Trina's North Germany

A glimpse into an ordinary German life


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Runde

Blogging from A – Z

As I have mentioned before my partner is Norwegian. He grew up on a small island called Runde. Runde is famous for its bird rocks. In winter there are about 100 people living on the island, in summer there is a steady stream of tourists. Some of them, especially Germans, stay for weeks or even months, others stay just long enough to have a trip up the mountain and make some photos of the birds. Most people take a boat trip around the island, which is a lot of fun. The skipper is able to take the boat very close to the rocks so you can look inside the caves.

There is only a small kiosk on the camping place; food shopping is done in the next town Fosnavaag, about 15 km away. There is a bridge connecting Runde to the next island, you will see it on one of the photos below.

Walking up on the mountain you will meet skuas, and they can be very aggressive when you walk to close to one of their nests. The most popular bird however is the puffin, and I have added a photo of one made by my partner.

Most years we spend a few weeks on Runde, and I have come to love that island and its people a lot. One of my favorite places are the old boathouses near the harbor, I feel they have a very special charm.

If you should ever visit Norway, I recommend a stop on Runde. I am only giving you a small glimpse, but if you should follow this blog you will see more of Runde and Norway.

 

 


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Starting over with my blog

I have neglected this blog terribly. Well, not just this blog, but my German ones as well. Somehow, this year has been busy with family things:  a wedding, a christening, a 80th birthday, a confirmation and serious sickness. Many weekends were spent away at home, in Lüneburg and Heide, where most of my family lives. There were some trips with our new camper van, the one my partner built himself out of an old delivery van.

Yes, I have taken many photos, so during the winter I will show you, where we have been and give you some more impressions of North Germany. North Germany includes the three federal states Schleswig – Holstein, where I live, Norther Saxony, where I grew up and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern which used to be in the German Democratic Republic.

When I started this blog I was very optimistic about getting involved in the community life in the small place I am living in today. I wanted to show you the places I visited and share my everyday life with you.

Since having this blog I have not found it so terrible difficult to show you places I visited, but sharing everyday life has been a challenge. Simply, because I am still not rooted in the community here. I am working in Hamburg, commuting, usually being away from home 12 – 13 hours. Coming home there are chores to do: walk the dog, fix dinner, read the mail. And being in a relationship it deserves a bit of attention too.

In the countryside life stops around 08:00 pm. The shutters on the houses around us go down. Sports courses at the local club start long before, the baker, the butcher and the pharmacist close at 06.00 and when I get home, only the supermarkets are open. Weekends are busy with cleaning up, shopping, doing the garden and the only time I meet the neighbors is when I walk the dog. Our friends are either living in Hamburg or further away.

If you want to be part of a community in the country side you have to either be born into the place or join the voluntary fire brigade (still a man’s thing) or the football /sports club or the church. All three don’t appeal to me and not to my partner either.

This is the reason why I haven’t been writing much about everyday life. It is a weak excuse, I know. I will try to better myself, which is one of the reasons I joined this Blogging 101 University.

I still want to show you North Germany. It has always irritated me a bit, that most non-Germans think of South Germany and its traditions when thinking about Germany. I love travelling and catching glimpses into other people’s lives, at the same time I have very strong roots here.

I will still write about everyday life, about things that are typical (North) German. And now and then I will write about things that are on my mind and that I would like to share with others.  Maybe I will even let you catch a glimpse into my work life, and I would very much show you some of Norway, which I have come to like an awful lot.

You know, when sharing these things publicly they become something special for me. I am trying to find aspects that might be new or unusual to others, while they are commonplace to me. Last, not least, blogging in English helps me to keep my knowledge of the language active and meeting many people from around the world. And that, I feel, is a true enrichment.


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Norway

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:

Örsta in December

Örsta in December

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: