The Long Road To Oslo

 
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Late November in Oslo

 
 

Returning home from the far north of Norway was always going to be at least a two day expedition. What we hadn’t reckoned upon was a sudden change in the weather, rendering the first leg of the journey an interesting one indeed.

Hat tip to the hire company, it was at this point we came to fully appreciate the high specification of our car. Back in the UK we’d booked a Volkswagen Golf ‘or similar’. The owner of the hotel, during one conversation or another, had recommended to Mike that we ask for studded tyres to provide extra grip on the snow and ice. A somewhat bemused reaction from the hire centre staff suggested that it wasn’t a run of the mill request but Mike eventually extracted a rather unconvincing undertaking to “try”.

The car waiting for us hadn’t been a Golf at all, but of Japanese origin. Already snow had been falling which told us all we needed to know: this vehicle was eminently suited. Not only did it have the requested studded tyres but four wheel drive, heated seats and sat nav, although we never did resolve the mystery of how the navigation actually worked. Route guidance was provided throughout by yours truly and the blue spot on the iPad. Only once did a U-turn prove a necessity and only then because I was temporarily distracted by the splendour of the scenery. Looking back down at the iPad the blue spot (our current position) had taken off in a seemingly diametrically opposed direction to the blue line (the intended route) meaning that Mike had to conduct a bit of a manoeuvre on a narrow road courtesy of the entrance to someone’s drive.

But I digress. The drive back to Tromsø was truly horrendous. For a while we enjoyed scenery not obvious on the way up on account of the dark. But as night began to descend once more, so did the snow. And this time it meant it. Driving through Scotland, as we’ve done so many times in the past, I’d often pondered the point of snow poles. Were they of any use? Less than an hour later that question was answered. The poles marking the edge of the tarmac were the only way of telling where the road actually was. There followed an amusing moment when we came up behind a slow moving car. As the nearside window slid down a spray nozzle emerged on the end of a heavily insulated human arm. Each snow pole has a light reflector just down from the top.. and each received a quick squirt of de-ice before the car moved on to the next.

And was the excitement to end there? No.

Boarding the plane to Oslo was straightforward enough but the delay on the stand after the doors had closed became ominously long. The captain kept us regularly informed but none of his words sounded encouraging. Waiting until the runway had been ploughed clear of snow.. friction test to establish that conditions were right for take off.. etc etc. I retrieved the iPad from the overhead locker and began a search for emergency hotels in which to spend the night.

 
 
 
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All lined up for de-icing (photo taken at Oslo airport on the journey north)

 
 

In the end, fly we did. But not before two more inches of snow had built up on the wings. It meant a further half hour in the queue for de-icing with the procedure itself at least that long again. A day in Oslo had always been in the plan and as it turned out, just as well. No need for any onward connection that wintry night.

 
 

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Aker Brygge, Oslo

The hotel we chose was in the trendy part of town, next door to the Museum of Modern Art.

 
 
 
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Move over Rudolph..

Motorcycle meets reindeer, Aker Brygge.

 
 

Being that much farther south, Oslo enjoyed an hour’s extra daylight compared to the distant north but interestingly it can be much colder. Located inland, the city doesn’t feel the benefit of the Gulf Stream in the same way as the west coast.

How do you entice people to hang around when the temperature is well below zero?

 
 
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Even I was seduced and you’ll know I’m no lover of the cold.

A coffee stop. And even an alfresco lunch. Sitting on one of those sheepskins, legs wrapped in a blanket and with heaters placed under the restaurant canopy, it was bearable.. just. The temperature that day was -5C.

 
 
 
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The harbourside, seen from Aker Brygge

 
 

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The House of Commons

Residing in front of the Norwegian parliament but certainly no replica of its British counterpart..

