Australia, Motivational

When Will I Die?

No one lives forever, so as we get older, we inevitably think about our own mortality. Especially when we lose a family member or a close friend. I had imagined the leading cause of death for Australians to be either heart disease, vascular issues or cancer and I was wrong. It was a reality check… Continue reading When Will I Die?

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Food

Embracing Edamame Beans

As one on the periphery of the 'Boomer' generation, I am slightly hesitant to use nouveau cuisine ingredients in my meals. However, as my adult children grow and in-laws arrive at family dinners, I need to cater to vegan, coeliac and pescatarian palettes, so I'm aiming to be versatile, making some low-calorie alternatives such as… Continue reading Embracing Edamame Beans

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blogging, Motivational, Philosophy

Words to Ponder About

Life is like a mirror; we get the best results when we smile. So talk about your blessings more than you talk about your problems. Just because you're struggling doesn't mean you're failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. I don't have any record of who said these words,… Continue reading Words to Ponder About

lavender
blogging

Aromatherapy Products

The use of essential oils for therapeutic and cosmetic use has become mainstream in recent times. With a multitude of aromatherapy products to choose from, which ones stand out from the 'crowd'? What are the real benefits of using products with essential oils? Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com How are Essential Oils Created? Essential oils… Continue reading Aromatherapy Products

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Australia, blogging

Social Distancing in Australia

So much for social distancing, I thought. Notwithstanding our relative safety here in Australia, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko on Pexels.com We're allowed to attend social events again and in my state in Australia, we're even permitted to sing, (something not all states, are allowed to… Continue reading Social Distancing in Australia

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blogging

Defining You, Yourself and Your Worth

The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one's self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course. Michelangelo That was enough for Michelangelo who had exceptional talent. For most of us, we judge ourselves more harshly. You are so much more… Continue reading Defining You, Yourself and Your Worth

lavender products
Australia, Community

Something to Smile About

If you want to find other blogs of interest and read fun, uplifting and positive things that are happening in the world, head on other to Trent's collection of Weekly Smiles. Because....... We all need good news stories at the moment. Right? This week I joined in on a free Qi Gong Exercise class on… Continue reading Something to Smile About

lavender
blogging

Lavender

Farming and rural communities are doing it tough in these times. Most of us recognize that. You will be be delighted and surprised at the hidden gems found in many country towns and rural areas that were formerly overlooked by the overseas obsessed traveling public. Amandine Lavender is one such gem near the central Queensland… Continue reading Lavender

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blogging, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Open the Doors

“The best time to open the door to the cages we’ve built around ourselves is now.  Live your dreams while you are able.”  Lisa Dorenfest from Eric/ka at https://behindthesceneryphoto.com/ Before you panic, I'm not advocating opening up borders and businesses in the midst of a pandemic. Far from it, I err on the side of… Continue reading Open the Doors

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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Early morning sunrise photography
Food, History & Traditions

Cook Eat Repeat Challenge – Healthy Breakfast Eggnog

I have been following Moons' blog, Bits and Pieces for some time now and read her post on a traditional form of Chai style tea that originated from Calcutta, as well as the beautiful traditions that surround this drink and its preparation. She's challenged the blogging community to write about a drink that is a… Continue reading Cook Eat Repeat Challenge – Healthy Breakfast Eggnog

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Community, Mental Health, Motivational

Exercise – I hate it, so I found a solution.

When you live in a hot climate, exercising is hard. The will to jog or pump iron in the blistering heat of a steamy summer's day, is almost impossible to find. Adder Rock Entering my fifth decade, I discovered that if I didn’t exercise regularly and followed my ever increasing sedentary lifestyle, my body and… Continue reading Exercise – I hate it, so I found a solution.

Community, Food

Minestrone Soup Recipe

Before the southern summer heat vents its spleen and the northerners tuck themselves in for winter,  a nutritious meal that might ward off cold and flu viruses that accompany seasonal changes, could be just what we need. Such as Minestrone served with some crusty rolls/baguette slices. Minestrone There are a multitude of recipes for Minestrone… Continue reading Minestrone Soup Recipe