Sunday, April 3, 2016

Winter Whiteout in Oslo, Norway

I believe that each one one of us, has a child within and that childlike spirit lives on, even when we grow up and get on with adult responsibilities and realities. We may reach great heights and achieve levels of fame and success, but there will always be that child in us, who wishes for the simple things.
Growing up in the tropical heat of Asia, I have nursed a lifelong dream of experiencing a white Christmas, just like those I see in the movies and TV. Of course, as I grew up, I realized that it is hard to predict and experience a white Christmas even in colder countries.

I set out on a European winter adventure in December and I was perfectly realistic about the low chances of seeing snow, much less, experiencing a white Christmas because snow season usually starts in mid-January.
But I guess, the universe had a different plan for me.
I traveled to the arctic city of Oslo, Norway in the Scandinavian region after spending a few days in Amsterdam and Brussels, and as soon as I set my first step, snow fell.
It was the first snowfall of the winter season. It wasn’t a passing snowfall, but a relatively strong and prolonged downpour resulting in a whiteout.
Oslo’s landscape quickly turned romantic, and all my childhood dreams came true.
While gorgeous and picturesque in any season, Oslo is especially breathtaking when covered in the purest of snowflakes. The atmosphere became even merrier as children brought out their sleds, and couples and friends, brought out their skates.
The promenade in front of the House of Commons turns to an ice skating rink
The park in front of the House of Commons quickly turned to an ice skating rink and soon, hundreds of Oslo locals were joining the skating fun.
The Royal Palace became even more regal while covered in white dust. Even as the temperature plummets well into the negative degrees, a lone royal guard stoos in attention, performing his duties to the Norwegian crown.
The Norwegian Royal Palace

A lone Royal Guard in front of the Norwegian Royal Palace
The people of Oslo seem oblivious to the cold. On the contrary, they savor the winter season with gusto and they embrace the cold weather like a long-lost friend.
As darkness fell, which is about 4pm, more and more locals came out of their homes and enjoyed the arctic weather in varying levels of winter coats, jackets and thermal wear.
On top of the snow, people were encouraged to enjoy the evening winter scene especially as all around Oslo, winter lights adorned houses and buildings, creating a perfect holiday mood.
Winter evening
I couldn’t help but join in the fun and tried my hand at skating (I failed miserably, haha).
Every now and then, I would just stand in the street admiring the winter whiteout before me. After all, it was something that I dreamed of for so long.
Me, grinning from ear to ear.
All the memories of my younger self in front of the TV watching white Christmas came back and I became a bit nostalgic. It took me a long time, but fate brought me there and I couldn’t be happier.
With my arms spread wide, looking up to the falling snowflakes, I swirled around and around, laughing like a child, while grinning ear to ear.


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