 
 

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The building was an actual dwelling until 1964. Derelict and slated for demolition as part of a road expansion project, artist Marianne Heske has relocated it lock stock and barrel to the centre of Oslo. Heske readily admits she not only wanted to preserve the significance of such an ordinary old house, but also to place it where it would “display strong contrasts.” It certainly does that. Its humbleness is a far cry from the modern and expensive homes now built in Norway, but is intended as a reminder of many modern-day Norwegians’ roots. You can read more about it HERE.

 

From the city centre we wandered back towards the harbour and these extraordinary trees..

 
 

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Anyone have an idea of what they could be?

 
 

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The volume of seeds being shed was quite incredible. Clumps of the seed, like cotton wool, blew around the streets over half a mile distant from the trees themselves.

 
 

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Akershus Castle

 

To escape the seed dust, a retreat to higher ground. On the far side of the harbour lies Akershus Castle, a fortress and former prison. Given the small number of daylight hours we had no time to explore inside, but the grounds provide a pleasant enough walk with views back across the harbour.

 
 
 
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The world’s tamest seagull?

We were inches from that beak.

 
 

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The fortress at night

 
 

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I’d have happily spent another day or two in Oslo.

There’s plenty more to see, not least the botanic garden. Maybe not too much in the way of shopping, given the expense of everything in Norway, but there are some very sophisticated places in which to contemplate the possibility. And I’m quite sure I could have relied on Mike to provide the necessary restraint.

 
 

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A fitting end to a most enjoyable break.

I’d go back in an instant.

 
 

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Christmas Tree_Oslo Style 3
 
 
 
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2017-02-16T19:36:46+00:00 December 20th, 2015|Tags: |82 Comments

82 Comments

  1. Brian Skeys December 20, 2015 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Wonderful pictures and story as always Jessica. I have seen a simular statue on stilts in a pool in Yeo Valley garden. I quite like the idea of going Christmas shopping on the motorbike reindeer!

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      It would liven the Christmas shopping up a bit wouldn’t it!

  2. Amy at love made my home December 20, 2015 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    This post has done nothing to help my desire to go to Norway! I just want to go even more now!!! One day I will get there. I really am so glad that you had such a good time although the plane sounds a little hairy with all that waiting. No doubt they are all quite used to it though so it was probably normal procedure. I love the blue dot! We have a blue car on our sat nav. Hope that you have a great Christmas! Happy Christmas! xx

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      Considering the conditions they have to cope with, Norway’s airports are very slick indeed. But there must be some days when the weather defeats even them, possibly that was one of them. Thanks Amy, Happy Christmas to you too.

  3. Vera December 20, 2015 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    No, sorry, not likely to budge from my spot down here in SW France, even for a quick holiday! Lovely to read about your adventures, but I have got too used to warm weather, and when it does get near freezing point I am reminded of our years living in the caravan which I prefer to now let fade away into history! Glad you got back safe though. That must have been a scary drive!

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      It wasn’t the best drive. The snow came down so quickly the ploughs couldn’t keep up with it. It’s very mild here at the moment too, just wish it wasn’t so wet. It’s defeating my attempts to get on with the garden.

  4. Jacqueline December 20, 2015 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    What a holiday Jessica ….. your photographs are wonderful ….. love the airport in the snow, the restaurant with the sheepskins, the modern art, the fortress at night and the brilliant Christmas tree. I think the trees with the seeds blowing everywhere might be cottonwoods but I’m just guessing !!!
    …. and, I think that driving in snow in England is bad enough but in a country like Norway it must be atrocious !!!!! XXXX

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 6:46 pm - Reply

      We’re not used to driving in snow, that’s the trouble. The Norwegians have had a lot more practice! I’ll look up cottonwoods, thank you.. if only to make sure I never accidentally buy one. There’s enough clearing up to do in the garden without all that!

  5. Donna@Gardens Eye View December 20, 2015 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    What an adventure…i am glad you were able to stay over and enjoy more of Norway! It has been added to my must visit list….

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      It was definitely worth seeing a little bit of city life, even if I am more of a country bumpkin. All very trendy and modern in that part of Oslo.

