Monday, October 17, 2005

Where the Hell is Torshov

Torshov is a suburb of Oslo about 4 km NNE of Oslo centre. The name Torshov comes from Tors Haug (Thor's Hill), as this was a place where rituals connected with the god Thor (from Norse mythology) were carried out. Torshov is one of Oslo's jewels - this is an exquisite area for walking, with a very different feel from that of the rest of Oslo. To date we have not witnessed any strange goings on but there are a few odd folk in the area!

It is one of the few parts of this city built with an architectural plan, and has many open spaces and parks. Two things you should see while you are at Torshov are the Ox (Bull) Fountain (Oksefontenen) on Hegermanns plass, and Torshovparken with its fountains, sculptures and pavilion. On New Year's Eve this is one of the places where people gather to set off their fireworks. We were lucky enough to witness this New Year 2004/2005, it was like the outbreak of World War 3. There is a spectacular view of a large part of the city and Oslo Fiord. Sometimes there are outdoor concerts and theatrical performances in the park bandstand.

The river Akerslava runs through the area, directly south into the Fiord. There is a fantastic paved walk the length of the river right into the centre of Oslo. The river falls quite steeply in places over rapids and many dams built to provide water and power for the many industrial premises that were established in the area. The geography makes for spectacular ice formations during the winter months as the water and spray are frozen into ice sculptures. Many of the traditional industries, brewing, milling paper making etc have moved away to be replaced with more modern businesses, restaurants bars and attractive apartments. As an alternative you can follow the river northwards passing through some of Oslo´s hi-tech industrial and University parks and campuses, to its source at lake Maridalsvannet. A trek we have yet to complete. As is the case throughout Oslo living accommodation and industry are closly intermingled.

We have an apartment in Erika Nissens Gate, a road opposite the entrance to Torshovparken. A delightful spot, well endowed with trees and open spaces and conveniently situated for access to the city as a whole. Trams 11, 12 or 15, or bus 30 will take you from Torshov to the centre of Oslo and bus 20 provides access across town to places such as Frogner Park and Major-Stua, a large shopping area. It is also possible to walk into the centre of Oslo by a variety of interesting routes in about 20 minutes. Walking or using public transport, tram, bus, metro or train is one of the pleasures of visiting Oslo. Although you would be well advised to avoid travelling a peak times unless you are into playing sardines.

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