We see some moments as epic, but what makes them epic? You see Epic is subjective, it is constrained and defined by what we have experienced. This is not a negative thing, this is an almost liquid setting, what is epic for one is mundane for the other, this is merely how it is. And for me the setting starts with a daydream. This happened this morning as I was enjoying a cup of coffee. I was sitting on a couch in a shopping mall, enjoying a lovely cuppa. My mind wandered away. So enjoy the story for what it is, a mere story to keep thy bones warm this Christmas winter.
I was in some tech corporate place north of Oslo, no idea why. It was the midsommar weekend and some woman in the firm invited me to experience midsommar in her town of Floro, a town 500 km WNW of Oslo. I accepted the invitation, only learning a few hours later that it was an 8 hour drive, actually it was more like 6, she embraced formula one standards of driving and I gained three years of grey hairs in 6 hours, nature does seem to find a balance. Of course being invited I went shopping that afternoon, as we were off next morning. I got a kilo of smart food (lollies), some ice coffees a few bottles of red wine and white wine for the party and I loaded up the car. Apart for her amazing looks and her amazing thrill of speed limits the trip was pretty uneventful. It was Floro that grabbed me more. It as alike a huge village. Every building pristine, every building outspoken traditional and every street clean, lovely and inviting. It one of the loveliest villages I have ever seen in my life. We got to the house and of course she had relatives. They all surrounded her, hugging her and speaking fast in Norwegian, My Swedish allowed for some parts to pick up and they came to me shaking my hand and then they realised that my Norwegian is almost non-existent, many switched to English, a nice surprise too. It had a thick nordic accent, but it was a lot better then some English you hear in London, so I was good. I introduced myself and I introduced myself to the host and hostess (parents of Lotte). I handed over the two boxes of wine, one white and one red. I saw the loud cheers going on, I reckon that French wine is not something they usually had there and I was greeted like an old fashioned hero.
We all had some coffee with something called krumkakes and something called school bread. We sat and I listened for most of the times. Some of the men asked me questions and I answered as best as I could. Yet the corner of my mind was screaming and I did not understand why. Everyone was so nice, but it seems that Lotte had the goods on me. She shushed everyone and told me to take a nice walk, she haded me a thin raincoat to wear over my clothes and she gave me a small direction finder. She pushed a button and it pointed to the house. She pointed to the roof, the direction finder would always point to the house, it seems she had seen this before. I took a nice walk, I saw part of Floro, I walked past shops, I noticed people looking at me, but I was at a loss why, perhaps all foreigners and tourists stand out in this place. I walked on, watching the water and seeing the tranquil waters seemed to quiet the screaming in my head.
As I walked I seem to wonder about the openness of this place and the natural beauty it has. It was about a hour later when I realised I had been walking in one direction, I wanted to turn around when the screaming intensified, I looked up the road, a dirt-road I noticed but it seemed almost invisible. I walked up it only to see a cave. I really did not want to walk into that cave, it screamed bear. And bears are not too uncommon in Norway. I just walked in and with my flashlight I went down the cave. A cave that felt colder with every step I took, it was less then two dozen steps later when the shivering was slightly too uncomfortable for me. I saw the show and the ice and I stopped, but the brakes were suddenly slammed from underfoot, I stepped in ice and slid down a lot further than I was happy with. I slid down a ramp that would make any bobsledder jealous and it was almost two whole minutes until I came to a halt. I saw two men frown in ice. Men, statues, it could be either. The ice was pointing behind them like it was blown over them. Then I noticed two objects. Objects that were covered in ice, I kicked one and it did not break, the ice was tough as steel. I looked around and I saw a stone, a sharp stone, I covered my hands and started hitting the one object, first the ice broke and that took some doing, I continued hitting the object only to see it as some kind of axe, it did not look like a woodcutters axe, it was slightly smaller, more outspoken and a little longer where the cutting part of the axe was. It took almost 5 minutes to get the ice from the axe. Then I looked to the two men, they were still in ice, but I could not tell whether they were men or statues. I used the axe on the other object and ice went flying everywhere with every hit, this axe was nice. That also gave me ideas on how to get out of here. With an axe like that I could chisel steps in the ice in no time, yet that was when I realised that the axe was warming me to some degree. It could have been the exercise, but the cold was gone and a few hits later I saw that the object was a hammer, but not some hammer I had ever seen before. Almost like an oversized blacksmith hammer, actually it was nothing like the hammer of the movie Thor (that maroon man from Queensland) but it resembled those upside down hammers that people wear as jewellery. Like the axe, the hammer felt warm and I decided to hit the ice closest to the man that was next to the hammer. The ice broke like it was nothing. I hit again and ice started to chip from everywhere. Then I saw the ice break off from his arm and the hand looked massively human, very meaty and not a statue at all, was it my imagination? Did the hand move? It seemed to grab towards the hammer and I pushed the hammer into his hand.
The ice broke everywhere. And within a minute he was free. He had a cold demeanour, he looked at me and I looked back, I did not know what to do and then he looked at the axe. I pointed at the other figure, he looked and spoke to me in some nordic language I could not make out. I merely stared. He made a drinking gesture and I pointed at my body and shook my head. It seems he understood me, he was still unable to move too much, but he pointed towards deeper into the cave, he made some reference with his hand that could have been a flask or a bottle. I grabbed the axe and went that way, the ice was all snow covered and not that slippery anymore. I saw a pedestal with a flask, I reckon that this was what he wanted. I looked around and there was nothing else. I cautiously grabbed the flask with my hands covered in jacket. I picked up the flask that as surprisingly heavy and moved back. I handed the flask to the man, he drank a whole heap of it and gestured me to take a sip, I was a little apprehensive but he gestured again, it was seemingly important. I took one small sip and it was like my body was on fire, one sip was like a whole bottle of aquavit (Nordic Gin), I started to sweat. He took a piece of cloth from his top and drenched it, then he put the cloth into the mouth of the other figure. He poured more liquid on the cloth and moved away. H took some leather string, tied the knots around the neck of the bottle and hung the bottle around the neck of the other person. He then gestured me up the hill, I started to cut out the steps. I laughed grabbed my back jumper and coat and before I knew what hit me we went up and a whole lot faster then I originally went down. We were up and at the entrance in less than 30 seconds. He looked at me and I remembered my direction finder. We walked back to the house, even as it seems darker, but with white nights you can never tell, we got back almost 30 minutes later and everyone was staring at me and Lotte looked surprised. The others then noticed the hammer in the man and they all looked star struck, the man stated something in what I can only assumed was some deep Norwegian, he slapped my back and took off, the man walked away. Everyone was cheering and slapping me and I was at a loss what had happened. Lotte merely looked at me like I was an actual alien. It was then that I saw in the distance a chariot with goats? Man, that was some alcohol, let me tell you. So when you get to Floro, be careful what you drink, that stuff they call aquavit is massively hard on the senses.