The Remarkable skiing
Travel

Skiing in New Zealand

Several years ago, we endured a heart-stopping trip to The Remarkables Ski Fields in the South Island of New Zealand. Australians flock to the NZ ski fields, every year, as it is more cost effective for them, than skiing in the limited fields in Australia. Finally, we arrived! After the 8 Kilometre, nail-biting transfer to… Continue reading Skiing in New Zealand

ski area New Zealand
blogging, Travel

Risking Life and Limb to Ski in New Zealand

Queenstown On the way to Cromwell... To reach our destination in Queenstown, we'd had to firstly cross the Canterbury plains and central Otago - Mckenzie country, take lunch at stunning Mt Cook, had a tea break at Omarama and Cromwell before traversing the very scenic Lindis Pass, before finally reaching Queenstown. Lindis pass' Along the… Continue reading Risking Life and Limb to Ski in New Zealand

Merino Sheep, Mt Cook
blogging, Photography, Travel

Cromwell and The Lindis Pass

Iceland or New Zealand? New Zealand has often been compared to Norway. In fact, on the way to Kastrup airport in Denmark, I saw one of those massive billboards, illuminated with a photograph of a snow-covered mountain. The caption read, "Norway? No! New Zealand!" Several years ago, I took a bus from Christchurch in the… Continue reading Cromwell and The Lindis Pass

sweden Malmø
Travel

Virtual Travel to Sweden

I wrote a guest post some years ago, for a travel blogger, about a favourite place that I had visited. As we cannot travel irl, virtual travel will have to do today. there is some formatting errors as it is written with the old editor. (Who uses that now?) Choosing a topic for my favourite… Continue reading Virtual Travel to Sweden

Book review, Traditional Art, Travel

Easter in Norway

norway

Norwegian Easter Traditions

Easter is a time when Norwegians head for the hills, or in Norway’s case, the mountains.

Most families have a cabin they own in the ‘fjeller’ – or mountains, decorated in traditional Norwegian ‘Hytte’ style. ‘Hytte’ means cabin, plural ‘Hytter’, in Norwegian.

Hytter are timber cottages decorated with Norwegian crafts such as Traditional Rosemaling Art, woodcarving, weaving and embroidery, with mostly rustic interiors, fitted with benches topped with reindeer furs, (sitteunderlag), and other traditional furnishings.

Norway
Tradition Norwegian embroidery decorates the windows

Norwegian ‘Hytter’ Mountain Cabins

Hytter, or cabins, are quite rudimentary houses, partly because of the remoteness of their locations and partly due to the Norwegian tradition of getting back to nature. Visiting a family mountain cabin at Easter is a therapeutic time for Norwegians to ski, breathe in the fresh mountain air, relax and for a short time, not rely on everyday modern conveniences.

Norway

Beitostølen

So when I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Hytte in Beito, high up in the Norwegian mountains with Norwegian friends, how could I resist?

The area known as Beito is part of the community at Beitostølen, an elite skiing location where the likes of the Norwegian Olympic ski team spent their time. Norwegian-Australian friends who heard I was going to visit Beitostølen, were quite rightly jealous, reacting with comments like,

“That is where the ski team practice.”

“Do you realize how lucky you are to be going to Beitostølen?”

I did. It was different to any other holiday I had experienced.

Mountain cabin
A Norwegian Hytte

The Hytte at Beito comprised three timber cabins, with adjoining composting toilet and washroom; that would later hold a shower at some point in the future.

The cabins, themselves, were not equipped with running water, so we sponged ourselves using a bucket, with water sourced from the nearby spring. Fetching the water is a chore that would traditionally be delegated to children.

Living as I do in Australia, meant things like fetching water in the snow proved to be a novel experience. I was the first to volunteer for this task as it was another chance to be outside in the hushed, cosy silence of the snow-covered hillside.

If it meant I was to traipse through knee-deep snow to collect water, those mediative moments of silence, amidst the breathtaking mountain scenery, inhaling fresh Norwegian air and hearing only my muffled footsteps, were merely a comforting, restorative practice for me.

snowy mountains
Norway

Norwegian Hytte Meals

Hytter meals are simple, apart from breakfast. The traditional hytte breakfast is a feast of eggs, salmon, cheese, bread, jam and vegetables, such as cucumber and carrot and also perhaps some yoghurt/kefir or waffles. Our bodies needed lots of food, ostensibly, to keep warm and active out in the snow.

Lunch is almost non-existent, but really after the filling Hytte breakfast, who needs lunch? A Norwegian chocolate bar, known as a ‘Quiklunsj’ (Quick lunch), or an apple, would suffice.

Dinner is mostly a laid back affair of home-made soup, cold meat such as lamb or boiled sheep and bread, or ‘Lompe’ – basically a hot dog, with a bread-like wrap made from potato flour, cooked on the outside barbeque or grill, of course.

