The first time I visited Norway was in 2000. It would have never occurred to me to spend my holidays that far North. I imagined Norway to be cold, dark and terribly boring. I went to Norway, because I had fallen in love with a man from Norway.
Now, Norway is definitely no country for you if you are after shopping, nightclubs, fancy restaurants and lying on the beach all day. There are better places for that, but you would also miss the chance to explore fantastic nature. Norway is a country for outdoor activities and you should not be afraid of a little rain now and then.
Of course you will find very nice shops even in remote places and especially during the last years more and more fancy restaurants have opened. I myself like exploring traditional Norwegian food which is simple but very tasty. Norwegians like to have parties and you will find nightclubs and hotels where there is dancing in many places, and I have always enjoyed going out in Norway.
This year it was extraordinarily warm in Norway and we saw people bathing in fjords, which are usually very cold. There are very nice beaches in the South of Norway, but this year we explored the area around the Westcape, where there are a lot of small bays with sandy beaches which are popular for surfers. I will tell you about that trip in one of my next posts.
No, Norway is anything but cold, dark and boring. I have come to love it, even though my feelings about it are still ambivalent, especially about living there permanently.
It is now 14 years ago that I fell in love with SH. My first visit to Sunmöre, where he was living then, was in March, and it was cold and dark when I arrived. Next morning, when I opened my window, I was stunned as I looked across a dark blue fjord onto some snow covered mountains, the sky a light blue. I looked as idyllic as landscapes usually only look on postcards and I was deeply impressed. On the photo below, which was made 10 years later at some friend’s house you can get an idea what I saw. Just imagine there not being any houses:
What impressed me on this first visit was not only the hospitality and kindness of the people I met but the tranquility I felt. Norway is a very young and modern Nation, but once you leave the South. cities, towns and villages are widely spread and small by German standards. Unless you go to the bigger towns like Aalesund, you will find hardly any traffic lights and there is not much traffic on the roads. Everything seems efficient, but relaxed.
People care a lot about their homes, and when walking through a village you will see beautifully decorated windows and gardens. After each visit to Norway I am full of ideas how to make our home more welcoming and cozy, but what works in Norway doesn’t seem to works here.
The first years we spent our holidays in Örsta, before we got our cabin on the island of Runde, in the Heröy commune. We do our shopping in Fosnavaag, which is maybe 15 km away. There is no shop on the island, only a well equipped kiosk at the camping place, which happens to belong to my partner’s brother.
We don’t have electricity in our cabin, only a generator which we use only when absolutely necessary. We do not have television or internet in our cabin, only an old radio running on batteries.
This year we didn’t have running water, as the water tank was damaged during the winter and we were not able to fix it straight away. We took our water from a small stream coming out of the mountain behind our cabin, and that worked fine.
What I like to do when being in Norway? I take walks, long, lonely walks. I like walking alone, it clears my mind and after a few days I am usually in a deep state of relaxation. I sit outside our cabin and watch seagulls teaching their young ones to fly. I paint, I read a lot. We go on boating tours and now and then on car trips exploring some small roads leading into the mountains. We fish, when there is fish in the sea, and of course we visit friends and relatives and often SHs children and grandchildren are spending some days with us.
Runde is famous for it’s birdrocks, but even though there are many tourists during the summer you will still feel you have the place to yourself when walking. Here are some pictures I took during my walks: