Back in 2004, I jumped on a subway train in Norway. It was my first time visiting the country that was to steal my heart. I had little knowledge of where I was going that day, or what would happen, other than I was headed for a ski jump outside of Oslo, which had panoramic… Continue reading Friendly Friday – Meet Olav in Norway
Keukenhof is spectacular in bloom, Toowoomba is stunning during the Carnival of Flowers, as is Japan in Cherry Blossom season, but right now I'm thinking of Wildflowers, especially those that grow in the most unlikely or unusual places. Street light pop up in Helsinki Growing beside a bridge footing in Norway To say, I was… Continue reading Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Wildflowers
Norwegians are obsessed with sunlight. They talk about it endlessly and watch and wait in the New Year, for the light to come a little earlier each day heralding the onset of an early spring. Obsessed? Quite possibly. Most of us are familiar with the winter blues, associated lack of sunlight and how it can… Continue reading Mirror Mirror on the Mountain
Day 6 Nominating Wordkraft
Elise Davies was writing about mirror photography on her blog recently. Apparently it is quite a trend on a nefarious app, that one that imitates a clock! Yes, that one. Elise likes how using mirrors in her photography: diverts or reflects something else within the image whilst keeping focus on the models also.Elise Davies Mirrors… Continue reading Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Smoke and Mirrors
The world can be a stressful place at times. Often there is a need to step back and re-energize our tolerance to stress, pressures and worries. Certain places in the world can be restorative to our spirit. These places may be somewhere in your own region, in your own street or even in one's own… Continue reading Friendly Friday Challenge – Quiet Places
I was washing the Schnauzer Dog this morning and the young pup and rest of the family kept interrupting me, pushing open the door hitting me in the shoulder, when I was working with the dog in the tub, full of shampoo. If it wasn't the pup pushing open the closed door latch, it was… Continue reading It Started with the Door
Do you have an eye for colour in your photography? Using colour helps to create mood and feelings in photographs and may result in a photo that is more pleasing to the eye. baklandet buildings Photographers can create a heightened level of visual interest and enhance photos by seeking out particular colour harmonies in the… Continue reading Friendly Friday Challenge – Colour Harmonies
Many years ago, whilst travelling through country Australia, I snapped a photo of a patch of forest in an old park, where we'd stopped to have lunch. This was the days when you had to drop off your camera film and wait for several days, for it to be developed. Remember that? Weeks later, a… Continue reading Friendly Friday Challenge – Unusual
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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Numedal Valley Since medieval times, one of the main routes Traders and Pilgrims used to traverse Norway between Oslo and Bergen, was via the Numedal Valley, which stretches from Kongsberg in the south, to Geilo and the Hardangervidda Plateau, in the North west. Hardangervidda Due to this long history, Numedal has one of Norway’s most… Continue reading Numedal Valley in Norway