Første mai

Like most of Europe, we had a work holiday första maj (May 1st)—for Swedes, a time both to march in support of International Workers’ Day, and to recuperate from the annual Valborgsmässoafton (Walpurgis Night) bonfires. This year’s timing also made for a three-day weekend, so we took the opportunity to connect with our broader Scandinavian community, hopping the 50-minute flight to visit friends in Oslo, Norway.

After a long Scandinavian winter (like Stockholm, Oslo had snow just last week), the weekend brought a gratifying taste of spring. We joined many enthusiastic Norwegians in exploring the budding Østmarka wilderness on Oslo’s southeast border.

Norway’s Arbeiderpartiet, and a diverse crowd of related activists, turned out in force for the første mai demonstrations around Youngstorget—accompanied by Per Palle Storm’s labor monument Pioneren, as well as the looming Regjeringskvartalet, still marked by the 2011 Oslo Attacks. Nearby, Stinius Fredriksen’s 1950 memorial to FDR (top)—erected, in part, for his influential Look to Norway speech—looked on from a luminous forsythia bower.

Many thanks to our hosts, former San Francisco roommates Matt and Laura (plus effervescent daughter Evelis), for helping make even our quick trips instructive and nourishing.

Oslo alive

First weekend of fall at Rustadsaga Sportsstue and Ekebergparken in the capital of Norway.