The run of public holidays at this time of year continued today with the traditional 1st May celebration – Labour Day. It also coincided with the first anniversary of my move to Oslo. My, how time flies!
Today was widely predicted to be a “different” 1st May due to the ongoing terror trial, but the day was embraced and celebrated, no doubt helped by the glorious weather, a welcome change for me after an awful weekend of rain on a trip back to England!
To kick the morning off, I took a meandering walk around Sognsvann at the very top of Oslo. I was joined by families, dogs, even ponies! The sun was out, dogs splashed around in the water and I just about resisted the temptation to take one home 🙂
Back downtown, the annual Labour Day parade kicked off along Karl Johans gate at 1pm. The only two parades I’d seen before today were for Constitution Day and Gay Pride, both very different in style, the former very formal and the latter very extravagant! One word to sum up today’s parade would be POLITICAL.
Well, political mixed with some awesome marching bands 🙂
The main themes were a continued opposition to the EU & EEA (EØS in Norwegian), a will to save the Aker Hospital (La Aker Leve!) and a general “jobs for all” message. The red flags were out in force. The general anti-EU feeling was interesting to see given the simultaneous Labour Day marches going on in Greece, Spain and France.
Here’s a video shot by Gerry of the marching bands… featuring a little cameo from yours truly at the very end 😉
There wasn’t really much attention given to proceedings at the courthouse, although the scenes in Bergen were somewhat different. Bergen was the home base of many of the young politicians killed on Utøya last year, so Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and other Labour party officials headed there to rally their party and Norwegians in general. But in Oslo, I get the feeling people are saving themselves for the national celebrations on 17th May. It’s going to be quite an emotional day this year.
As the day drew to a close, attention turned to football and the first round of the Norwegian Cup. The draw had turned up a pearler of an Oslo derby, Vålerenga playing “away” at old city rivals Lyn. For those unaware of the history, Lyn went bankrupt a few years ago and play in the lower leagues of Norwegian football at Bislett Stadion, where Vålerenga used to play. The game was featured live on NRK and thankfully, despite a late Lyn rally, Vålerenga clinched a 2-1 win. Here’s a photo of the masses in the away end borrowed from @hyllandinho (who I’m sure won’t mind!)
What a day!
Thank you Norway, it’s been quite a year.