When I first started planning this trip, Peder told me our only limitation was that we had to be back in Oslo by June 23rd. That’s the date of the nationally celebrated Midsummer Party; the longest day of the year, when everybody in Norway gathers their friends and family for a late-night picnic in a park, by a lake, or even in their own backyard. Beers and BBQ’s are the order of the day, as the sweet smell of roasting hot dogs fills the air and every public space seems to overflow with people having fun.
Although I’ve been struggling immensely to keep up with life during this trip – programming, Anki, blogging, and personal correspondence – Peder had somehow managed to organize an entire party at a lake in the outskirts of Oslo. But since our flight landed just a few hours before it was set to begin, we’d have to move quickly.
The plan was to take an express train into town, head straight to his house, drop off our bags, and start biking into the mountains as soon as humanly possible. If all went well we’d arrive just around the time the party began.
Midsummer Party here we come.
Now, I do have to admit – having grown so accustomed to Peder’s wildman nature, this particular gathering was actually quite a bit more low-key than I might’ve expected; a group of probably 100 or so of his friends chilling on picnic blankets near a beautiful lake, 30 minutes by bike from the city center.
(…Though I probably should’ve expected it – because he did tell me several days in advance that it’d be a very relaxed gathering! :P)
Once we arrived, we rounded up a small group to head into the woods and collect firewood…
…Using a 99-yen pocket saw, courtesy Sanjo QQ 🙂
And the remaining hours consisted of sipping drinks, grilling hot dogs, smoking hookah, and meeting many of Peder’s friends about whom we’ve spoken over the past few years.
The coolest part: when someone looked over at me and said “Guess what time it is?” I looked at the sky; it was still light enough to see easily across the lake. “I dunno, 9 or 10pm?”
As usual, Peder and I were among the last to leave the mountains, stomping out the fire and calling a cab for our few remaining friends before riding home just after 4.
Time for a good, long sleep 🙂