Author Archives: Ahimsa

Yeti Raves: The Roskilde Festival

The Roskilde festival in Denmark–8 days of camping with 130,000 people– is one of those life events where what everyone says is true but you can’t understand the magnitude of the truth until you go through it yourself.

You Start Me Up

You Start Me Up

Things like:

The music doesn’t even matter.
It’s the best week of your life.
You’ll meet lifetime friends.
When you see a fence, pee on it.

We were an international Mashup camp of nearly 50 people–very few of us had ever met previous to the festival. We had people from 11 countries including Lithuania, Canada, Germany, Norway, Australia, Hungary, Denmark, the US, and the Netherlands.

Setting Up Camp

Somehow we all got along, wandering the grounds and making up games and drinking warm beers and blasting tunes and learning to twerk and swimming in the pond and just generally having the time of our lives. This was Monday through Wednesday.

Big Orange Tent

Big Orange Tent

Thursday the music began, with Outkast opening for the Rolling Stones. An amazing night, to be sure. One of our camp was so drunk that she’s still not even sure if she managed to see the Stones. Outkast was great as well. Back at camp we talked about how good the Stones sounded and drank Tuborg until the early hours of Friday morning.

The next day I saw Les Claypool and Damon Albarn, who brought out De La Soul for the encore to sing Feel Good Inc. Before the shows started we would hang out, wander around, play beersby (a frisby beer based game, where you try to knock off the opposing team’s beer can and protect your own). By saturday, people were leaving, with tents and sleeping bags and pads all just left behind. Tents were still full of food and beer and alcohol and it was fun raiding abandoned camp sites. I saw Major Lazer and Interpol and many other bands besides.

Beersby

Beersby

The headliner the last night was supposed to be Drake, but he dropped out and Jack White was added. For me, this is like running out of something smelly like olives and replacing them with something tasty like craisins. Seven Nation Army was about the best possible song to end the festival on. Before that, though, was Stevie Wonder and he was even better than I expected. He even covered the Beatles!

Random Waldo Debauchery

Random Waldo Debauchery

Some of my friends who live close to Roskilde told me that they live for the yearly week of the festival. Everything between festivals is just filler, just time to be passed before that too brief week of reality, just like Burning Man or even Dead shows. And after experiencing 8 days of friendship and music and madness, I fully agree.

Team Mashup Camp Flag

Team Mashup Camp Flag

Safe to say that whenever possible I will do all I can to return every year. The Roskilde Festival is even better than you think!

Yeti Hikes: Trolltunga

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One of the things I really wanted to see in Norway was Troll Tongue. A long sliver of rock in the fjords that is both beautiful and troll related, it was a must see. With that it mind, my friend Hanne planned out a trip there my first weekend.

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I set out with Hanne and her buddy Cato on a Friday afternoon. With bikes and tents and blankets and pillows and books and board games, we were a full Audi. And yet somehow we managed to pick up a German hitchhiker (wearing an inverted Friar Tuck haircut) and driving through ridiculously pretty scenery.

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I was jetlagged and tired but the views were absolutely captivating and I couldn’t look away. We drove through fjords, stopped at a stavkirke and a waterfall.

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We set up camp on the side of the road–it was still well light even after 11 pm. Our tents went up and we had a quick dinner.

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I had bought a small jar of “taco sauce” salsa and corn chips in a small town for only about 7 dollars–good deal in Norway!. I had some for dinner, where I noticed the salsa improbably decent–better than anything in Korea, for instance.

When I commented on the quality, Cato nodded. “Yes. We do Mexican food well here. In fact, every Friday is Mexican food night here.”

“Really?” I said, surprised. “That’s cool. Though I guess Tuesday would make more sense.”

Cato just looked at me in incomprehension.

“Taco Tuesday?” I prompted. Cato just shook his head.

Hanne, who lived in the US for some years, shook her head and said “No one ever understands me when I say this either.”

Two more friends showed up and we all got some sleep. The next morning we woke up, and after packing our tents, hopped on mountain bikes and then rode for 10 K or so on an awesome trail. Then we hopped off and hiked up for 10k more up loose boulders and past verdant green pools of snowmelt water.

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And then the fun began. Himmelsteigen, the stairway to heaven; a via ferrata that goes up sheer wall for 200 meters. I was actually quite nervous about this part as I’d never used climbing gear before, not to mention that lots of this part included hanging off a sheer rock wall.

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None of it was too hard though and we made our way to the top. Here we joined a small queue of jolly Norwegians to take our photos on the Troll tongue.

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And then it was a chilly wait on the top of the Stairway to Heaven while others finished climbing up, and a reverse via ferrata, hike, bike ride back to our tents, with a quick dip in one of the frozen pools.

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Stores stop selling beer at 6 pm on Saturday. Post hike, we raced down to get some. Everyone not driving shared a beer in the car as we drive to the cabin for the night. It’s quite common in Norway to have a winter cabin by a ski slope, and Hanne and Cato’s co-worker had invited us to stay the night. We were treated with the warmest of hospitality.

Our arrival was toasted with shots of Jaegermeister, followed somewhat later by a Danish version that is more bitter and even more like cough syrup. At dinner, the owner of the cabin brought out some local microbrews, including an IPA that was incredible. We stayed up way too late in the light of the midnight sun before crashing in a cozy bunkhouse.

Of everywhere I’ve been in the world, Trolltunga ranks really high as one of the best places I’ve ever been.