Saturday, June 7, 2008

Festning Festival

Boom! Boom! Boom! The cannons at the festning exploded in celebration of Norway's independence. Today is the official opening date for the festning, and at 12 noon their cannons shook the earth and belched giant smoke rings into the perfect blue sky.

Gerd works with Matematikksenteret and Kristiansen Fortress, and last night she told us not to miss this day! It was tricky getting up so "early" after last night, but we made it in good time. Inside the fortress, costumed soldiers beat drums, marched, and smelted lead bullets.

Bang! The candy cannon went off, blowing a barrel-load of caramels up in to the sky onto a crowd of children. "Candy! Candy! Candy!" Anna screeched. She soon had the crowd of young children chanting it. Here's a video of the candy cannon, unedited. Feel the anticipation as the cannon is loaded. Hear the children screaming "Candy! Candy! Candy!" (which later changed into "Godteri! Godteri! Godteri!") Be sure to catch the exciting finish. The cannon overshoots the crowd, pelting an old lady standing all by herself, who is then mobbed by 50 screaming children. Good fun!

We unexpectedly met Evalina and Daniel here, with Anna's friends Sophia and Eva. The girls had a great time running around climbing on the cannons. The festning, which is right next to our international school, overlooks sentrum Trondheim and the Nidaros cathedral.

We listened to a jazz band, ate popsicles, and explored the coves and buildings of the festning. A classical guitarist/singer played in the chapel of the festning It was haunting and beautiful... mmmm. The acoustics in the small enclosed space were amazing. Here's an audio clip to hear her playing and singing. I wish I'd recorded the whole thing. I'll need to find out who she is and if she has a CD.

Pam and I headed into the Donjon, the central stark white building in the center of the festning. It is now a museum highlighting the struggles of the Norwegian army, farmers, and skiers against the invading Swedes. It struck a sympathetic tone with the poor Swedes and the troubles they faced as well. Norwegians and Swedes are now like brothers... though they enjoy teasing each other like brothers as well!

Soon, the Norwegian Air Force band struck up some lively tunes. (This is the only band officially licensed by the Norwegian government, so we're told). We slipped off with the kids to the Red Shoe show, in a bunker next to the gift shop (also in a bunker). The show was designed especially for 1-3 year olds, but our kids were fascinated (and, well, me and Pam were, too). A woman in a leotard performed a very engaging act with dance, rhythm, and peculiar red shoes, while a man provided percussion as a soundtrack. It was very inviting and very well-paced, ending with all the kids experimenting with shoes and drums. Fun!

The event lasted about 2 hours, perfect timing for children. Finally, here's Pam with the lady who made it all possible, my dear friend Gerd. Tusen takk, Gerd!

We've done so many exciting things this week! What will our final month hold?

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