The four days we spent in Oslo were enough time to see much of the city and learn some of the history of the Norwegian people. The Constitution Day celebration was a mass of humanity around the Royal Palace and the main street leading up to it. The featured event was the Children’s Parade, in which tens of thousands of students from around the region marched with their classmates and alumni from their schools. It lasted hours, yet unlike an American parade, there were no floats, candy throwing, or performances. Simply people walking together holding flags and playing music to show their patriotism. We heard songs ranging from Norwegian folk music to Michael Jackson’s Beat It. Most of the women were in traditional period dress, complete with a convenient cell phone purse that clipped to their belts. (Hello!? Why don’t we make this a functional element of fashion today?)
Men had on period clothing as well, but most wore modern suits. Needless to say, the Carisches were underdressed.
We heard celebratory music and parties late into the night and the next morning saw quite a few people still walking around in their period clothing, although looking much more haggard than the day before.
On Sunday morning we picked up a rental car for our cross-country drive to Stavanger on the west coast. Within ten minutes of leaving Oslo, we began seeing a very different side of Norway. Urban streets and sleek modern buildings were replaced with beautiful landscapes alternating between cliff-lined valleys and dark blue open bays. The famous fjords of Norway were formed millions of years ago when glaciers carved deep valleys cutting below sea level. The result is an awe-inspiring natural environment. Almost equally as impressive are the feats of human engineering developed to access this area. Our drive included numerous long tunnels and expansive bridges, giving the girls ample reason to hold their breath which meant Brian and I had brief periods of total silence in the car. (fyi- Alison cheats by breathing through her nose.) We also learned the fun fact that the Norwegian word for “speed” is “fart”, which has been fodder for a great deal of kid road tripping hilarity (e.g. – “Dad, slow down or you’ll get a farting ticket!”)
The 7-hour drive to Stavanger turned into 9 hours due to our frequent stops to enjoy the view and take photos. In fact, Brian got a little camera happy and became obsessed with getting shots of the sheep and baby lambs we began passing on the last part of the drive. (Sorry, Carisch, but I’m calling you out on this.)
However, he will be in a very camera-happy place today. We’re now in Stavanger and its already living up to it’s reputation as an amazingly scenic coastal area. Expect many more photos to come.