  6. M. L. Kappa December 20, 2015 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    I love reading about your trip, Jessica, and vicariously enjoying your adventures – minus the cold! And the photographs a lovely, as usual. The tree looks like cotton… Here we grow cotton and it looks just like that, but they are small plants, not trees with a lot less seeds. I’m curious to know what it was, if you ever find out…

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 6:53 pm - Reply

      It seems an odd time of year for seeds to be shedding.. straight into snow. Perhaps they’re the sort that need a winter chill before they will germinate. I shall do some googling and see if I can find out.

  7. jenhumm116 December 20, 2015 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Lovely post with super photos. Reminds me of a similarly scary drive we took to Les Gets for Christmas in a hire car, where we were the only eejets without snow chains. The studded tyres saw us through too, just!
    I love Scandinavia but I’ve never made it to Oslo. I definitely want to now!

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      I wish we’d had a day longer. It was dark by mid afternoon, so not much time really for all the sightseeing we could have done. Rather than aim for anywhere in specific we just wandered and stopped off at the cafes every so often. The sunny day made that very pleasant indeed.

  8. Backlane Notebook December 20, 2015 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Gosh I am not a great traveller but your account and the stunning photographs has been inspirational. I love love love that modern Christmas tree in Oslo.

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:00 pm - Reply

      The tree is brilliant isn’t it. It even managed to look elegant in broad daylight. Very well done.

  9. Dorothy @ The Nature of Things December 20, 2015 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful adventure. Thanks for sharing it with us armchair travelers.

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:02 pm - Reply

      It did feel like an adventure at times. It might have been easier to lie on a Caribbean beach, but I don’t think that would have been as much fun.

  10. Linda aka Crafty Gardener December 20, 2015 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    What an amazing holiday, so many wonderful memories captured through all your photos.

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      It will certainly be memorable! Am now thinking about what to do next, but this one might be a tough act to follow.

  11. Linda December 20, 2015 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Studded tires were very common here for many years. Now they are outlawed because they are so hard on the road surface. Such a wonderful adventure the you of you have had.

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      I can imagine they would be. When we first left the airport it was (thankfully!) on to a clear road. We could hear the noise the studs made on the road surface.

  12. elaine December 20, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    What a place, what an experience, what photos!!! Wonderful.

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks Elaine. It was!

  13. Denise December 20, 2015 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Is that tree a cotton willow? Does a cotton willow even exist?? Only we get that cottony stuff blowing across here once a year, from the nearby park. And I’m sure the local paper said it was something called willow cotton. (I’ll shut up now – I’m rambling.)

    Beautiful photos…loving the blue skies and the Christmas tree of balls!

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      I’ve tried googling it without much luck. A willow of some kind would make some sense. We used to have one of the normal sort which shed fluffy catkins all over the garden. I’m afraid it won’t do it again because it’s now in the woodpile. The shedding happened in June though, not November.

  14. rachel December 20, 2015 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    What an interesting holiday! much more so than lying on a sunny beach somewhere!

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      At least I didn’t have to worry about sunburn 🙂

  15. Diana Studer December 20, 2015 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    the Christmas tree and
    The Little House that Was Rescued
    for me

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      The little house was very pretty. It’s only there until January though so I wonder what will happen to it then.

  16. woolythymes December 20, 2015 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    what a trip!!!! on the proverbial ‘list’….but maybe not in November.???? Tempting, though!

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      Unless you have a hankering to see the Northern Lights, which was the initial purpose for us, I’d recommend summer and the midnight sun. Think Scottish summer! What we didn’t expect is how stunning the landscape would be. And it does look better with a little snow on it I must admit.

  17. Bumbleabdme December 20, 2015 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    Lovely, just lovely. X

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks Hannah.

