Spring has sprung

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PHOTO FEATURE: After one of the longest and coldest winters in the past 20 years, the skies suddenly cleared and temperatures shot up. Most of the snow has disappeared in the Oslo area, and the crocus has started blooming in the gardens along apartment buildings downtown.

The crocus always comes first, followed by the other bulb plants like daffodils and tulips. Along the waterfront, there was little sign of flowers but the grass is on the verge of turning green and folks were out to enjoy the sun.

By Monday some brave souls were running around in shorts. On Saturday, these young men were out with their kayaks and some even doffed their shirts. The fairy tale-like castle Oscarshall on Bygdøy can be spotted off to the left.

Meanwhile, spring is high season for boat owners to engage in what the Norwegians call båtpuss, the annual rite of cleaning and shining up their vessels. Marinas are busy, also with the seasonal dugnad (roughly pronounced “doog-nahd”), which is when members band together to work on joint improvement projects. At this marina, they were scrubbing the decks, picking up garbage and cleaning the clubhouse.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town at Bjørvika, Sunday strollers soaked up some rays on the roof of the Opera House. Not exactly designed as a place for sun worshippers, but after a long winter, Norwegians will settle for just about any spot where they can get some sun their faces. ALL PHOTOS: Views and News