I found myself on a plane from Málaga to Oslo one November morning, confused after a long night. I awoke as my plane approached the airport in Rygge, a small town about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Oslo.
I am usually obsessive about pre-planning my journeys, but I was ill prepared for Oslo. The most pressing problem was how would I get to Oslo from Rygge? Two gregarious truckers offered to give me a lift. After hitching a ride and being forced to visit several duty-free liquor shops with them, I dumped my bags in a pension and set upon Oslo alone.
The person I needed to meet wasn’t scheduled to arrive until the next day, so I had plenty of time to kill. Around noon, I stumbled upon the Oslo Opera House and hiked up its sloped roof. Being a frigid winter day, visitors were scarce, and the sloped roof of the Opera House seemed like my own private perch. I relaxed on the cold, hard floor, ate my packed lunch, enjoyed the brisk wind, and warmed myself with Norway’s finest Linje Aquavit.
A few hours after noon, as is the norm in Norway at that time of the year, darkness descended upon Oslo. To my delight, snow flurries soon followed, whitening the freshly blackened cityscape. It had been the better part of a decade since I saw snow, and I wasn’t going to admire it from behind a window. Much like on the roof of the Oslo Opera House, I had the streets to myself as I meandered amid the powdery snow.
Bitter, overcast, and snowless weather persisted for the remainder of the weekend. Even so, the miserable weather reminded me how lucky I was the day before to see the opera house scintillate under blue, November skies… and how warm and invigorating it felt to be reunited with snow.