The Significant Four Seasons in Norway

I originally had planned to just make an update of the last post with the answer to my little quiz about the sign in the water. Please scroll down and see the last picture in that post and the Challenge to my readers. Here is the proof: The sign on the stick is ski trail mark (taken January 2000 – that winter we didn’t have snow before later that month):

Skimarker on a Lake

While looking for the right picture of the sign to solve the riddle we found so many wonderful pictures from the same lake. This is a special place for our family. It is the first place I took my bonus children swimming when they came over as little boys, and the place our family has gone throughout the whole year, in all the seasons, spring, summer, fall and winter. Hope you get an idea in this movee:

Part of the Norwegian soul is enjoying the outdoor life and the nature. Taking the family back to the nature is a strong part of our value system. That is why you see so many families out with children of all ages. This place is a place for all four seasons. Its not just for the enjoyment of a mid summer swim, but a picnic or a camp fire can also be enjoyed in January. Its quite fun to sit on plastic cushions on the ice and snow bundled up well against the cold and eat a freshly grilled hot dog. It is a wonderful experience to go for a walk in the spring and look for the first flowers, or go out in the fall to pick berries and mushrooms…or just to get the fresh air. There is no such as bad weather you know – only bad clothes :D

Regarding The Challenge to my readers (on my last post):
Thanks to all who took their time to comment and participate in the contest! I really enjoyed reading your suggestions – some really creative and some really close. Please read my reply to each of you.
Some of you suggested the sign on the lake was way marks for snowmobilers and that makes sense. Let me however, take this opportunely to deepening what I call ‘The Norwegian soul’: There is strong restriction in use of vehicle on the countryside in Norway. When relaxing out in the nature, we don’t want to be disturbed by any engine sound. Besides; you miss the details and beauty of the nature if you drive around as in the stressed, urban life!

24 hours of flickr from Oslo

Global communities fascinate me – yes, you might say I’m addicted:-). I was invited to join ‘24 Hours of Flickr’, a day-long global photo project. The challenge was to grab your camera and whatever else needed and chronicle the day in pictures.

The event will be commemorated by a companion 24 Hours of Flickr book, which will contain a selection of photographs chosen from the group. Additionally, the group’s photos will be featured at Flickr events around the world this summer.

So off I went to Oslo with my Nikon Cool Pix S2, fully charged. I took about 50 pictures touring around, looking for the scoop of the day. I had a great time although I’d hope the weather would have been better. It was cloudy, a bit windy and around 15C (60F). I met a lot of people including a nice, young couple from Poland exploring the capital of Norway and a fan of Roald Amundsen, the Polar explorer and Thor Heyerdahl, our famous ethnographer and adventurer.

Among all the captured impression and adventures of my afternoon trip in Oslo today, I have decided to share a few from a famous Norwegian sculptor; Skule Waksvik:

Skule Waksvik 1989 at Aker Brygge in Oslo

He is born in Strinda on the 22nd of December 1927 and his motive is mostly from nature, animals and women often placed in public places. This sculpture is placed at Aker Brygge; for more than a hundred years a shipyard, but in 1982 the old wharf was turned into a modern place with restaurants, shops, offices, luxurious apartments and leisure-boat docks. On the other end of Aker Brygge square, I found another sculpture of Waksvik:

Skule Waksvik; Lady at the dock

The first picture in this post will be posted at the 24 hours of flickr as only one picture can be presented there. Here at my blog of course I can do what I like, so I’ll share a few more from my day in Oslo:

Sailing ship in front of Akershus Fortress

Oslo Fountain

Just for the fun of it: Do you think I’ve chosen the right pic for the contest, or would you have picked on of the last two?

I Choose April

One of Norway’s famous author, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832 – 1910), celebrated for his lyrics to the National Anthem and was also a 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate once wrote a poem ‘Jeg velger meg april’ (I choose April). The story says he was writing for a magazine who wanted one poem per month, and April was the one left. He decided to make the best out of it – in an offensive way – and his reason was:
-because it storms and wipes –it smiles and melts –it’s capable and in it the summer comes!

After all, my blog is about Norway, our significant four seasons, so let me give you another example of its powerful change: Today I had another quality time with my wife, and experienced just that and I’ll gladly take you along on our trip:

Children wading at the stony shore.

Remember Norwegians have 4 – 5 months of winter behind us – a wet, cold, windy, snowy season with daylight time down to 6 hours where we live. Don’t get me wrong; my regular readers know I love it; skiing, skating, ski jumping and even curling, all outdoors with crisp fresh air. The best of it though, is the season change and you notice and appreciate it even more when the nature wakes up from hibernation. Let me give you some promising examples:

This years first BBQ among the scilla in the garden.

Blue and white Anemone (Hepatica) – and “hestehov” called horses hooves.

The two last pics are from our trip through the forest to the beach today. These flowers are stubborn as they find their way towards the spring sun through the last year’s fallen leaves. Everything longing for the warm and prosperous season and as you can see in this post’s first pics the youngest can’t resist the first wade of the year.

The smell in the air, the songs from the migratory birds busy making their new homes and also the waves on the beach make you humble. Spring is in the air and soon there will be summer again:

Norwegians exalt the spring!

