Nord

These soldiers in formation were just a few hundred of the countless LEGO minifigs crowding the exhibition hall at last weekend’s BrickCon.

But that was just the beginning of an extensive Scandinavian odyssey stretching across two full days.

It all started at Seattle Center on Saturday morning, where a long line consisting of a mixture of 50% kids, 25% parents, and 25% massively geeky IT workers made its way slowly into the hall. Approximately 700 billion LEGOs awaited those of us willing to brave it. I stood in the shadow of a LEGO-scale Space Needle, which for the record is still pretty tall, then made my way through the other sections of the exhibit. There was the World of Warcraft village, complete with an ice castle; next up was a modern urban Anytown USA featuring a baseball game in progress and a second Space Needle; then we had the Blade Runner-esque futuristic corner, with its two dueling monorails. I kind of felt like a loser, but BrickCon was so worth it.

Later Saturday found me wandering the endless Nordic wasteland that is Ikea. I was, as always, highly impressed by their clever store layout, which forces you to hike three miles in search of that one perfect TV stand… But just when you’re about to collapse into a whimpering heap, the Ikea restaurant appears like an oasis — and it’s filled with yummy meatballs. After a quick recharge you’re up and at ’em and ready to part with even more of your hard-earned Euros.

Sunday’s escapades were a bit less in-your-face Scandinavian, but I would argue that spending time in Ballard counts for something even if it’s only a trip to Fred Meyer for towels and provisions. Additionally, I was lucky enough to have tickets to see Iceland’s second most famous musicians, Sigur Rós, in concert at Benaroya Hall. The experience left me speechless and grinning, clutching a souvenir piece of confetti paper in my fist, and went straight into my list of the top five best shows ever. After all, a couple thousand mesmerized fans can’t be wrong. (I may in fact still be mesmerized.) If you ever, ever have the opportunity to see Sigur Rós you simply must go.

And that was my Nordic weekend.