  18. Beth @ PlantPostings December 21, 2015 at 1:26 am - Reply

    Like Jacqueline, my first thought regarding the cottony trees was that they might be a type of Cottonwood (Populus spp). We have them here, and they can be a bit of a nuisance when they shed their seeds. Thing is, this usually happens here in late spring. Perhaps Denise is correct that they are Cotton Willows. What beautiful images and memories you have from your amazing trip! I live in a climate with a cold winter, but I would not want to sit outside in those temperatures–even with those woolly warmers and heaters! Hiking and sightseeing would be OK, though. That sunset image is incredible! What a wonderful adventure you had!

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Yes, I’ve googled cottonwoods and found the same thing. So unless these trees are seriously confused by the climate it can’t be them. The sunshine made the temperatures bearable. I think even with the blankets etc, sitting in the shade wouldn’t have been so tolerable. But I will probably never again be able to say I sat outside for lunch in -5C. Although people do in ski resorts don’t they?

  19. FlowerAlley December 21, 2015 at 1:29 am - Reply

    What an adventure!!!! I found the details fascinating. Thanks so much fro sharing these posts.

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks. I’ve enjoyed doing them.

  20. Kris P December 21, 2015 at 3:32 am - Reply

    You have ALMOST convinced me to take a trip to Scandinavia. Now convincing my husband, another native Californian, of the wisdom of that plan is a whole separate hurdle.

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      You could always try Alaska first.. I looked at it while planning for this trip, but obviously Norway is a lot closer for us.

  21. derrickjknight December 21, 2015 at 7:30 am - Reply

    Your usual marvellous photos. The mind boggles at what was said to the ‘heavily insulted human arm’ 🙂

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Oh, what a classic! Thanks for pointing out the typo Derrick. I have corrected it. The spellchecker wouldn’t have picked it up either as obviously if we hadn’t been able to overtake the car insults might indeed have been appropriate.

  22. germac4 December 21, 2015 at 8:45 am - Reply

    What a lovely post…so interesting, and all the photos were wonderful. I loved the winter light, and the clear blue skies. How about the little cabin that was the House of Commons! People were certainly very hardy in the old days. All very interesting. Thanks for tour…great to catch a glimpse of countries so far away from us.

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      Given how close it is I knew very little about Norway before our trip. It’s a country I’ll go back to for sure, given a chance. Thanks Gerrie.

  23. sustainablemum December 21, 2015 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Thank you for the tour, wonderful! I love those statues. It all looks very clean and tidy everywhere, a far cry from our cities 🙁

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      Norway reminded me very much of Switzerland in many respects, but partly because everywhere was so clean and well organised.

  24. Rick Nelson December 21, 2015 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Really interesting post rd I enjoyed it very much. At first I thought your mystery tree was a Kapok (Ceiba pentandra) the “wool” of which was used to stuff quilted clothing, but realised it is not hardy enough. The pictures have to be of a form of poplar (Populus) known as the cotton-woods which are wide spread in the Northern Hemisphere. There is more than one specie of cotton-wood so this is as close as i can get 🙂

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      Google isn’t coming up with anything very useful. It seems to be an odd time of year for cottonwoods to be shedding seed. I’ve been trying to find a late autumn seeding variety but no luck as yet. It’s intriguing me now. I even searched under the trees for a plant label to no avail.

  25. Mike @ A Bit About Britain December 21, 2015 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    Oslo looks great. But you’ve had quite an adventure – I’ve been leafing through your shots of the far north – absolutely stunning – trip of a lifetime. Love your slider images, by the way. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks Mike. Most definitely an adventure!
      A very Merry Christmas to you too.

  26. Rosie December 21, 2015 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    How beautiful. Oslo looks a fabulous place to explore even in those cold temperatures. What wonderful photos and memories you have brought home with you. Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2016:)

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      It’s a lovely city from what we saw of it, I’d have liked to do more exploring.
      Merry Christmas Rosie and a very Happy New Year.

  27. justjilluk December 21, 2015 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Great post . What more can I say!

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 8:51 pm - Reply

      Hope you saw some good Northern Lights last night.. proper auroral storm by the sound of it. Absolutely zilch down here of course!
      Thanks Jill.

