Roadtrippin’ in Search for Christmas
It’s crazy to believe that in just two short weeks, my time here in the Czech Republic will be over and I’ll be back on a plane to the United States. I’m trying to absorb as much as I can now for the time being while also trying to manage writing my final essays, preparing for presentations and studying for exams.
So last weekend, I journeyed to the north, more specifically to Norway and Sweden. I ventured there with my friends and we decided to stay in Oslo, Norway and to rent a car to journey wherever the road would take us! (Of course I need to visit Oslo while I was in Europe because I named my cat Oslo after the city! and I love the song “Oslo in the Summertime” by Of Montreal so I had to see what all the fuss was about!) Immediately upon arriving at midnight, we were reminded of the cold and that seemed to have abandoned Prague. I knew we wouldn’t be able to escape winter for long. Keeping in good spirits about the circumstances of the weather with the fluffy stuff seemingly blanketing the ground, we made it to out AirBnB, so late at night, but it was like a Christmas miracle.
Then, the next day after sleeping in comfier beds than our ones in Prague, we rented a car and we were off! We decided to spend the day in Oslo so we went to the National Gallery. Ever since coming to Europe, I love going to the art museums because each city has influences of different styles of art, the influence of history on artwork and there is famous artwork there that I’ve only ever seen a picture of back home. But now, seeing it in person is just mind-blowing. In Oslo, I got to see “The Scream”.
“The Scream” at the National Gallery of Oslo
Additionally, we walked on the Oslo Opera House, which is made of marble and looks like an iceberg with inclining slopes. From there we could see the open port of Oslo as well as the Bar Code Buildings, which shows the industrialized development that Oslo is currently undergoing. It’s growing incredibly fast in size!
Opera House of Oslo!
Then, the next day we went on our road trip to the country side of Norway and Sweden. The entire day, it rained consistently. At least it wasn’t snow though! We found a place where we were able to hike a little bit on huge rocks that were situated by the water. It was so incredibly breathtaking. It reminded me of the Adirondacks in New York with all of the rocks exposed from the glaciers immersed among the lakes. I missed being in the outdoors and I felt so much better getting out of the city even if it was raining. It was slick on the rocks though and my friend even fell and cut her hand open! Then, we went to a small port town in Sweden. We went hiking again on top of a cliff that overlooked the city which was a cool view.
We weren’t planning to go any further for the day but we made a quick decision to just go a little bit farther south in Sweden to a city called Uddevalla. My friend actually saw the city on a postcard and thought it would be nice place to explore. I’m glad we did and had that chance because we went to a park and we saw a bunch of other people. We were so confused as to why so many people were at a park on such a rainy day but then we saw smoke in the sky, which turned out to be the Walpurgis Night! This happens every April 30 where a fire is lit to signify the “witch burning”. In different countries there is different folklore about the tradition. Most of the witch burnings festivals are called Walpurgis after the Saint Walpurga who was an abbess with her feasting day being April 30. In Sweden, it has more to do with the coming of spring and the public gathers to watch the witch burning together while music usually plays. In the Czech Republic, the day is called “the burning of the witch” and bonfires are built and when the smoke arises, it signifies the witch riding off of the witch on her broom. Then on May 1st, it’s called the “day of those in love” where couples find a cherry blossom tree and kiss under it. I was glad that we were able to see the witch burning because I was bummed that I wouldn’t be in the Czech Republic for it What a coincidence!
Overlooking the Walpurgia Night “Witch Burning”
Road tripping was a fun experience. Living in a city and using public transportation, I missed being able to just be in a car with other people and listen to music. It feels so freeing and calming. Norway and Sweden reminded me a lot of Upstate New York with the forests and fields and I can feel the homesickness overwhelming me, but I know that I’ll be home soon enough and wish I was back here.
This adventure was in the search of Christmas. We were surrounded by tall pine trees of Norwegian wood and snowfall in the dead of night. We were explorers of the land that I call Christmas- there were miracles, snow, ugly sweaters and the joy of exploring a place called Norwegia like it was our living room on Christmas morning.
Driving down to the Coast of Norway, singing a song