Tomorrow is the Norwegian Constitution Day, the biggest national celebration in Norway. People dress up in traditional suits (bunad) or clothes in red, white and blue (the colors of the Norwegian flag). Everyone say “Happy Birthday!” to each other. It’s a day for many dear traditions, such as marching in parades and eating as many ice creams as you can.
This year’s celebration will be different. The reason doesn’t really need further explanation with the whole world being affected by the pandemic.
Then again, no May 17ths have ever been the same…
Are you ready for a walk down the memory lane with me?
I was the proud co-host of an amazing champagne breakfast. This is probably the May 17th when I managed to uphold most of the traditions that go with this celebration. I got a champagne headache before leaving the breakfast table, but still walked in the parades and ate an ice cream, despite the weather being rather chilly. Looking at the photos from last year, I realize there is actually way more snow lying around right now.
The very first photo
I was ten years old. My mom handed me kodak camera and here is the result. I don’t really remember much of this day, only that it was kind of uncomfortable. I think it had something to do with the competitions that had been arranged in the school yard; jumping around with a sack around the legs, carrying a potato with a spoon in the mouth – that kind of activities. But the ice creams I ate, made it all a lot better.
Karl Johans gate
If there is one place you definitely should experience on this day, it’s Karl Johans gate – the main street of the city of Oslo. Here you can watch parades, orchestras and bunads from all parts of Norway, and it’s a long-standing tradition that the royal family of Norway waves from a balcony of the royal palace, the yellow building which you see at the end of the street in the photo. The king usually gives a beautiful and unifying speech about what we actually celebrate on May 17th, our including and free society ❤
Honestly, I thought I might faint climbing up and down hills to get to this place.
But the struggles were worth it.
This lighthouse, on the south side of Varangerfjorden, was established in 1910 as a result of growing traffic connected to the mining activities in Kirkenes.
During the 2nd World War, German troops took over the lighthouse, and before they retreated in 1944, the whole station was demolished.
When it was rebuilt after the war, it was given a modern, functionalistic style by the famous architects Blasted and Munthe-Kaas.
Bøkfjord was de-manned in 2006.
The station is owned by the state and protected as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Act.
The Coastal Administration is cooperating with local interests to facilitate alternative use of the premises, meaning: You can book it for a night!
And if you don’t have the power to walk to this pearl of a place, you can call for a boat. As we did on the way back (not because of the «power issue» – some of us had to catch a flight in the afternoon, and boating back seemed safer than walking in order to make it to the airport in time).
As the Norwegian saying goes: Everybody agreed it had been a nice trip.