I arrived in Norway around 6:00 pm on May 16th.
I was tired from all the traveling, having watched two episodes of Valkyrien with Sven Nordin and Pål Sverre Hagen before somewhat dozing off on the five-hour flight to London. In London, I had an additional six hour wait for my connecting flight to Oslo. Quite a boring start to an eventful trip.
After briefly getting settled into my hotel, which is conveniently located about 5 minutes from Oslo Central Station, I decided to walk towards the harbor and Aker Brygge. There was a cozy restaurant I wanted to visit again called Rorbua.
After almost getting lost meandering the streets trying to find it, I was able to walk in and was seated in one of the indoor tables with a candlelight. Located in Aker Brygge, this restaurant is situated behind Lofoten restaurant. Scandinavians, in general, are experts in creating cozy ambient setting. (Don’t you think?)
You could probably say I was a typical American guest – somewhat chatty but also curious, particularly when it comes to culture and entertainment. (I promise I will write a few blog posts on my favorite Scandinavian films and TV series).
At first I ordered the tørrfisk (or dried fish), which the waiter later told me was Norway’s oldest known export. And the tradition has continued to this day. Afterward, I ordered Smaken av Norge (Taste of Norway), a dish with whale steak, deer, beef, and reindeer on a skewer with vegetables and a small salad on the side.
Gratulerer med dagen.
That is the way Norwegians say it. And they are proud of it.
The highlight of the day in Oslo was following along the chilren’s parade, which despite my best efforts to plan ahead, I awoke from a two-hour nap to the sounds of children of all ages cheering: hipp hipp hurra, hipp hipp hurra, hipp hipp hurra. Music from the bands featured in the parade also rang through the streets, as most – if not all – of Oslo came out to cheer alongside the children. It’s a time-honored tradition going back as early as 1864, that honors Norway’s future generations.
Many Norwegians will wear their traditional bunads, the national costume. The colors of the bunads are based on where you and your family reside. They are also quite expensive; I estimate at least the equivalent of $5,000.00, if not more. If a Norwegian is not wearing their traditional bunad, then they will likely dress up in suits (for men) and formal dresses (for women). Though I think it is just personal preferences, from my general understanding.
After this celebration, Norwegians will celebrate with friends at pubs and in homes to party more.
Dancing, festive, and visibly happy.
[Note: pictures will come later, I promise. While I can take pictures in RAW, my camera currently does not save pictures in .jpg. Sorry for the inconvenience. I hope you enjoyed reading this story.]