Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Fortress and the Opera

We started our second day with a visit to Akershus, the fortress that guards the fjord. For scale, the boys are standing next to the outer stone walls - you can barely see them, camouflaged in.

We were the only ones who signed up for the tour, so the guide spent some extra time telling the stories in a way that would appeal to the boys.

It's fun seeing the different types of stone and construction that they used over centuries of renovations.  Remember that darkened doorway, halfway up the tower - we'll be up there shortly.

You can see the bricked up doorways near the top of the building, and that the type of stone changes a few times from the ground up.

This later tower addition is round, which shows that it dates from the time after artillery became effective.  Earlier towers were square, which became too easy to batter on their vulnerable corners.

This doorway was added into the fortress after it expanded and new outer walls were built.

Now we're in that doorway that I mentioned earlier.  There was a stone path leading downwards, when it was originally built.

Check out how the wooden beam fits into the stone groove. Ignore the black metal rod  - that holds up the plexiglass barrier that keeps tourists from falling to their deaths. There's another stone groove directly above it, and the wooden beams in those positions would have barricaded the door from intruders.  (Like Grond, the legendary battering ram in The Lord of the Rings!)

The last part of the tour had us traversing down dark stairs and through a tunnel . . .

to a room that once held a cannon installation that would hit attackers right at the base of the fortress walls.  The guide told the boys that they were about the right size to operate the cannons, because larger boys and men would be outside fighting.

It's nice that Q-ster is a steady enough cameraman these days that we can get a few shots of SwingDaddy and me together.

After lunch and ice cream, we visited the gorgeous Opera House.  The photo above is borrowed from their website, since you can't get this perspective without being on a boat in the fjord.

In the short time since its construction in 2008, the architecture has become legendary.  In addition to the concerts inside, they have pop music events on the roof, and everyone is welcome to walk on the roof and admire the view.  This was Buster's favorite city site out of the whole trip.

Most of the visible white stone is imported marble, but the stone that touches the water is hardier local granite.

The interior is gorgeous too - lots of natural wood.

They even thought about accessibility.  The straight line between my three and the other two tourists is a series of metal studs that a blind person can follow with a cane to take him or herself to the entrance.

Sunlight on the water and another lovely day!

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