New Year Oslo

So, my first New Year’s Eve in Norway under the belt. Viewed from inside the flat, it initially seemed pretty much like any other New Year celebrations I’ve viewed from within the comfort of my home, although this time there were more boats. The difference in the nautical perspective is primarily due to having previously lived in places that are solidly landlocked. The exception would be Denmark, but if you are living outside Copenhagen, Zealand feels so sparsely populated it seems you’d be hard pushed to get enough people together to muster up a posse, let alone have a whip round for a box of fireworks.

But it turned out that Oslo was quite different. Even a brief excursion out on to the balcony at 11:59 into the subzero temperatures revealed the presence of more than a boxworth of revelers on the streets below, before they were drowned out by the coordinated firework displays. I say coordinated, but it seems there were two independent factions competing for the attentions of the shitfaced revelers gathered in the harbour area in the city. One display seemed to be coming directly from the harbour by the old fort, while the remaining fireworks appeared to be launched a little further away, probably from somewhere close to the opera house. On top of this, all the ferries starting firing off their foghorns, including the 12 deck Oslo-Kiev overnight ferry that is docked just down the road and which has the mother of all “parps”.

These days, New Years Eve firework displays are more of a marketing opportunity, with each city around the globe trying to outdo everyone else, planning complex and coordinated efforts that emphasize a particular international landmark (think Sydney Bloody Opera house or the Eiffel Tower) or geographical feature (synchronized firings along the banks of the Thames) accompanied by gushing commentaries from the media. It’s unlikely the whole affair did do much to attract the international business community, or boost winter tourism in Oslo. The city´s chaotic combination of assaults on the visual and auditory senses reminded more me of the back garden Bonfire Night displays of my youth. A firework pulled out of the box at random, a cursory glance by failing flashlight at the instructions on the side. Placing, lighting and relighting the touchpaper and realizing too late that you have nailed a rocket to the fence.

One Response to “New Year Oslo”

  1. janh1 Says:

    I’m just trying to imagine the “mother of all parps…”
    Happy New Year!

    Please let’s hear about the back garden fireworks displays of your youth. No rush. By Nov 5th will be fine.

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