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I like cities. I don’t like to leave them. Frankly, too much green and nature makes me slightly apprehensive. Wide open, verdant space may seem idyllic in many respects, true, but it can hide suspect hazards. Like bear traps. Or vicious moles. Or dogs off-the-leash intent on crotch investigation. A park, however, is acceptable; a confined green space with lots of city around it seems ideal. Central Park in New York is great as you can see the reassuring buildings all around. Civilisation. Regent’s Park in London is another lovely option, as you can escape to Primrose Hill quickly, and Parque Guell in Barcelona also comes up to muster as you can see the city sprawled out below.

I now have another favourite city park to add to this list: the Sculpture Park in Oslo, or Vigelandsparken to give it its local name. It’s a park that also feels like an art gallery, and is a stone’s throw from the town centre. It contains 212 sculptures made of bronze and granite, which get a big city-slicker’s tick from me. Designed by Gustav Vigeland, they are full-sized likenesses of men, women and children in various states of play. The collection has a joyful, life-affirming feel and an exuberance that seems park-appropriate.

In the centre is a giant monolith, a central phallus that has 121 human figures crawling to its summit. This is slightly at odds with the sculptures on the bridge, as it’s somewhat reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno. I liked it, nonetheless—it is almost spaghetti-like in its twisty, entangled limbs. I think some darkness along with the light is to be promoted. The sculptures continue onward and outward from this central point, with fascinating groups of granite figures seemingly helping each other, or simply sitting, enjoying the sunshine. Which is recommended.

Vigelandsparken makes for a thoroughly entertaining jaunt from the urban confines not far away, and one could spend hours here (I did) knowing that the cover of the city is close by.

This blog’s editor once travelled to a rural area of Canada with Anton, who wore a wool blazer with elbow patches over his (borrowed) suspendered snowpants during outdoor winter activities. Needless to say, his recommendations for city excursions can be thoroughly trusted.

It has a joyful, life-affirming feel and an exuberance that seems park-appropriate.

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