two crazy sculpture gardens

two crazy sculpture gardens

We just came back from Paris, and on this visit, we actually didn't set foot inside the Louvre. So, we didn't see Winged Victory or Venus de Milo or any of the other famous (and impressive) sculptures in the museum. (This time, at least.)  But walking by the Louvre on a lovely early autumn day, it reminded me of how great it is to go for long walks on vacation, and that made me think of a couple of the truly crazy sculpture parks we've visited--in very different parts of the world!

Buddha Park, Laos

Buddha Park, also known as Xieng Khuan, is a sculpture park just outside of Vientiane, Laos. Though some of the statues appear to be ancient religious sculptures of Buddha, none of them are very old. They might look like stone sculptures, but they're actually made of reinforced concrete. The whole park only came into existence in 1958, and is basically the pet project of one guy, who created all of these bizarre sculptures that merge Hindu and Buddhist imagery, along with some other wacky things that he just seemed to come up with, himself.

If you are visiting Vientiane, the Buddha Park is on the way to town, after you cross the International Peace Bridge from Thailand.  Laos is a closed society, making it really remote and isolated, at least to many travelers. But it's worth a visit, for sure. You can see many culturally significant historical sites in Laos, but just keep in mind that Buddha Park ain't one of 'em.

Vigeland Sculpture Park, Norway

The Vigeland Park in Oslo, Norway, is the largest sculpture museum or park, with works only by one artist. That artist is Gustav Vigeland, who lived from 1869 to 1943, and he made lots of statues of naked blob people in extremely unusual poses. Like, one of the sculptures is colloquially known as "Man Attacked By Babies."

Norway is not exactly inexpensive. We had a ridiculously expensive pizza lunch in Bergen, years ago, and we're still talking about how outrageous it was. But Norwegian Air is a new low-cost carrier, which, like WOW Air, is using a loophole in US Aviation regs to offer super low fares to Europe, including Oslo.  So, if you want to jump on one of those fares and check out this incredible, bizarre sculpture park--we recommend it!

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