April 18, 2014

hytta.

Or, "the cabin" in English.

Last weekend I was finally introduced to the Norwegian concept of "hytte." Now, the English translation doesn't do this concept justice--after all, the word "cabin" is not so exciting, and it doesn't bring back an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and comfort that the word "hytte" does for Norwegians.

Norwegian cabins are memories from old. The best ones are the most rustic--extra points goes to those lacking water (hot or cold) and electricity. The more remote the better, with many being only accessible on foot or by skis.

Now, the first "hytta" we went to was in Åre with Erik and Lene. But that one was more like a house, and it had luxuries such as electricity, a driveway, and a sauna. That hytta was misleading in every sense of the term.

But last weekend Guri took me, Torill, and Anna-Lena to her hytta near Røros (about a kilometer from the Swedish border). This was the real deal y'all. It was in the woods. We had to ski to get there!

Do you see the cabin? Do you also see Torill pulling a sled with all our stuff? She's amazing. :)
It was a bit fancy because it had lights at night powered by a solar panel, and we could heat up water on the wood stove. But still--it is about as rustic as I am willing to get.

It was also so lovely!

We had a nice few days skiing, eating, and drinking craft beer. Good company and good conversation.

I can see why Norwegians like their cabins so much. Time away from the hustle and bustle is good for the soul.

And as a plus, I got to stock up on vegetarian food with a quick stop-over to a grocery store in Sweden. To keep things frozen Torill made me a snow-fridge!

Snow fridges keep Quorn tasty.

A nice memory of winter to take with me as we move into Spring.

March 28, 2014

skiing and beer in Sweden.

Vincent and I are back from a lovely second weekend trip to Sweden. This time we went to a ski town called Åre where we stayed in a super fancy cabin that was nicer than our apartment. It had a sauna in one of the bathrooms, people. And a dryer in the hallway for all your wet shoes and jackets.

Erik and Lene are sooooo fancy!

There was snow in Åre. Which meant one thing. And I mean only one thing. Skiing.

If you know me, you know I have never snow-skiied before. Where I grew up "skiing" meant on water. So, I definitely felt a bit out of my comfort zone when we "hit the slopes," as they say, and I tried on my first pair of ski boots.

Let's just say I was correct to feel out of place. Everyone was skiing. Even 7-day-old babies. And they were all better than me. I saw like a three-year-old go full speed down a hill backwards, as if he was going forward. How in whatever was I supposed to even try and contend with that?

Now, Lene, Erik, and Vincent were the most gracious of friends. They all were very patient with my whining, and even calmly explained why a helicopter couldn't come and get me and take me back down the mountain (apparently we were only on a "blue" hill and it was only like 1/2 a kilometer from the ski lodge. Swedes have no compassion.).


Let's just say my first day of skiing was stressful and constantly terrifying. And even though I didn't really fall… I didn't really ski either. I guess I am not one to give myself over to gravity, when I'm going down a mountain. It's just not my thing. Eh.

Vincent, Erik, and Lene after a nice cross-country trek.
But then. The next day happened. The sun was out and the snow was fresh as powder. A perfect day to try my feet at cross-country skiing. And holy crap, y'all, it was so fun. Like taking a run or a hike through the forest. So pretty! Plus, where we were, the hills were not so steep and I could just trust the tracks to guide me to safety. Plus, Lene never left my side and kept me calm, so I didn't try to get out of the tracks--because that would have ended less well. Thank you Lene!





So. There you have it. Lindsay likes cross-country skiing. She doesn't like downhill skiing so much. But, hey! She loves to drink beer. So you can always still invite her on your ski trips to Sweden.

Ice cold beer!


March 12, 2014

if you wanna practice your norwegian, go to sweden.

Sweden is nice. It also, conveniently, is very close to Trondheim!

A two-hour train ride directly east will land you at the border, and another two hours will take you to Østersund--a nice little town next to a very, very large lake (which at the moment is kind of frozen).

Vincent and I went there for the weekend. To relax and see a new place*.

As most of you know, I do not enjoy eating out. Salad and french fries is a common theme. And for whatever reason, such meals fail to impress. In fact, finding suitable food is one of the most stressful part about traveling for me**. Just ask Vincent.

So you can imagine how happy I was when I sat down to a most delightful meal at a restaurant called Sir Winston. Of course it helped that they served delicious ales from a local microbrewery. Even so, I have to admit it is a meal I won't forget anytime soon. Also, the servers were fantastic. They even spoke Swedish to us the whole night, which was highly amusing because we were speaking our advanced beginner Norwegian. But they stuck it out with us and we left very pleased with ourselves. I guess if you wanna practice Norwegian, you should go to Sweden.

Another Østersund highlight is that it lies on the edge of a very large "frozen" lake. I use the "frozen" loosely. As you can see, the lake was only frozen in parts, even though this didn't seem to deter anyone from walking, skiing, biking, and playing with their dog on it.

Swedes are cuuurazy!

Vincent and I even managed a couple of kilometers on it without perishing into the icy depths!

Photos of our adventures can be seen here. We highly recommend Østersund as a weekend trip away.

Next weekend, we are off to another Swedish destination--the ski town of Åre--with Erik and Lene. Fingers crossed there is snow. This may be THE chance I have this year to try skiing!



* And we figured that since we were there, we should also drink cheap, but absolutely delicious, beer and buy groceries.
** Not counting, of course, the intense and very real fear of flying I now enjoy.

March 1, 2014

The Northern Lights.

Oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god.

After months of watching weather forecasts and scanning the skies for a clear, starry night with a pinch of magnetic activity, Vincent and I finally got our first glimpse of the Northern Lights.

They were so beautiful and lovely. And mysterious. And minty green.

Nordlysene.


They were also very quiet. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe they seemed quiet, because we were alone on the top a mountain at midnight. Hm.

In any case, they would tip toe across the night sky--like they didn't want you to notice them--and then would disappear... only to re-emerge again a minute later in another direction.

Sneaky Northern Lights.

If you want, a few more photos can be seen here.

January 3, 2014

oh. hei. lenge siden siste.

Wow. Is it really 2014? Hm. I'm not sure when that happened (well, actually, I do know when that happened. I was present for it amidst a town's fervent attempt to all become rocket scientists at once).

The past few month or so has sledded by (hehe), I must say. We had snow; it was pretty and slippery and bright all at the same time. Then it melted. Now it is dark and cold, but surprisingly cozy most of the time. The Norwegians know how to face the winter with grace and good cheer, also juleøl helps.

I went to Copenhagen (that's in Demark), met a bunch of signed language linguists from all over Scandinavia, drank "cheap" beer, wandered around the fantastical world of Tivoli, accidentally stumbled into Christiana, ate vegetarian food, did some work, learned some more Norwegian Sign Language (and some Norwegian for that matter), and then went home.

A few days later, we went to Oslo. More specifically, Nesodden. No snow there either, but Jeanine was there! And we all had a lovely (alcohol joy-filled) Christmas. Vincent got to try all sorts of awful Norwegian delicacies, and there was aquavit for all. Good times.

Most recently was a New Year's Eve party filled with good food, good drink, and good company.

Now the New Year begins.

Godt nytt år!