My second day in Oslo started well with a great gym session and a hearty buffet breakfast in the lovely Scandic hotel that I’m staying at. Busy day ahead I made a swift change to start my day. The current weather is -7C so I always learnt from mum to layer up!
First appointment of the day was the with the official LGBT organisation in Norway. They were very busy but they were very welcoming and showed me around their offices and I met all the staff and learnt about the fantastic work they do within our LGBT community. Their work is international based too, not just within Norway. I was very impressed with how their work ranges from working within local schools teaching the teachers to deal with LGBT issues, to working with LGBT refugees in oversea countries. I had the opportunity to tell them about my projects, and it so happens that my main project is closely related to the theme of this year’s Oslo Pride. I was delighted to receive an invitation from Fredrik Dreyer to come back for Oslo Pride and talk about Pride Families.
Next stop was the Opera House. And wow what an impressive building it is, costing a staggering 400 million pounds to build. We met the retired Primadonna of the Oslo Opera, Lene Skalleberg, that used to dance in all the big shows and she showed us around this impressive state of the art building. What I’m learning about the culture in Norway is that music and art is very important here. With my travels around the city I’ve noticed that they have invested lots into new buildings in Oslo from a new museum for the artist Munch, the National Museum and a brand new library.
After the Opera House, it was on to the Town Hall where I met the Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen. She had just come from meeting Prince William and Kate (who are here in Oslo at the same time as me) straight to having a meeting with me. I felt incredibly honoured. She was such a kind, gentle and honest lady and I learnt so much about this fantastic city Oslo. Being here only for a couple days, you totally notice how clean and tidy the city is. So it was no big shock when I learnt that Oslo has been chosen to be the Best Green city in Europe for 2019. Her main work so far in her reign is to close the gap between the wealthy and poor citizens in Oslo and was telling me about the west and east divide. One of her policies was to get rid of the parking spaces in the city, reducing the amount of cars to the city. Reason is to encourage more people using the efficient public transport and reduce the amount of pollution in the city. This apparently is a massive problem in Oslo especially when it is cold because the city is surrounded by mountains and this traps the polluted air over the city. I then finished my meeting with a lovely tour of the town hall and I managed to see all the beautiful artwork in the building.
What a fantastic day I’ve had, met some amazing influential people. Time to get some well needed beauty sleep as tomorrow I will be meeting the Child and Equality Minister and go to the red carpet event the Gay Gala.