  28. Julieanne December 21, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    You tell a good story Jessica – another great post. Love the motorcycle reindeer. I’m impressed that you managed driving in the dark with just the snow poles to guide you – eeek! Sounds like it was a great holiday.

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      Mike has to take the credit for the driving. Mostly because he prefers it and I enjoy the navigating. It wasn’t the easiest of drives. The saving grace was having plenty of time so we didn’t have to rush it. I can just imagine the stress if we’d been late for the plane! Thanks Julieanne.

  29. Sarah December 21, 2015 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    The tree looks very unusual, it matches the sheepskins! Your wonderful words and pictures have us all wanting to visit there too, although I wouldn’t have liked that car journey! Sarah x

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      The seeds were blowing around underneath the sheepskins! After that car journey and the delay at the airport it was really odd landing in Oslo to find no snow at all. Especially as it had been snowy when we left it for the north.

  30. jannaschreier December 21, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    The comment I left yesterday seems to have gone astray. But I mumbled something about loving that Christmas tree at the top and adoring your ‘snowy’ photo of the unidentifiable tree! What an adventure you’ve had.

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      Definitely an adventure. And a cold one! But there are worse places to be cold I’m sure. I only wish we’d made it to the botanic garden, they might even have had another of those trees.. labelled!

  31. snowbird December 21, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    What an adventure you had, and certainly a fascinating trip! I have enjoyed following these posts, the driving scared me to death though!xxx

    • Jessica December 21, 2015 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Mike was relieved to return the hire car unscathed! So glad we got it though, having the freedom to drive around a bit made the holiday for us.

  32. Tahoe girl December 22, 2015 at 4:15 am - Reply

    I love the seagull just sitting there. wonderful pictures. thank you for letting me see a different part of the world.:)

    • Jessica December 22, 2015 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      The easiest seagull picture we’ve ever taken.. he wasn’t shifting! It was on the castle wall, perhaps someone feeds them there.

  33. Sol December 22, 2015 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    Fab pictures.Norway is on my list to see! you have made we want to go more

    • Jessica December 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      If you get a chance, go. You’ll enjoy it I’m sure.

  34. Josephine December 23, 2015 at 12:26 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your pictures, as I always have imagined, Norway is a beautiful country, pristine and magical.
    Looks like you has a wonderful visit, and created lots of memories.
    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year !
    ~Jo

    • Jessica December 23, 2015 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      It was rather more wintry than here.. but I almost prefer snow to the constant rain we’re having at the moment.
      Thanks Jo. A Merry Christmas to you too.

  35. Virginia December 23, 2015 at 1:05 am - Reply

    Oh, Jessica, you have brought back memories! My husband went to an International Family Law conference split between Oslo and Copenhagen, and I had a wonderful time exploring the city. There is a wonderful sculpture park called Vigeland which in summer was a wonderful walk. We could only imagine what it must be like to ski there in the depth of winter. I also spent a day at a Viking Museum, and a Folk museum/park, well set up for educational experiences for children (and those young at heart). They obviously valued their history. A marvellous place, I’d love to return.

    Happy Christmas to you and Mike.

    • Jessica December 23, 2015 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      I do wish we’d had longer than a day, all we could do really was scratch the surface. But it’s such a short flight from here.. not much further than the far north of Scotland. I’m glad I was able to spark some happy memories!

  36. homeslip December 23, 2015 at 11:33 am - Reply

    Just magical Jessica. Thank you so much for sharing. Merry Christmas to you and Mike. Sarah x

    • Jessica December 23, 2015 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sarah. A very Happy Christmas to you too.

  37. Linda P December 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    What an adventure! I’ve enjoyed reading about the whole experience, slowly taking in each interesting photo. I can see why this particular trip was a special one for you both. I’ve also enjoyed following your blog this year and look forward to next year’s posts. Best wishes to you and Mike this Christmas and in the coming year.

