Today, I was a bit of a Travel Detective. That’s a thing, right? I was looking through my older pictures for post inspiration and saw two photos I took of a huge Bronze Tiger (aka Tigerstaden) in Oslo. Truthfully, I took one of the photos because my friend and I were giggling at the…*ahem* anatomically correct display and the fact that a child was about to run up to the statue and slap that part of it. He was about to…have a ball. Ugh. I’m cringing at myself so I would totally understand if you unfollowed me right now.
I decided to research the history of Tigerstaden and turns out it has a very interesting story. First off, I learned that Oslo’s is also known as the “Tiger City’ (or Tigerstaden) which came as a bit of a surprise to me. Tigers emote fire and ferociousness and red and orange to me, none of which I would connect to Oslo. Oslo strikes me as cool, glass, icy, modern, the complete opposite. [Insert Song of Ice & Fire joke here]
So why Tiger City? I got sidetracked with this and went down that rabbit (or tiger) hole for a while. First mentioned in the poem “Sidste Sang” in 1870 by the Norweigan Poet Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, he describes a fight between a horse and a tiger, where the Tiger is meant to represent the wild, dangerous city and the Horse representative of the tame, safe countryside. Over time though, the description has evolved to become increasingly positive – that the city is exciting and ‘happening’ place. Rick Steves, a veteran travel guide corroborates this by describing a local’s definition – that in the 19th Century, country boys would describe the wild and crazy city of Oslo as ‘making a mark on their soul’. Pretty intense, huh?
For the city’s 1000th Anniversary in 2000, the 4.5m bronze Tigerstaden was erected in Oslo to commemorate the Anniversary as well as the city’s nickname. Since then, the statue has delighted and scared visitors alike. While I love the story behind it, I can’t say I agree with the description of the city. It’s a beautiful place, but doesn’t really burn bright (shoutout to William Blake) to me. The other famous statue “She Lies / Hun Ligger” feels more fitting – sleek, cool and modern. Regardless, I love the contrasts and feel even more ashamed that I only have two photos.
The aforementioned anatomical picture is below. Pretty ballsy of me to post it, right?
Oh well, maybe I’ll be able to change my stripes the next time and see culture before crassness. That was the last tiger joke, I promise. I won’t Shere (Khan) anymore. *ducks while you pelt me*
I’ve also written about:
Norway – the Holmenkollen Ski Jump. Check it out if you’re feeling especially Nordic this evening.