Beautiful Norway !
Far, far north, almost on the North Pole you find the small country of Norway. It has about 5 million inhabitants, they official language is Norwegian, although most people also speak very good English, we have our own currency (Norwegian kroner) and we are not a part of the EU ;) To get from South of Norway to North of Norway you need to fly and that will take you about 2 hours, if you drive it will take you about two to three days, or you can go on a week cruise with Hurtigruta (Bergen-Kirkenes).
The winters in Norway are full of snow and cold weather. However there is a significant difference from the south to the north. In the coldest parts of North Norway you can easily get -40 degrees Celsius on the coldest days. South part can experience just minus a couple of degrees for a long time period. The Norwegian weather changes a lot and quickly. In one day it is very normal for the temperature to change 5-10 degrees plus minus and you can get sun, clouds, rain, extremely heavy rain, snow, fog, freezing fog, freezing rain, thunder and so on. Not all of this happens on the same day but often about 3 or 4 of them. Even though the winters are cold, the summers can be nice and warm, up to +30 degrees Celsius on a good day (past years the weather haven't been the best unfortunately). Any how, in spite of the weather there are some great things to see and do in the country and this post will be updated every now and then, whenever I have new experiences to add. I will write about the stuff I do, so the most common tourist things will not be listed here, not straight away anyway. There will be some great travel tips for you all, native Norwegian style :)
This is where we have our little, cosy "logg" cabin. In a very small place called Baklia, not too far from Vaset and Vasetstølen. At our cabin we do what every Norwegian would do, relax, go fishing, go cross country skiing in the winter or just go hiking. Many people also go to the downhill slopes and one of Norway's most popular skiing resorts, Hemsedal is about 30-40 minutes drive from Baklia and Vaset. The scenery is absolutely beautiful (at least I think so), and the air is so fresh and it is very peaceful and quiet.
The two first pictures is taken from the kitchen and out by the entrance, the cabin is not very big and we have no water there, in fact we just got electricity about a year ago. There are a lot of cabins in Norway that don't have this and loads of people simply don't want it, on the other hand there are a lot of cabins with water, electricity saunas, hot tubs that we call stamp and other lush facilities.
This picture shows the view we have from the kitchen and sitting room/dining room. The little "mountain" you see is called Nøsenkampen.
Remember how I said a lot of cabins have other lush facilities? In door toilet is one of them, we don't have that. In fact in the picture above you see the door to the outdoor toilet.
As you see from all the pictures most of furniture, walls and floor are wooden, that is typical for all cabins, wouldn't be one otherwise. I have mentioned some outdoor activities that we do, and will put in some pictures of that as well, but first I just have to mention the indoor activity we do, games! Most popular must be yatzi, monopoly and card games, but you do have all sorts of other board games as well, like this one.....
So on to the outdoor activity. We always go down to the dam to fish, never catch any fish but still it is fun. It is so easy to get the fishing pass as well, you can just send a sms and you have you "fishing license" on the phone. But only allowed during the fishing season.
In one of the first pictures in this post you could see the view from my cabins sitting room and you saw the little "mountain" Nøsenkampen. I have actually walked up to the top a couple of times and the view from the top is magnificent. Great little hike.
Up on the top there is a green mailbox and inside there is a book where you can write you name and the date you were at the top. It is located between some rocks, but you will find it as there is a great little place to sit down an enjoy our coffee and crackers (or something else) that you have packed for the hike. Even the dog deserves a treat after the climb.
No treats without doing high five;)
If you don't like hiking you can for instance go to Vasetstølen and have a look at the animals there and eat waffles. Some of the farms, or as we call it Sæter, make their own milk, jam, sour cream and so on, so the waffles are the best ever.
Yeh I know, our dog is the same sizes as the mini horse;)
This is a great experience for the children and you are allowed to go in to the little goats and pet them.
Finally let me tell you about the best about going to the cabin. After a long day outside, especially in the winter time, there is nothing that is better than the fireplace and a glass of red wine.
To finish of my little story from Valdres I just have to post some pictures from the way going up there. These pictures are taken between Fagernes and Vaset, right before you turn off to Panoramaveien climbing your way up to the mountains.
A very popular skiing resort, both for Norwegians and tourist is Trysil. Located about 2,5 hours from Oslo this is one of the most popular places to ski along with Hemsedal. Can't really count how many times I have been at Trysil, but I have managed to get a little selection of different trips there. Lets start with Trysil Smellen! That is the official closing weekend, and this is the biggest party of the year with live music and a lot of fun. When we went there, we were 14 people who rented a huge cabin in Bakkebygrenda together.