    • Jessica December 23, 2015 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      Thanks Linda. It’s a few years since we’ve travelled any distance and I realised how much I have missed it. We used to go to Italy too and I especially love your posts from there for just that reason.

  38. Helene December 26, 2015 at 3:23 am - Reply

    Funny what they call art, you can see hundred thousands of these old houses around Norway, but put one in front of the parliament (Stortinget) and it becomes art 🙂 Incidentally, the note on the door where it says House of Commons is a play on words, as this literarily was the house FOR commons. This was how ‘the commons’ lived in Norway, up until about 1950s. And, I am not sure if you understood why this art installation was closed the day you were there, but that’s what it says on the note: closed due to the cup final. Football is big in Norway too!

    Loved the photos and the story, brings back memories. I lived 6 years in Oslo, 2 of them in walking distance from Aker Brygge, while they were building it, before it got trendy. My son was born in the flat we had there in 1986 and I used to put him in his pram and walk down to the harbour and buy prawns from the boats coming in. Long time ago! Your photos are showing off Oslo from its best, really beautiful.

    • Jessica December 26, 2015 at 10:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks Helene. It is a very beautiful city and what a wonderful place to live. We did indeed see plenty of old houses like this up in the north where they seemed perfectly at one with the landscape. In Oslo, quite a juxtaposition. I’ve still not managed to find out what those trees are… any ideas?

      • Helene December 27, 2015 at 12:29 am - Reply

        No, I did a quick search but I didn’t come any closer than I think it is some kind of poplar – but I have now written an email to Oslo City Administration and asked them what kind of tree it is – and included the photo of the tree and a link to your blog – you never know, maybe we’ll get an answer! I just can’t let things like this lie, I HAVE to find out 🙂

        • Helene December 27, 2015 at 12:45 am - Reply

          Found some interesting info about sexually frustrated female poplars in Moscow shedding the same type of white seed fluff – the things one find on Google!!
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/130665.stm
          Still don’t know why the trees in Oslo were shedding their fluff in November, perhaps they were just seasonally confused, like many plants are this year? It should have been frost in Oslo in November, and often snow too.

          • Jessica December 27, 2015 at 5:42 pm

            It does sound like the same sort of fluff and perhaps the trees were shedding out of season. It does seem an odd time of year to be releasing seed… when the ground is frozen, or should be. It was certainly frosty. We took the sunset picture from a short decked pier and that was quite slippery, enough to keep me from going anywhere near the edge. It didn’t stop some though, people were diving off the pier into the water. You’re a hardy breed!

        • Jessica December 27, 2015 at 5:34 pm - Reply

          It would be interesting to know wouldn’t it. Thanks Helene.

          • Helene January 6, 2016 at 9:34 pm

            Jessica, I have heard back from Oslo City Administration, from a man who works as a City Tree Curator in the Department for roads and parks. He says that they think the tree is a Salix alba – a White Willow.
            Unfortunately he gave no explanation to why it was shedding seeds as late as in November. I have looked up Salix alba and here is a link:
            https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/native-trees/white-willow
            Apparently alba refers to the white underside of the leaves, not the white fluffy seeds.
            He ended his reply by saying the photos of the tree were really good!

            I guess that’s as far as I can get with this, maybe yet another season confused plant?
            But I can tell you that the place where you photographed these trees is called Rådhusplassen, after Rådhuset – that’s Oslo City Town Hall, which is the large building right behind the square – where incidentally I got married to my first husband in 1985. And Rådhusplassen is the most expensive you can buy on the Norwegian Monopoly!
            So now you know – nice place you chose to photograph 🙂

          • Jessica January 7, 2016 at 6:10 pm

            Helene, that’s fantastic. Thanks so much for doing that.
            What fascinated me most about Rådhusplassen is the six lane motorway that runs right underneath it. Obviously I didn’t see it at the time, only later looking at it on a map while researching for the post. And you’ve taught me something else… that there is a Norwegian version of Monopoly!

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