 10:30 at night on July 11th and drove us to her house.

She fed us on crackers, cheese, and tea in her white and green kitchen and afterwards led us up the stairs to a large bedroom on the top floor. We were SO glad to see family! The next morning, very early, she drove us to the American Embassy to apply for an emergency passport. We were the first American people in the line, though the one for non-Americans applying for visas had already formed and was quite long.

We were going to take care of my passport in one day–if possible–and spend the rest of the day visiting the medieval Akershus Fortress, the Edvard Munch Museum, and shop for a Norwegian sweater for my daughter Cora–well, I was, not necessarily, Paul.

My Norwegian grandmother whom we all called Mormor (mother’s mother) was born at Akershus where her father taught handicrafts to the prisoners there. For a long time, I had wanted to see this prison enclave where she grew up. I have a fine pencil drawing my mother gave me of Akershus and I think I was able to find the exact courtyard in the drawing. When Mom gave it to me she simply said, “That’s where your Mormor was born.” I keep it in my study and now that I have visited this national and yet personal symbol, it holds more meaning for me.

Here is the courtyard.

This ancient fortress is still used by the Norwegian Government for important functions; one example of the grandeur of the historically maintained décor is this particular arrangement of flowers on a long banquet table. (Paul is adjusting his sunglasses at the table’s end.)