White Gold of Snow by Sunset in Norway

White Gold of Snow by Sunset in Norway #5Writing a blog about Norway and our significant four seasons, it’s time to report about winter weather – at least a good taste of it: You see, this year’s first snow in Oslo came last week. It started late in the evening, so we were all warned for the next day, and in the morning we had the most wonderful White Christmas Post Card views out of our windows.
So finally snow and the Winter Wonder Land are back on track. Some might find it a bit cold, but to me it’s a sign of clean nature and freshness. It also brightens the otherwise dark mornings and evenings – especially on a clear full moon it fills the atmosphere with light. Of course white snowflakes create the Christmas spirit in this pre-Christmas period as well. So before I go on and tell about the strange weather we’ve had this fall, let me share some photos I shot with my Nokia N8 by sunset last week:
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #2
The neighbourhood cowered in a blanket of new snow
White Gold of Snow by Sunset in Norway #6 White Gold of Snow by Sunset in Norway #3

This year’s November earned a place in history books: Never before have temperatures been so high in the month leading up to Christmas – the warmest we have experienced since temperatures started being measured in the 1860. November last year was the coldest in living memory and the temperatures in Oslo were setting records at the other end of the scale, down to -24°C.
That’s a sharp contrast from November this year, to say the least: For the country as a whole, highest temperature was measured +10°C (49°F) which gives the average temperature 4.5°C above normal. So we are all glad that winter finally arrived and just in time for Christmas too!

Now, let’s go back to the scenery I tried to capture after this year’s first snow fall:
White Gold of Snow by Sunset in Norway #4 White Gold of Snow by Sunset in Norway #7
My fascination for snow of course goes back to my childhood: I remember it took some time to dress for the winter season, but then again the strong winter weather never stopped us from having fun. Snow was something we looked forward to: instead of closing our schools, we went to school on skis and the recess in the school yard was never more fun than at that time of the year.

Let me end this White Gold of Snow post with the last photo I shot – by sunset, around 2:30PM. We are into the darkest part of the year and in Oslo the duration of daylight is less than 6 hours. We are soon at Winter Solstice you know (the 21st of December) and in this pic you might get an idea of how the snow brightens up the atmosphere – at sunset:
White Gold of Snow by Sunset in Norway #1

As many of my Facebook followers and friends already know, I am currently at a rehabilitation center for Parkinson’s which is just outside of Lillehammer. Many of you may remember Norway’s winter Olympics in Lillehammer 1994 – so I assure you the magic of winter has touched us here too. My training includes outdoor exercise in the beautiful mountains surrounding the center, so I hope I will capture some more winter magic for my readers in the next days. Even when I am away taking care of my health, I always have my Nokia N8 handy you know – so stay tuned : -)

Roald Amundsen Norway first to reach the South Pole

Bust of Roald AmundsenThe Polar Explorer, Discoverer, Researcher and Pioneer Amundsen from Norway became the first person to reach the South Pole on Dec. 14, 1911. Hosting a blog about Norway; our history, culture, traditions and habits, it would have been a disgrace not to mention it today – 100 years later. This year actually call for double celebration significance for Norway coincides: its 150 years since the birth of Fridtjof Nansen too! These two men played important roles as nation-builders and polar heroes and of course equally important were their contributions to science and literature, as well as Nansen’s humanitarian endeavours and his role as a diplomat and politician.

Planning for the North – going to the South Pole:
Amundsen started preparing for an expedition to the North Pole, but when both Frederick A. Cook and Robert E. Peary claimed to have reached the Pole, in 1908 and 1909, respectively, Amundsen secretly changed his plans. In Madeira he revealed that the expedition to the North Pole would go by way of the South Pole. The race was on with Robert F. Scott to see which of them would be the first man on the southernmost point on earth. Five weeks before Scott, who died on the return journey, Amundsen reached the South Pole 14 December 1911:
Roald Amundsen from Norway first to reach the South Pole
Norwegian flag planted on the South Pole (Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute)

The first to sail through the Northwest Passage:
In the summer of 1903 Amundsen sailed from Oslo with the ship Gjøa. The aim of the expedition was to find the Northwest Passage, for which the English had been searching for 400 years. Amundsen had a scientific goal: he wanted to measure the earth’s magnetic field and determine its exact location.
Winter Olympics Inukshuk from Canada in Norway #7
The ship Gjøa in front of Fram Museum

The expedition had a 23-month stopover in Gjøa Haven on King William Island. While there, Amundsen studied how the Inuit lived and gathered a prodigious amount of ethnographic material. In the spring of 1905, Gjøa sailed onward and emerged at the other end of the Northwest Passage in August 1906.

Norway marks Amundsen’s south pole feat 100 years on:
Today dozens of scientists and explorers joined the Norwegian prime minister to mark 100 years since Roald Amundsen led the first expedition to the South Pole. At the pole, PM Jens Stoltenberg paid tribute to “one of the most outstanding achievements of mankind” and highlighted the importance of this cold continent in our efforts to understand the warming of the globe! He also said Amundsen’s polar expeditions “helped to form our new national identity”. You see, Amundsen’s arrival at the pole on 14 December 1911 came only six years after Norway had declared independence after a long union with Sweden. So there is a lot of reasons to celebrate this year and especially today you know : -)

