Falling into autumn

Autumn in Norway means increasing darkness and decreasing temperatures. The Norwegian word, høst, literally translates to the main activity of this season: harvest. Though agriculture is no longer as dominant as it once was in Norway, there are still remnants of its influence in the culture and lifestyles of many Norwegians.

Østbanehallen Oslo

This weekend, Østbanehallen offered a taste of autumn with guided tours of the newly refurbished hall and its assortment of restaurants. Conveniently situated by the Opera House and Karl Johans gate, Østbanehallen is the oldest part of Oslo Central Station and offers a glimpse into Oslo’s history and how rapidly the city has adapted to a changing world.

Fjøla Restaurant serves up samples of Norwegian classics

A selection of chocolate goods sold at Dropsen

A variety of snacks offered by Bella Bambina

View of Ostbanehallen

Whether you are in the mood for traditional Norwegian food or an American burger, you are bound to find restaurants to suit your tastes at Østbanehallen!

XOXO HONG PHUC

On top of the world

View of Manhattan from the One World Observatory

On 29 May, 2015, the One World Observatory officially opened its doors to the public, allowing visitors to gaze at the glory of New York City from the top of the tallest building in the Western hemisphere. This summer, I finally experienced the breathtaking views and interesting displays offered from the top of One World Trade Center, colloquially known as the “Freedom Tower”.

The Freedom Tower is a spectacular monument to the intellectual height of humanity. Constructed in the vicinity of Ground Zero, the building is a defiant testimony of how America stands resolutely for liberty despite challenges to her ideals.

View of the Statue of Liberty from the One World Observatory

View of the Statue of Liberty from the One World Observatory

The One World Observatory experience begins with a journey through the foundation of the building, leading to an elevator ride that shows a time-lapse video of New York City transforming from barren lands to a forest of skyscrapers. Then, you can take in a panoramic view of the landscape below and wonder at the feats of greatness achieved by humanity to this day.

 

Even if you cannot make it to the Observatory, the Freedom Tower itself is a sublime sight to behold, both day and night.

The Freedom Tower, day and night

If you are ever in NYC, seeing the Freedom Tower and visiting the One World Observatory is truly “an experience above”.

XOXO HONG PHUC

The Ibsen Museum in Oslo

Henrik Ibsen, dubbed the “father of modern drama”, is the most performed playwright in the world behind William Shakespeare. At the Ibsen Museum in Oslo, you can see a comprehensive exhibit featuring the writer’s life and work and go on a guided tour of the apartment where he resided in the last 11 years of his life.

The Beatles exhibition

John Lennon was first introduced to the works of Ibsen by his wife, Yoko Ono. We can see how much he was influenced by Ibsen throughout the subsequent years; for instance, the White Album‘s original working title was A Doll’s House.

It is no surprise that Lennon was so deeply influenced by Ibsen; there are many parallels between their lives. Ibsen considered himself a modern man and his writings, like Peer Gynt and A Doll’s House, were considered scandalous to many of his contemporaries because they questioned established traditions and social norms. Ibsen’s dramas are still performed around the world and continue to influence contemporary culture and film.

Ibsen’s last apartment

Henrik Ibsen and his wife, Suzannah, bought their centrally-situated apartment in 1895, after Ibsen had found international acclaim as a writer. It is thus quite grand and extravagant for those days. The Norwegian Folk Museum has restored most of the home with the original furniture, fixtures, décor and colours from Ibsen’s time, with the help of Ibsen’s descendants and the Ministry of Culture.

Henrik Ibsen's study

Ibsen’s study

The evening parlour with furniture chosen and arranged by Ibsen himself

The dining room

Henrik and Suzannah Ibsen's bedrooms

Henrik and Suzannah Ibsen’s bedrooms

The bathroom is made of mahogany, imported from outside of Norway

I was quite impressed by Ibsen’s apartment and how affluently he lived. It seems that he lived almost like royalty in his last years and even waved to tourists from his window. Even though I have not read any of his works, it is still interesting to learn about his life and personality, especially as one of the most famous Norwegians in the world.

XOXO HONG PHUC