For those who really like to see the contrast to this spring time, I’ve actually posted from this very beach in the winter time last year: ‘Walking on water’. In a couple of months these people will lay on the sand tanning and even swim or play in the water. Today the water holds around 10C (50F) and in June/July it’s often above 20C (69F). So all of you who are planning for summer; come visit Norway in a couple of months and see how nice, warm and sunny it can be! If you tell me in advance, I’ll gladly guide you around or you can find a lot of tips looking around in my blog of course.

Bonfire at the Easter Egg hunt

To me Easter Holiday is family time full of childhood traditions. The top of the cream is the yearly Easter Bunny Egg hunt in the woods near my parent’s home. It’s also normally the first taste of spring where you really can smell nature awakening and see the early stubborn flowers peeking up from the recent thawed soil in the woods. If listen carefully, you can also hear the first songs from the migrant birds who have returned from southern Europe. Yesterday was no exception and I’ll gladly take you along. Lets start with childish anticipation; will the Easter Bunny be there and lay eggs this year too?

This is a tradition passed from generation to generation in my family. Going out in the forest Sundays at all seasons was a habit, but the first day of Easter was special because we were on this special expedition; has the bunny been there – will I find my egg – what will be inside this year?

The hunt – and the yummy treasure.

For those who haven’t heard about how and why the Easter Bunny laid eggs in the forest, please click to read my post from last year. This year I will invite you to sit in and eat with us at the bonfire with a special Norwegian recipe:

The Pinnebrød dough – Grilling the sausage and the bread

My sister always makes this dough called ‘pinnebrød’ (branch bread) which you can roll around the stick or around the sausage stuck on the branch. The recipe: 250 grams flour, ½ ts salt, ½ ts baking powder, 1 table spoon melted butter or oil, and 1.5 dl melk, make a simple dough of these ingredients and we like to add sunflower seeds for extra flavour. It is fast cooked on the fire and taste just lovely.

It was fairly cold this year, actually close to freezing and with light snow in the air. This didn’t stop us from our yearly adventures of course and most of my regular readers know our saying: There is no such as bad weather, only bad clothes. Besides, the bonfire keeps us warm along with the greatest company and of course storytelling (my sister’s of how the bunny started laying eggs is a must!):

Please click on the pics to see details as there are numerous ways to cook your sausage. This year I made a relatively thick pinnebrød and made it like a hot dog roll. My wife likes to wrap the dough around her hot dog and cook them together; others cook the dough on the stick and slide the hot dog in the hole. Some taste a bit burned of course, also a bit smoked and those who have problems with a bit of dust and ashes on your fingers have a problem – we don’t, but then again the closer to the natural elements, the better we think. By the way some of my readers asked if it was hard to be a vegetarian in Norway, my niece is a vegetarian so we bought some soy hotdogs for her to eat too…so everything is possible you know.

Picking spring flowers

Going home, with the stomach full of sweets (I prefer chocolate and marzipan) and of course home made hot dogs, the anticipation is fulfilled. Then almost out of the forests, I found my niece picking Anemone nemorosa (white flower and proof of spring in Norway). She picked a bouquet for grandma as we all went to my parent’s house for dinner. 10 were people sitting together talking about the lovely day and this great tradition and with the spring flowers as a reminder, decorating the table. The older you get, the more important those quality times are and even the youngster says they wouldn’t miss it next year for anything either:-)

Opening of Nordic golf season

Since the Easter holidays run from the coming Thursday until next Monday in Norway, quite a few take this week off for Easter vacation. Most of us head for the mountains to get the last taste of winter and snow. Weather in the south part of Norway is perfect; a bit below freezing, sunny and enough snow for both cross country and downhill. In the news today, we saw young people having fun on snowboards in bikini:-) Yes, I know: we are the crazy Vikings!

Our family, however, headed over the Swedish border to our summer paradise in Mariestad. Spring has arrived early this year, the birds are singing, the crocus is blooming and most important of all; the golf season has begun:

The seasons first swing:-)

This morning, my wife and I opened the golf season with a good round in fantastic sunshine and good spirits. Our game might not have been perfect, but everything else was. A hole in one of spring experiences – the last round was in October last year! I know some of you don’t play golf at all or you might play it all year long. To a Scandinavian, after a cold and snowy winter season, it is like braking out of hibernation to see green grass and a lush putting green. The only trees that are green are the pine trees, but you can almost smell the growing buds on the birch trees:

Nordic golf course waking up from hibernation.

Walking around in a crisp wind and in temperature around 18C (64F) was so refreshing. I started with a wind proof jacket and ended in a t-shirt. I had both my Nokia mobile phone and a step counter on my belt. Click to enlarge the pics and I can tell you we walked almost 12 000 steps so it’s a great workout too!

The charming couple – The club house.

Golfing is one of the most social activities you can ever do. In a flight of four we met a nice and charming Swedish couple from the local area. He was a history teacher and we exchanged and discussed a lot of mutual Scandinavian history. Remember; Norway has been in union under the Swedish rule (1814 to 1905), so it’s always interesting to share opinions and knowledge. To a certain extent, that is what golf is all about.

Talking about history, experiences and culture of the Nordic countries; would you like to know a bit about Iceland too? Well then you are welcome to join us in Lifecruisers Cyber Cruise as we are in Niceland today. Click here to explore together with us!