No(r)way, Dude

We were scheduled to leave our hotel for the Frankfurt airport at 5:00 AM.  Both my roommate and I went to sleep sometime around 10:00 PM and awoke early to the ringing of his phone.  I looked at mine, and saw that it read a time of 8:30 PM.  Knowing this was wrong, I asked him what time it was.  I must include at this point that the hotel room had no clock, save the one on the T.V. which only showed itself when it was on. His clock read about 4:00, so we got up, made some instant hotel room coffee and slowly collected our belongings.  When we got to the lobby, we found none of our traveling companions and congratulated ourselves for being the only punctual and responsible members of the group.  At about 5 minutes to 5:00, we started to worry and went to the front desk to call the other rooms.  We told the receptionist that our wake-up call had not come, and fearing that the same thing had happened with the other rooms, we wanted to make sure they were awake and on their way.  He told us that indeed the wake-up calls had been arranged for 4:30, but since it was only 2:00 AM they wouldn’t be coming for another 2 ½ hours.  So much for being on top of things.

     Skipping the next (boring) 14 hours, we arrived in Storås, Norway (a two hour drive from Trondheim).  The Storåsfestivalen is out in the woods, in a location that would appear familiar to anyone from the Pacific Northwest.  There was a “clearing” which wasn’t entirely clear of trees, where the performances were staged.  In some of the trees there were makeshift forts, some which were current and in use, as well as others which looked as though they had been destroyed and abandoned, presumably from previous years.  There were what looked like small, crude shrines (or maybe art installations?), craft booths and makeshift taverns littering the relatively small forest arena.  It looked like the encampment of a cult of anarchist loggers.  The festival-goers were similar to those found at other Western European festivals.  Often covered in mud, vomit, or both, sometimes actually in the process of vomiting on themselves, but appearing to be having a good time.  The vomiting seems to be an accepted purging, an inconvenient but necessary requirement for the continuation of good times, and in no way indicates an end to the imbibing.  These folks are usually happy, but sometimes aggressively so, to the point that in encountering them it is hard to tell if you are being greeted or attacked.  We found our crowd to be enthusiastic, and although the band had never played in Norway before, a small group of them knew most or all of the lyrics.

   storasfestivalen  Also playing at the festival were Bjorn Again, Kaizers Orchestra, The Easy Star Dub All-Stars, and The Valentourettes, to name a few.  After the show, we were fed a traditional Norwegian meal, which consisted of boiled potatoes covered in a beef and pork stew with dumplings, accompanied by some kind of unleavened flat bread.  Although I am grateful to our hosts, it became clear to me why I don’t see many Norwegian restaurants back at home.  That did not stop me from eating as much of the nameless stew as my body could semi-comfortably contain.  Stuffed, we proceeded to our lodgings, the Saga Trollheimen (lots of laughs over that one).  This hotel consisted of a rough grouping of log lodges that, despite their newness seemed like some kind of medieval dormitory.  On the top floor of our lodge was a lounge with what looked like wool plugging up breezy holes, and which smelled distinctly of cut wood.  It was here that we hung out briefly (just long enough to get another beer down) before retiring to get the maximum possible 3 hours of sleep.  At 3:00 AM we departed for the Trondheim airport, having been in Norway for about 9 hours.

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