Note: This post originally appeared at Travelocity.com.
Arriving the morning of New Year’s Eve, it was a winter wonderland, with two feet of newly fallen snow. That first day is a blur, with visits to Frogner Park, the Holmenkollen ski jump and the Royal Palace. We had dinner at her cousins’ house above the city, where neighbors had lit candles in their front yards, illuminating the snow and giving the effect of a full moon every 50 feet. At midnight everyone came outside and lit fireworks in front of their homes, adding color to the black and white scene. I fell in love that trip – not with the girl I went to visit, but with Oslo.
It was eight years until I would visit a second time, this time in summer. Backpacking around Norway with a friend, we stopped in Oslo. If winters encouraged people to stay in their homes, start fires and get cozy, summers did the opposite, pulling people into the city and into the parks with its warmer temperatures and barely-ending daylight. That’s the image that has stayed with me all these years – group after group of young people on the wide expanse of Frogner Park barbecuing, singing, playing Frisbee and appreciating the long days. The fountains and flowers only added to the scene. Norway in summer was truly perfect.
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