Oslofjord: A glimpse of Hovedøya

Hello, ladies and gentlemen! It’s time for another travel entry inspired by Norway’s beautiful scenery. ☾ ☽ ☼ ☀ ☁ ☂❉❉✿

I can’t quite remember where I got this “Turguide til Øyene” (Tour guide to the islands) booklet. Perhaps in one of the Tourism kiosks or at the airport? Anyway, this wonderful booklet (in Norwegian) contains descriptions and routes to explore the islands dotting the Oslo Fjord. There are several to choose from: The Big 4 (Hovedøya, Gressholmen-Heggholmen-Rambergøya, Langøyene, and Håøya), the Cottage Islands (Lindøya, Nakholmen, and Bleikøya), the Bridge Islands (Ormøya, Malmøya, Skilpadda, and Ulvøya), and the Small Islands and Lighthouses (Heggholmen lighthouse, Dyna lighthouse, Kavringen lighthouse, Skjælholmene, Husbergøya, Herbern, Killingen and Sjursøya).

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       hovedøya

The good thing about the islands is that they are still part of Zone 1, so it only costs 30 NOK to take the ferry boat and island hop. From Rådhusbrygga, take Boat 1 (B1 Øyene). Don’t forget to buy and activate your ticket before you hop on. And don’t take the tourist boats on the other side of the port! They’re meant for tourists, if you get what I mean. 😉

Waiting for the ferry
Waiting for the ferry

So one Saturday, my friends and I took the boat from Aker Brygge, the port in front of the City Hall and facing the Oslofjord, to the first island — Hovedøya. The island is filled with history and nature! By the way, it is necessary that visitors are aware of these three important rules and regulations: 1. Do not pick flowers and other kinds of vegetations, bushes, trees and all. 2. Respect the animal life. Animal life in the islands are protected. No shooting or destroying animal habitats. 3. The historical and cultural sites on the islands are protected. No grilling, loitering, vandalizing or  stepping on the ruins, etc.

So, what can you find on an island with a total area of 0.4 sq. kms.?

  1. Beautiful coasts with plant and animal life. And islands and boats in the background.

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2. Rocks. Rocks. Pebbles. And more rocks.

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3. Colorful cannons. Copies of the original. Starting from the 1700s, the Norwegians have been testing their cannons and bombs on the island. In 1808, according to the booklet, they built two cannon spots — the West and East Kanonbatteri. They had also built ammunition houses near the cannons.

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Cannons on Hovedøya
Cannons on Hovedøya

The spot where the cannons are gives a really nice view of the surrounding islands in the Oslo Fjord. It is also a great place for taking pictures and making moments with your friends.

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4. Monastery ruins. This is a protected area on the island. According to the booklet, a group of monks led by Philippus docked on Hovedøya in 1147. The monks came from England and belonged to the Cistercian order. There was already a church standing on the area called the Church of St. Edmund at that time, but no one knows who built it. The monks, then, decided to build a monastery beside the church. It took them many years to finish, and when they did, they started planting crops. They owned farms in Frogner, Bygdøy and Bogstad. The people could rent the land and plant, but they should pay the monks in terms of meat, corn, and other crops.

However, in 1532, the monastery was plundered. The king took possession of the monastery and the farms, and the monks met a brutal end. Later on, the stones from the monastery were taken and used to build the Akershus festning (fortress). The fortress was used to defend Oslo and to keep prisoners.

The Klosterkroa Kafe
The Klosterkroa Kafe

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The monastery didn’t seem so big after all. But who knows? It might have had a towering height.

Model of the Monastery
Model of the Monastery

5. Other things on the island: The military folkemuseum, boat docks and ports,  little beaches and bathing spots, and quarantine houses. We failed to see these so-called quarentine houses (or their remnants?) because they lie on the other side of the island. It is said that in the 1800s, the navy and the fishermen needed to stay in these houses for quarantine to avoid spreading diseases and infection in Christiania (Oslo).

6. Peace and serenity. ❤

There are trekking routes and paths to roam around the island, but it was starting to get cold and dark so we took the boat back to Aker Brygge at 4pm. Afterwards, we took a quick stroll to Akershus Fortress. Yep. The fortress that stole the monastery’s stones!

Up there in Akershus festning is a really nice view of Aker Brygge and the Oslo Fjord.

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A little info about Akershus festning, it is a medieval castle built in the 1290s to protect the city. Oh wait. I already said that. 😛

Welcome to Akershus festning!
Welcome to Akershus festning!

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Inside the fortress is a sculpture route. Darn, the Norwegians really love statues and sculptures of all sorts! 😀 I have never seen a place so appreciative of this art form.

The Elephant Bird sculpture
The Elephant Bird sculpture
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A Hat sculpture

Bizarre sculptures, if I may say! 😉

Upon reaching a higher spot inside the fortress — tadaa! More cannons, and a lovely view of the city with Mount Kolsås in the background! Lovely, lovely view!

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The fortress is still in function today, serving as venue for official events and dinners. It also houses the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum and Norway’s Resistance Museum. The Norwegian Ministry of Defence and the Defence Staff Norway both have their headquarters in the fortress.

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Gosh, I love Norway! Hopefully, I’ll manage to visit the rest of the islands. But lately, the weather has been unfavorable. Autumn can be very wet and dark and cold and windy and foggy, you know. 😉 Awesome tour and until then! Time to get the laundry! Ha det bra!

The National Theatre in Oslo
The National Theatre in Oslo
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