Mid-Summer Celebration in Oslo

“Mid-summer” in Scandinavia is one of the biggest holiday weekends of the year and it was fortuitous that my recent visit to Oslo coincided with this.  Because it is a celebration of the summer solstice (June 21st) and longest day of the year, it hardly gets dark at all, and a festive atmosphere prevailed in Norway’s capital city.  After an impressive winter stay at the 116- room “Thief Hotel,” I returned, and once again was pleased with this stylish contemporary urban hideaway.  Room #818 had fantastic views of the sea and their rooftop terrace was in full swing with inviting couches, lap blankets and good French rosé flowing!

A band was playing on the harbor and there was a raft afloat with a bonfire lit!  We walked about 20 minutes along the quayside, passing what were obviously popular watering holes, to a fabulous restaurant, Solsiden, recommended by friends in Oslo.  Open only in the summertime, Solsiden is an open-air establishment, on the water, specializing in the freshest of local seafood.  I’m pretty sure I was the only American there – it was full of locals—and oh, what a find.

Solsiden’s signature dish is a “Seafood sampler for two” which is a colossal tower of every shellfish imaginable.  We were tempted to try it, but not quite hungry enough so started with grilled scallops with smoked celery and fresh Norwegian king crab legs which were sublime.  The second course was lobster and a pan-fried filet of catfish, again both outstanding.  We finished with fresh local strawberries (“jordbær”) and home-made vanilla ice cream… it doesn’t get any better than that!

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