Ice Music Festival: First day in Norway

With great pleasure and extreme exhaustion I announce that we made it to Geilo (pronounced Yay-lo)! The journey took me 17 hours from my house to Geilo. The flight to Oslo was really quick, I managed to sleep during most of it, which was great bearing in mind I had slept 2 hours and woke up at 3 am to catch the coach from Oxford to Gatwick Airport. Unfortunately, my luggage was ripped apart to my surprise when I got it at Oslo, so I had to make ends meet and get a new one (thankfully, expenses covered by Norwegian Airlines).

I can’t say I massively liked Oslo, and I’m really sorry because I thought it would be amazing. I only spent there 3-4 hours and the impression I got is that it’s a city under construction, with countless malls (which makes sense considering weather conditions), shit roads (pardon my French), and not many things to do unless you want to visit the museums. I may be wrong, so I’ll just leave it there – Oslo’s impression to me was not good…

Train to Geilo: 3 hours and 20 minutes. I was so tired by the time we were on board. Again, slept about an hour. I really liked the random places the train stopped. Geilo is a really beautiful town, mostly known as a ski resort. Right now it’s covered by snow. It gets dark at 4pm and I think the sunrise is at 9:15 am. I met Ivar at the train station, the project manager of Ice Music festival 2011. He told me how he got involved in the IMF last year, doing research for his social anthropology course, which is very interesting and I wish it was in English so that I could read it!

Very briefly, I met some of the people that are involved in the festival. It’s so interesting to see how everyone contributes, from the architects to the sculptors, musicians, volunteers… Everyone is friendly, it’s very pleasant to be there, as Ivar put it, IMF is about “having a laugh”, and that’s also attributed to its small-scale character according to him. It’s also strange to see so many British people involved in the project, mainly in the creative part (music carving and landscape building). I am uploading a picture just to get the idea of what it looks like today, the first day, with -10 degrees… They have been working on the stage since last Friday, and it’s almost ready for tomorrow.

Bill Covitz, the sculptor, supports that “everything can be made by ice”, so this year he was asked to make the first IsLangeleik. The Langeleik is a traditional Norwegian stringed instrument, for which I don’t know much yet, but I will find out very soon. Here’s a picture of him carving it.

Everyone is excited about tomorrow, the first day. I will go up to the mountain again, at Kikut (pronounced See-kout), hoping that I’ll get used to the altitude (about 1100 metres). I was also told that BBC, ABC and Radio 4 will be here on Friday to cover the festival, so that could also be interesting.

Until tomorrow…

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