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Livable fjord city in Norway—Norway-Oslo

LivablefjordcityinNorway—Norway-Oslo

Situated at the head of a 60-mile-long fjord,Oslo is by far Norway’s biggest city.

The city sprawls from a small historic core to encompass over a million people in its metropolitan area.

Nearly one in five Norwegians calls greater Oslo home.

Its streets are a mix of glassy high-rises,and especially in its finer residential neighborhoods,grand facades.

Oslo's harbor front hums with international shipping and a thriving cruise industry.

Upscale condominiums enjoy fjord-front settings,and people here seem to be living very well.

The city's grand boulevard,Karl Johans Gate,cuts from the train station through the center of town to the Royal Palace.It's a people-friendly boulevard,lively with restaurants,parks, and strolling crowds.

The boulevard is named for the man who built this palace,Karl Johan.He was the 19th-century Swedish king who ruled Norway after Sweden took Norway from Denmark.A military parade befitting Norway’s modest military power enlivens the scene.It ends up at the palace,where people gather to watch the daily changing of the guard.While Norway still has its royalty,they are figureheads tamed by a constitution.

Today, there's no question --it's the people who are in charge,and they're making their city increasingly livable.In the past,you would have dodged several lanes of traffic to get to the harbor front.

Oslo has made its town center quiet and pedestrian-friendly by sending most traffic through tunnels under the city.

They also levy a traffic-discouraging toll on cars as they enter town,which subsidizes public transport.

Many European cities are doing the same thing – tunneling and finding creative ways to help fund public transportation.People are retaking their river fronts, lakefronts,and harbor fronts.You can even hear the birds.

The historic Akershus Fortress overlooks Oslo's harbor.While once the menacing place from where Danish and Swedish overlords kept an eye on the Norwegian people,today the fortress seems to oversee only good times.

While it's still a military base,soldiers seem only to guard oblivious picnickers.Cannon-strewn ramparts offer inviting benches and fine harbor views.

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Livable fjord city in Norway—Norway-Oslo