Happy New Year with Fireworks and Seafood

Happy New Year 2014 from NorwayCelebrating the New Year’s Eve in Scandinavia is traditionally a blast of a feast. No wonder as it is the darkest and often the coldest time of the year and since ten thousand years back there was a good reason to celebrate the return of the sun – Winter Solstice festivals is a part of it of course. All this sets the scene for enthusiasm and cheer and welcoming a new year.

Preparing the evening’s celebration starts days before and the most exciting part is buying the fireworks. Shooting up your own is much more fun and you’re welcome to read the story in my last post: Buy and shoot up your own New Years Fireworks. Then of course shopping what’s needed for our traditional seafood dinner; Shrimp, lobster (and sometimes crawfish) served with champagne. You’re all welcome to join us shopping and then sit in and enjoy the firework show this year – all included in this video:

Actually, this is one of the habits and seasonal traditions I’ve posted the most about on this blog, so let me share some of the others by reposting some of the pics in the video with link to these posts:
Snowy Winter Day in Norway #3 The Magic of extreme cold and snow at Oslo Fjord #1

From all of me to All of You: Godt Nytt År!

Outdoor Easter Bunny Eggs Hunt

Outdoors Easter Bunny Egg Hunt #C2Our family tradition, hunting for Easter Bunny Eggs, is one of my dearest and may be one of the best examples of recreational outdoor activity in the Norwegian woods. Every year the feeling of anticipation and excitement takes me down the memory lane. You may say I’m a bit childish, but I’m just fine with that and it’s important to get into the right spirit – and of course: you have to love being outdoors too.
The Easter Egg and Bunny or Hare thing dates back to pagan times and is more about fertility and a celebration of spring than recent Christian Easter traditions. Honored in many rite-of-Spring festivals, during the span of history, eggs represented mystery, magic, medicine, food and omen. So it represented the rebirth of the earth – the long, hard winter was over – the earth burst forth and was reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life.

But lets get back to the outdoors hunt and you are welcome to join us around the bonfire as I go on with the story and show some photos:
Outdoors Easter Bunny Egg Hunt #1
Of shore, resting after the Egg hunt at the bonfire.

The hunting is of course the most exciting part and you may wonder how the eggs get there and how we find them. Well, when I was young my dad did it – but since this is something of important passing on to generations: nowadays my sister and I walk a bit ahead, to see if we can find some bunny footprints.
Outdoors Easter Bunny Egg Hunt #4
When we were children, my parents told me they did, so then it had to be true, and it has never been questioned in the family. It’s just the same as Santa brings the gifts of course. People who don’t believe in this have missed out on something important from their childhood I think.
Also I hope you see why this should be an outdoor activity: You have to find the eggs in the Bunny’s natural surroundings! And tell me; what can be more recreational than sitting around a bonfire, smelling spring is in the air, listening to the sounds of birds and eating hotdogs grilled on the bonfire:
Outdoors Easter Bunny Egg Hunt #2

So now I hope you understand the excitement in my Easter anticipation and why it’s so important to me to hold on to this childish, family tradition of believing it is the Easter Bunny who laid the eggs. To sum it up in one collage photo:
Outdoors Easter Bunny Egg Hunt #C1

So here it is – from me to you: A new Easter Egg hunt family tradition for free!

Cool winter beach best place to chill

Cool winter beach best place to chill #1All four seasons have their charm and their significant change in Norway makes them even more fascinating. One place to experience the differences during the year is the beach: Hot and inviting to swimming in the water in the summer time – crisp, fresh air and inviting to skiing or skating in the winter time – as well as the golden beauty of fall and the nature waking up from hibernation in spring time. You can’t have it all at one time, but since I have been living for a while and been blogging over the years about the four seasons has made me even more aware and fascinated by this phenomena.
When my wife and I take a long weekend at our vacation home in Sweden, we often go to the beach at sunset for a photo hunt. I gladly take you along and when thinking of sharing it with you, I came up with the idea for the title of this post:

Cool winter beach best place to chill”:
Cool winter beach best place to chill #2 Cool winter beach best place to chill #3
Let me show you what I mean about the significance change in the seasons with a couple of pics from the same beach at the summer time (click the pics to bigify and enjoy!):
Hot Scandinavian Beach #2 Hot Scandinavian Beach #3
Like I said, the golden beauty of nature is proven in the fall and of course I have a couple of pics from the same beach illustrating – or what do you think?:
Fall at Lake Vänern in Sweden #2 Fall at Lake Vänern in Sweden #1
To sum it up, I made a collage with photos from the Cool beach best place to chill:
Cool winter beach best place to chill #A

I hope you all can understand why I feel lucky to be able to experience all four seasons, enjoying the beauty of the nature in each one. Outdoor recreation for me is the best way to get in contact with the world around me and recharge my batteries. What about you?