Recreational Beach in fall colour on Oslo Fjord

Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #6In addition to museums, Bygdøy peninsula on the Oslo Fjord in Norway is a residential, but also a popular recreational area on the western side of Oslo. It’s one of Norway’s oldest cultural landscapes with a rich history and has many beautiful parks and forests as well as some of Oslo’s most popular beaches – including the Huk ordinary and nudist beach.
Surprising for the beauty of its nature and tranquility, Bygdøy is also home to major museums, including the Norwegian Folk Museum, Viking Ship Museum, Fram Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum and many others. Bygdøy offers various beaches, a beach volleyball court and a restaurant at beach Huk and there are several beautiful trails for cycling and walking – with a breath taking view of the Oslo Fjord:
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #2

The Golden Beauty of Fall:
Some weeks ago, still recovering from my knee operation, my wife and I shared another quality time here – photo hunting for the golden beauty of fall. Well, the hunting wasn’t that intense, but the scenery, the nature, the smell off sea and the fresh, crisp fall air with the sound of silence was divine. So while experiencing these magic moments with my wife, I was thinking: offer me to the most spectacular shopping center, or a famous amusement park, not to mention a front seat at Super Bowl -> I would not exchange it for this recreational adventure!
Although it’s difficult to convey this experience in photos, we both had our Nokia N8 mobile phones at hand and here are some of my shots:
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #8 Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #7
The Golden Beauty of Fall
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #5

Outdoor Recreation in all four Seasons:
When talking about beaches, seas and swimming, most people imagine sun and summer heat. In Norway, with significant change in seasons when it comes to weather and temperature, we have always loved to be out in the nature – all year through. Especially on weekends, the whole family is hiking in the woods or up in the mountains. That’s where my saying comes from: there is no such as bad weather, only bad clothes. So if you have the chance to visit Huk beach, no matter summer, fall, winter or spring: you will always find lots of people – in all from winter dress with hat, gloves and scarf to literary nothing at all (in reserved areas!) – enjoying the beauty of nature away from the stressful urban life. Remember Bygdøy is just 20 minutes away by bus or boat to give you this kind of scenery:
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #1

While looking through my photos for this post, I found some from the same area from last summer and winter. So since pictures say more than a thousand word, let me show you how we in Norway love to be outdoors in fall as well as in the snowy winter time:
Summer boating on the Oslo Fjord #2
There is no bad weather: from bikini ……….
The Magic of extreme cold and snow at Oslo Fjord #19 Winter at Beach Huk in Oslo #2
……… to winter dress at the beaches!
Winter at Beach Huk in Oslo #4 Winter at Beach Huk in Oslo #3

My wife’s temptations:
Before I end this post about enjoying the nature and outdoor recreation, let me get back to this weekend we had on Bygdøy by fall. I still have some photos to show you – there is always things that catch your eye on a beach you know ; -)
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #3 Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #4
And remember, I am reporting from a quality time with my beloved wife. She always packs our little backpack with surprises, including coffee in a thermos and e.g. sandwiches. This time, when I was fooling around with my mobile phone – trying to catch the golden beauty of fall – she found a way to sneak into a open cafe without me noticing and after a while she found a bench and asked if she could tempt me – with this:
Oslo Beach Huk in Fall Colour #10
Waffles with raspberry jam & coffee – impossible to resist!

So now you know how I recharge my batteries, recover from my knee operation and keep the Parkinson’s at bay. Yes and how Norwegians spend their weekends and spare time, in all four seasons – outdoors, properly dressed (even the naturists *LoL*) – knowing there is no bad weather, only bad clothes – is there a better way?

Swan Lake in fall colour on Oslo Fjord beach

Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #9Swan Lake worked its magic on a fall color photo hunt on the Oslo Fjord. At our favourite beach the history of Tchaikovsky’s symphony steeped in myth as the story itself when a herd of swans showed up on shore. The ballet’s scenario was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse. The ballet was premièred by the Bolshoi Ballet in 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, billed as The Lake of the Swans. This is the scenery we got when approaching the beach on a Saturday a few weeks ago when we wanted some outdoor recreation adventures:
Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #8

I don’t think I’ve seen so many swans at once before and of course I was happy I had my Nokia N8 at hand, to start shooting photos – I mean the hunting was done and it was just to click and click and click ….. I believe I took more than 50 pics and at least some came out well. I think they are a bit fuzzy though – maybe because the white swans are in contrast with the water.
This beautiful scenery attracted others too of course and sometimes it was more interesting to see others watching and feeding then the swans themselves. People all ages were fascinated, but the youngest was the cutest I think : -)
Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #5 Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #3

My Nokia mobile phone can make panoramic photos too you know. This might explain to some extent at least, why I associated the scenery with Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” – or what do you think:
Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #2

The Golden Beauty of Fall:
I told you this happened when my wife and I was out photo hunting. To me, nothing is more recreational than hiking in nature – besides; I need this kind of exercise stimulus to keep my Parkinsonism under control too. Adding to that; I love being outdoors in all four seasons and fall is the most colourful – don’t you think? – That’s why I call it “The golden beauty of fall”:
Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #1 Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #15

Outdoor Recreation:
My wife and I had what I often call a magic moment this wonderful Saturday. Being out in the nature, seeing how it changes through the seasons. Noticing the scenery, the smell and the beautiful colors is what I call recreational! And my regular readers know that I also have a wonderful wife to share those magic moment with and she makes them even more enjoyable and magic with her special treat; always something good in the backpack – I just love those sandwiches & the coffee, and it tasted heavenly eating outdoors like this:
Swan Lake in fall color on Oslo Fjord beach #13

If you want to charge your batteries, and like me, to keep my Parkinson’s in check; there is nothing more inspiring and recreational then the nature which is all around us. November is more than half over now and our darkest period is upon us – hope you have enjoyed the fall as much as we have!