After the cross-country skiing excursion and sledding down the mountain I felt sufficiently prepared to watch the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on television last night. In fact it’s hard to avoid the games, the national television channel NRK (the only one I get) seems to have 24/7 coverage.

The opening was pretty, well, Italian: some terrible techno music, extravagent pyrotechnics, a Ferrari doing doghnuts, acrobats in surreal outfits, dancers towing dairy cows, aging politicians, operatic feats by the big man himself Pavarotti… The athletes (New Zealand - hooray!, Norway - hooray, Seychelles – ???, Trinidad – ???) paraded into the stadium accompanied by a bizarre array of 70s/80s disco hits such as the Village People’s “YMCA” ?! There were no ad breaks so I couldn’t miss a beat. At least some really impressive women got to carry in the flag.

It all made Turin seem a lot more exciting than it really is. On vacation, it’s always been the one to bypass – gray, industrial, boring city… And the slogan for these games is: “Passion lives here”???

By the end of the first day (afterI had checked out the folk museum and massive ships at the Viking museum) Norway was leading the medal totals with two silver and two bronze. I have the feeling this event will be everywhere I go for the next two weeks.