Outdoor recreation in crisp Norwegian fall colours

Colorfull Fall in NorwayMy blog is about Norway, our culture, traditions and habits including the significant four seasons and fall or autumn is an excellent example. In Norwegian the season is called Høst which comes from the harvest of fruits, vegetables and grains that traditionally would be stored for the winter. It also means a significant change in the nature – the most colourful one – a perfect time for outdoors recreation; for charging your batteries before the dark wintertime season. We’ve had the loveliest sunny weather this weekend and my wife and I have had some quality time while enjoying the colourful fall scenery on our photo hunts. You’re welcome to join and enjoy some of the shots – let’s start with some collages I’ve made with the PS Touch app on my iPad:
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

Outdoor Recreation:
I love it and have posted about it plenty of times: Norwegians love outdoor life associated with physical activity or use of leisure time in nature. With outdoor life, I mean enjoying nature’s air outdoors, and should not be confused with English free or clean air, or even free of contamination. However, that’s what you get and it’s of course an important part of the recreational effect of a family trip out and about – especially in the fall!
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

If you think about it: We humans lived outdoors long before we lived indoors, and we had two million years as hunters and gatherers. So we’ve developed a body and a mind that is predisposed to a life in and of nature. The last thousand years however, we have developed a culture and a civilization that somehow appears to put ourselves above the rest of nature. To find peace and a new balance we need to interact with the old natural elements. My respectful contention is that these environments are vital to our health, well being and peace of mind:
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

The Crisp Fall colours:
Talking about quality time and the colourful season change in fall, I’ll let these photos speak for themselves:
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway
Colorful scenery; nature, people and animals in perfect harmony!
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

Norwegian Fall Cuisine:
Talking about traditions and habits within the frame of significant seasons: Even from my childhood, I remember well the smell of fall in the house – yes, you could smell it all over: Får i kål = “sheep in cabbage” or “mutton and cabbage stew” if you like: made from Norwegian mutton and fresh harvested cabbage, served with falls fresh potatoes. You can read all about this dish and even get the recipe in an earlier blog post of mine!
Even if my dear wife is an American, she has learned the tricks in making the very best dish – and if you add the nice treat she always packs for our quality time in the outdoor recreation – well then you know I am the luckiest guy in the whole world:
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

Now you have seen us exploring our natural environment. How do you interact with your natural environment? Maybe you don’t have these colourful changes in your seasons, but every place has its own unique beauty. Let’s hear from your part of the world – share with us in the comments!

Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway

Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #2This weekend is the big “Get Outdoors Day” in Norway; the Norwegian Tourist Association’s national Outdoors Recreation Sunday – time to get up off the couch! In Oslo, the main event takes place at Sognsvann – a lake up in the mountain/forest 15 minutes from downtown by the tube. The whole idea and main goal is of course to motivate everyone to be more physically active and explore nature in your own neighborhood. The camp at Sognsvann has been held 20 years in a row – I was there with my wife and a friend and gladly invite you along to motivate you too:
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway
This grand event gives everyone in Oslo a good opportunity to use nature in a healthy way. Outdoor activity is good for both physical and mental health. This annual outdoor camp is also of course an important carrier of the tradition of Norwegian leisure culture.
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #1 Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #9

Sunday was the chance – for children all age – to try climbing, rowing, canoeing, fishing, orienteering, jumping – even skiing – and much, much more – free of charge!
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #12 Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #7
Skiing and Fishing
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #13 Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #10
Kiting and Swimming
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #8 Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #11
Canoeing and Climbing

Quality time with my wife:
I was there, all thanks to my wife. Struggling with my Parkinson – the uninvited guest in my body makes me stiff and hard to get going – it’s always easy to sit back in the couch and feel sorry for myself. However, to head out in the nature and get out of the patient role is the best way to charge my batteries – actually the best medicine too! So my dear Diane; Thanks for inviting me out and to share this nature in a quality time with me!
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #3 Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #4
The clean, fresh air – the scenery: is there any more recreational?

The summer in Norway is coming to an end but that isn’t the end of outdoor family fun. There are plenty of outdoor activities to do here all year round, and the Norwegian Outdoor Recreation Union does a great job of giving families plenty of inspiration for the seasons to come!