Things to do at the Hytte

Skiing Bitihorn Beitostolen Norway

We spent the daytime out of doors, unless it was snowing heavily. We skied, tobogganed, slide down snowy slopes with the ‘akebrett,’ a paddle like slide, or the snow bike; walked about in snowshoes, built snow castles, threw snowballs and made plenty of snow angels, and snow “candles,” just because.

Once darkness arrived, it was time to ‘play’ inside, talking, drawing or Rosemaling – another Norwegian tradition, which is actually my great passion. If it was snowing hard outside during the day, there would be more Rosemaling as wells as card games or puppet shows, for the children. We read books too, as there was no TV, nor phone reception, unless you visited the grocery store a few miles away.

Rosemalt kubbestol

To get into the full spirit of the Norwegian Easter experience, I read one of the rivetting crime novels from Norwegian crime fiction author Jo Nesbø to complement my surroundings. He is a compelling writer and if you have not come across him before, you can read a Book Review.

The Hytte was good, clean fun and a really healthy, energetic holiday.

Was it cold by Australian standards?

Yes, but did I like it?

Absolutely. I loved it.

Being at the tail-end of a Norwegian winter, the weather towards Easter is generally calm, without storms. After a cold night, the sun could be so warm, my face became tanned!

During these sun-filled days, the Norwegians would enjoy sitting against a sunny wall, their face upturned towards the sky, taking in much needed Vitamin D that their bodies had missed during the long, dark winter. They even have a word for this kind of activity: Solveggen.

Warming the soul and the body!

This is what the Norwegian Easter did for me, too!

Hand-painted-Easter-eggs-from-Budapest

Wherever you are in the world, you can still travel virtually. When are you going this Easter?

In the words of Norwegians, God Påske.

Happy Easter to you and yours.

Linking to Trent’s #Weeklysmile

Easter Holiday Norway Fieldfare CabinNorwegians, Easter, cabins and crime literature belong together like horse and carriage – a tradition that started over 90 years ago. Here you can find out how to celebrate a typical Norwegian Easter.

First: Ensure that you have skis – either bought or borrowed. Also, make sure you have ski wax even if you are not sure how to use it. There is always someone along the tracks that can help a ‘forlorn wretch’.

When it comes to clothing it is important that it has red color, preferably with a home knitted wool sweater that smells of last year’s bonfire.

But wait a minute. If you do not know it already: Norwegians love skiing, especially at Easter, and many go several miles to their cabins where to spend the vacation. Surprisingly many people ski into a different era where outdoor toilet, drafty cabins and totally deserted landscape are considered paradise.

Easter Holiday Norway skiingAnyhow…

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New Zealand
Australia, History & Traditions, Travel

Australia Speaks – Yeh Nah!

Australians are renowned for a laconic, self-deprecating sense of humour that is, to a large extent, the sort of mockery that is not meant to offend. Australia - New Zealand Relations We love to tease the New Zealanders about their accent and habits, like their habit of calling all and sundry, 'bro.' The Kiwis, in… Continue reading Australia Speaks – Yeh Nah!

Cakes, cookies, biscuits and Home Bake, Travel

Michelin Meal in Japan II

Michelin Star Restaurants Most of us are familiar with 'Michelin stars - the rating system for high-class restaurants the world over. Those highly sought after Michelin stars are indicative of excellence in consistency, presentation of food and mastery of technique. What would you do if you were presented with a Michelin meal you couldn't eat?… Continue reading Michelin Meal in Japan II

Australia, Community, Travel

Coping with Covid

Latest Update 475 deaths from Corona, in Italy yesterday. 140 new cases overnight here, in Australia. No new cases in China - that they are aware of. Some good news from China, at last. Iceland had its first death, possibly attributed to Covid 19! Iceland! A sparsely populated area in the north of a country… Continue reading Coping with Covid

Travel

Michelin Meals in Japan

Most of us have heard of Michelin stars. That system of rating restaurants according to the results of reviews on consistency and presentation of food, quality and mastery of technique. But Michelin stars can be a fickle thing. They come and go, as a famous French restaurant, formerly run by Paul Bocuse, found out recently… Continue reading Michelin Meals in Japan

poland
Travel

UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Gdansk Shipyards

We all know the slogan, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." The exact opposite is true of Gdansk. Their slogan is: 'What happens here moves the world.' The Solidarity Gate The selfie is mine, but this iconic location belongs to the people of Gdansk, (until 1939, known as Danzig, Poland). This particular spot holds… Continue reading UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Gdansk Shipyards

Danmark, Travel

Travel Tips and Reviews

Travel Reviews and Tips for Travelling Are you travelling to any of the following destinations: AustraliaAustriaDenmarkItalyFinlandGermanyHong KongJapanNew ZealandNorwayPolandSingaporeSwedenSwitzerland If so take a look at my Travel Tips Page You can also find other useful information such as: Packing tips for Travel Scandinavian – Books for those who wish to travel via words Amanda in Denmark… Continue reading Travel Tips and Reviews