Sandefjord, Larvik, And Stavern

I am back in Oslo after spending the weekend with friends in Sandefjord. It has been a very busy weekend beginning Friday afternoon with a tour of the Royal Palace where King Harald V and the king’s wife, Queen Sonja reside.  King Harald has reigned since January 17, 1991.  The heir apparent is his only son, Crown Prince Haakon.

The Norwegian monarch is a constitutional and hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary system that seems a lot like the Untied Kingdom’s monarchy.

Below is a picture of the palace that I took back in 2006.  I really enjoyed the tour.  As you can imagine the palace is just beautiful. Of course photographs of the interior of the palace are forbidden.

Later that evening a friend and I attended the 10th anniversary  concert of The Norwegian gay choir, or better known as The Oslo Fagottkor.  The choir is renowned in Norway for their hilarious brand of comedy, high quality productions and stunning choral performances.  Even though most of the humor was in Norweigian a lot of the songs were sung in English and I found these  amateur/volunteers put on an excellent entertaining show.

On Saturday I checked out of my hotel, met my friends from Sandefjord and together we went to Oslo’s Pride Parade.  Oslo is also the host country this year for Euro Pride 2014.  The marchers and attendees were having a great time.  Here are a couple of pictures from the parade.

After the parade we journeyed to to Pride Park which is set up specifically to host organizations there to promote their services.  It was there that a heavy drizzle began so we headed for my friends cars and then left for the weekend to Sandefjord.

We spend Sunday touring the towns very close to Sandefjord including Larvik and Stavern.  While in Larvik we visited the Minnehallen or The hall of remembrance which was commissioned by the Norwegian parliament after World War I to commemorate the fallen Norwegian sailors of the war. It was unveiled by King Haakon and was later converted to the national monument commemorating fallen sailors of both World War I and World War II.

The interior of the hall is visited by some 20,000 people every year.

The monument itself is a pyramid of locally quarried rock and is designed by two architects from Oslo, Andreas H. Bjercke and Georg Eliassen. There is a relief by Nic. Schioll describing the lives and fate of the sailors as well as a decoration in the crypt. Twenty 28 copper tablets display the names of 1892 sailors dead in World War I and 3456 names of sailors who died in World War II. In addition, three protocols contain the names of 5667 sailors.  I’ve posted pictures in the pic’s section.

We also visited the town of Stavern which will be the site of a large music festival.  Here is a link to the festival web site.  One of my friends in Sandefjord is managing this festival.  Some of headliners I know about including Bob Dylan, Lilly Allen, Ed Sheeran.  I don’t know how many of you have heard of Ylvis but you should check them out.  They have been on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres   Anyway here is a link to a video they made that went viral.  It’s called “What Does The Fox Say?”  You can check it  out by clicking of the link.

This morning I caught a 7:38 train for the two hour ride back to Oslo.  I’ll be staying with another friend at his flat till early Wednesday morning when I leave for Paris with an overnight stop in Copenhagen. © Louis M. Skypala 2014