Nov 112010
 

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 πŸ™‚

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?”

“Midnight.”

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 πŸ™‚

  16 Responses to “Midsummer Night's Dream”

  1. >> Time for a good, long sleep

    Fail πŸ˜›

    You’re *very* wrong about the airport train though. The train to Poland was about $60-70, and in fact A LOT more expensive than any train we took elsewhere. Don’t you remember we had a pile of cash at the ticket office and had to supply with more money and ATM withdrawals, despite the fact that we had saved up lots of cash in order to pay for the tickets (that we knew were expensive)?

    The airport train is about $12

  2. >>Fail πŸ˜›

    Haha yeah, just like every time πŸ˜›

    >>You’re *very* wrong about the airport train though

    $70??? DEFINITELY not.

    In any case, I just distinctly remember being shocked when I saw the ticket machine in the airport, as it was even more than the tube from Heathrow into London which I for years had regarded as the most crazily-priced transit I’d ever ridden (given the distance).

    (Plus $12 isn’t really the price, that’s the student half-price)

  3. That is crazy……now it is getting dark before 6 here in China (no daylight savings time change). I MUCH prefer long days that get dark late

  4. Ok, to clarify for (y)our readers, since you deliberately left a little (and very essential) piece of information out πŸ˜› : We went to Oslo by the Airport *Express* Train. That’s like a business class service that is super fast and runs every ten minutes at 250km/h. Sure, *we* paid about $12, but technically why would you count what other people pay? The same servince to London from Heathrow costs Β£16.50, that is waay more:

    http://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/lhr_underground.htm

    Like I told you, we also have a regular slow service train. It takes about an hour and stops at every stop between downtown Oslo and the airport. I can’t remember the exact price for this since I never bother to use it, but it’s a little less than the express train (for full price tickets). So naturally it’s a way better deal to do the trip in 1/3 of the time at super comfort for virtually the same price as the slow train.

    Regarding our Lvov – Krakow endaveour, from Wikitravel:

    “There is also a direct train from Krakow to L’viv once a day, plus one with a change. This costs 195 PLN” (http://wikitravel.org/en/Lviv)

    I calculated this to be $67.07, which matches well with my memory of the price. So I’m afraid, mr Klein, that your memory is deceiving you…this time πŸ˜›

  5. Wow…that certainly is quite a thoroughly researched answer regarding transit costs πŸ˜› OK, perhaps my memory was incorrect about the price of the Polish train. I’ve changed it to accurately reflect your findings.

    (Incidentally, I’m not sure why you say “I deliberately left out” that it was an express train – the exact words I used were “The airport express!”)

  6. @Andy: Yeah, seriously! I LOVE long summer days.

    Of course on the other hand, it gets dark at like 3pm there during the winter… :'(

  7. I used “deliberately” because we had a discussion regarding this *exact* same topic over email a few days prior to your post. I assumed you needed me to tell you that info because you wanted to use it in your post. Now that I saw it left out, I can only assume it was because you chose to leave it out to make Norway seem even more expensive that it is.

  8. Um…but I didn’t leave it out. I said “The airport express.” You said “you deliberately left a little (and very essential) piece of information out πŸ˜› : We went to Oslo by the Airport *Express* Train.”

  9. Quite a debate over something nobody else cares about. Talk about the girls!

  10. Haha agreed – not important to me either πŸ˜› It was just a small aside about my thinking it was quite expensive (but of course I did feel I should reply to Peder’s thorough reply :P)

  11. Nice comment Nick πŸ™‚

  12. Already looking forward too next year, hope too see you again then ;). It was a great night.. A night I`ll never forget ;).

  13. I like how there’s a gap between midnight and 4 am, but when I saw the picture, it all made sense. πŸ˜‰

  14. Actually, the party gets bigger each year and there were still loads of people around at 02:00. But since it’s the middle of the week, many people go home to catch some shuteye before work the next morning.

  15. Shuteye? Work? I know not these words.

  16. …which is why *we* stayed out until 04:00 and then afterpartied some more πŸ˜‰

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