Maybe it’s to down to the fact that as a wee girl growing up in the Highlands, the first time royalty came to Inverness it was King Olaf and not the Queen, that I have always felt a close affinity with Norway. I’ve been to Oslo four times now, and I can’t keep away. It is an unself-conscious city, comfortable in its skin, and they have great jazz festival in August www.oslojazz.no
When I arrived this afternoon, I wondered how it would be. I found it as laid back and welcoming as always, the peacock fountain hadn’t gone away, the cafes busy and there was Tai Chi class going on outside the opera house.
My tiny studio apartment is close to the city centre, and when I was out looking for the nearest Seveneleven, I found myself almost immediately in Karl Johans Gate. The doors of Oslo Cathedral are currently being guarded by the army, and all around the outside of the building are candles and flowers, gently fenced off in particular areas where people (this evening it seemed to be mostly groups of families) can gather quietly. The flowers are dying now.
Inside the cathedral, right in the centre, is a table covered in candles which visitors continue to light – together like some illuminated choir, these flickering little flames merge to create a bright light in the darkness, like so many stars in the sky.
I’d heard in news bulletins, that what strikes you is that the majority of visitors are so young and I know now why our attention has been drawn to this; somehow it’s not what you expect. There is a corner of the cathedral where people can write prayers and messages, and there are flowers, photographs, and toys which looked liked they had once belonged and had been loved by someone.
I’m here to write a travel piece, it is a privilege to enthuse people about this special city and I’m looking forward to discovering it all over again, starting from tomorrow.