So, we arrive at the final port of our cruise and it was clear as soon as we docked that this visit was going to be something special.

After all, it’s not every day that you get a close-up view of a medieval castle from your balcony. How cool is that?

The picture below is one of those shots, showing one tower of the Akershus Fortress, built starting in the 1200’s to defend the city and gradually enlarged over the years as the population grew.

Akershus Fortress

Our 100% walking tour (yeah!, no bus) began with our guide leading us across the street and through the grounds of the Fortress, which now include several museums and monuments.

From there we spent the rest of our very short time in Oslo wandering around the beautiful downtown area.  As in almost all our other stops on this trip, we were again fortunate to have gorgeous weather and many people were out in the parks and cafes enjoying it.

The centerpiece of our tour, and of the port area of the city, was the massive City Hall building which dominates the port area.

Although the exterior is somewhat bland and boxy*, the inside is something else.  Brightly colored murals detailing Norwegian history and life by native artists cover many of the walls

The ceremony awarding the Nobel Peace Prize is held each December in the central atrium of the Hall and it’s a very impressive space, although I thought it actually looks smaller in pictures and on video.

And after another far too brief day in port, it was time to leave.  Add Oslo to that list of cities visited on this trip that we will definitely be returning to in the future, possibly at the top of it.

If you’re interested, there’s a small collection of pictures with commentary from our time in Oslo in my flickr photostream.

Overnight we sailed back to our starting point and the big trip we had planned for and anticipated for months was over.  Almost appropriately, it was raining in Copenhagen as the bus took us to the airport, just as it had been the day we left.

Anyway, I’ll have a couple more posts about our experiences on the cruise coming soon, not to mention a bunch more pictures, and then it’s time to move on to something else.

Like planning where in the world to go next.

*Our port lecturer said the building has been included on a list of the ten ugliest building in the world. That’s rather harsh since we have at least ten in DC that are worse. :-)  See what you think.