In Trysil you can rent all sorts of cabins in different sizes and different locations, the best is of course in the slopes or at the bottom. There is also a hotel in the bottom of the slopes, Radisson Blue Resort. However, when you are a big group like us, you want a big cabin.
Obviously you go there to ski, but if you don't like skiing you can still have loads of fun. Do what we did, have a quiz in the woods. Great way of celebrating a birthday party ;)
Mandatory for a Saturday morning breakfast, Mimosa! Best way of starting your day at Trysilsmellen!
As I mentioned previously Trysilsmellen is full of music and fun in the slopes. For me that kind of interferes with the skiing, so no skiing or as I do, snowboarding that day. Just relax and listen to music.
On other occasions I have been snowboarding though, and I must say that the slopes in Trysil are very good. Everything from steep downhill slopes to half-pipe for snowboarders (you will not fin me in either of those).
There is nothing like afterski after a long day in the slopes, guess that is almost every ones favorite thing to do. Go toa very crowded bar/pub, hopping around in your skiing gear, perfect!
In Trysil there are different pubs to go to for the afterski, also in the middle of the slopes. There is also a place where you can have your own bbq.
And after afterski you get on to the pink tractor in your pink wolly underwear!
Just like me and my family there is a lot of people who have cabins in Trysil, and we have had the pleasure to go with friends to one that is close to the city center of Trysil. That was so much fun that I only have one picture of it and it doesn't even show the cabin. Maybe I will go there again and get more pictures so I can update it here.
Other things to do in Trysil is going on a group tour. Have been doing that with work a few times and it is a success every time. When we are a group we get some good deals at Radisson Blue so we always end up staying there. They even have a pool and a spa department.
The best part about the group tour is the dinner. We have had it at Låven and the food there is great, really, really good. That is something I would recommend for everybody.
And after dinner there is live music.........
And as Låven is normally a afterski place, you dance on the table.....
Juving and Rafting in Sjoa
A few years ago I went on a weekend trip with my sisters friends to Sjoa. There were 17 of us in total and we had planned two activities for the weekend, juving and rafting. Juving is basically a hike in a wetsuite where you have to overcome different obstacles like cold water from the glaciers, it holds a temperature of 11 degrees Celsius. Sometimes you can walk through it and sometimes you have to jump into it and swim across. After doing this a few times you will have to rapell down a steep cliffside and make a 10 meter jump into the water (for people who don't want to rappell or jump you can walk).
These three pictures are from the camp site. We stayed in a huge tent/lavo for the weekend, you see it in the background and it fitted all 17 of us.
The rafting part is more extreme than juving. Sjoa is one of the most popular places in Norway to raft, but it can be very dangerous too. Never, ever do it without a guide, you need to be a part of an organized group in order to stay safe. Even though we were, we had a little accident but it was all fine in the end. We got a little scare though, I would go rafting again but there are a few people who won't.
It is so much fun! Try it!
17th of May, Constitution Day/Norways National Day
The highlight of the year for many people, especially the children. This day is very special for all Norwegians and it is celebrated in a very traditional way. All over the country there are parades, mostly for the school kids but also for the seniors at videregående (high school), who are celebrating in a very special way that we call russ. On this day we wear our traditional national costume, bunad, and we carry the Norwegian flag and we scream hurra (hurray) to one another. We celebrate that we in 1814 got out constitution.
The past few years I have been working the early shift and this is a very nice day to be working, we get to use our bunad instead of our uniform.
The bunad has different patterns and colors depending on what part of the country they are from. Mine for instant is from Nordland (a part in the North of Norway) and it comes in either blue (like mine) or green. So I have the Nordlands bunad.
The people who don't have to work meet up with their friends or family and have a nice breakfast together before everyone goes out to see the parades. We also have a nice breakfast in work;)
Alle the other pictures I have here is from 2007 and 2010, when I haven't been working.
When all the parades are finished most people go home to eachothers houses and have a barbeque or something else to eat, most common is barbeque. You spend the whole day with your friends and family. If you ever think about going to Norway 17th of May is an experience you really should not miss. May is also a great month in Norway, weather not always the best, but it can be very sunny and warm as well, spring time is great!
Remember this post will be frequently updated! More to come ;)