Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Norway, Land of the Generous Sea

Brass bands and a great parade had heralded my own arrival in Oslo, Norway's unpretentious seat of government, cultural capital, and largest industrial center and port. It was Constitution Day, May 17, the anniversary of Norway's proclaimed independence in 1814 after nearly four centuries of Danish rule.
Every last one of the capital's nearly half million inhabitants seemed to be lining Karl Johansgate, Oslo's abbreviated version of Fifth Avenue or the Champs Elysées. A blizard of red-white-and-blue flags fluttered as school children by the thousands marched toward Slottsparken - the Palace Park - for benevolent royal review. Many teen-agers wore scarlet caps and joked and pranced in ragged ranks like half-broken colts; they were the russ, students anticipating a traditional month of merriment and hijinks now that their secondary schooling was almost over.
"It is like a happy children's crusade, ikke sant-is it not so?" An elderly spectator beside me at the curb had taken me, correctly for an Austrian. "Look at them," he said with almost peternal pride. "No soldiers, no guns. No old war veterans with faces. Just children!"
National Geographic, July 1971

5 comments:

tonje said...

Oh dear!
are u in norway now??????
i haven't been on a computer in decades sinca i now work full time.
Do u have ur aus cell phone with u?
i'm actually gonna go call u now!

t said...

didn't get through and i just read the bottom-line of the text- so ur probably not in norway. so, when are u coming?

I don't think there are any ferries to svalbard, never heard of it. and as kine says, don't put so much thrust in that list, we're gonna show u everything:)

Flo Flo said...

I have to disappoint you, I'm not in Norway yet. But I think I'll arrive in Oslo around June 27th. Cool the beer, I'm coming

Anonymous said...

Oslo on june 27? I'll be there waiting for you with a lot of cold beer. Hurra!
CriCri

Anonymous said...

my beer is coldest, because it is further north. CriCri, you have to admit that my beer is coldest!

olav o