Toby’s marathon didn’t start off well. In fact, it is quite safe to say that it has started off quite terribly. Upon his arrival, bagless Toby met us at the Oslo train station, separated from his backpack, which was enjoying its extended vacation somewhere in the bowels of the Dublin airport. We went on a shopping spree, which was equally tiresome for each of the three of us. Toby bought all the essential items he needed for the marathon, the list of which I will not divulge to avoid boring any of the readers.
The following day we flew to Tromsø, located on the 69th parallel, and 350 kilometers north of the Arctic Circles. In the summers, the sun never sets, resulting in midnight sun, and that’s why Toby wanted to run there. Apparently, running during the day is simply not enough for him anymore. As any self-respecting athlete, the day before running, Toby joined me and Lixian for a healthy half-pint of grain-based beverage at the world’s former northernmost brewery. (I have already started laying down plans to visit the current record holder in the middle of Greenland.)
As cool as the midnight sun is, it is not very conducive to sleeping. We struggled to rest despite the black-out curtains kindly installed by our AirBnB host. The black-out curtains were so permanently dedicated to blocking out the sunlight, that they couldn’t even be removed during the day. This ensured two things: not really doing enough during the nights, and seriously annoying Lixian during the days.
The day, or I should say, the night of the marathon came. The streets of sleep-deprived Tromsø were filled with kids and marching bands consisting of female members of every labour union in town. The runners’ attires suggested they either came straight from a rave or forgot to get rid of the clothes they found in the Salvation Army bin in the early 90s. Toby ran his marathon on Saturday, which allowed him to justify his limping at least until Wednesday when he left. Lixian, being a good host, made sure we weren’t too bored during the few days we had back in Oslo. The highlights included going to the sauna in the fjord, making a mess in an Indian restaurant (obviously, not my choice), getting stuck while building tunnels in Norway (a Ticket to Ride reference), taking advantage of prosecco specials which were almost reasonably priced, and watching Lixian eat a carrot hotdog (as sad as the name implies).
Here’s the video highlighting the wonderful triangular bond that has withstood years and miles apart: