Oh. My. Word. Life sure seems busier here than it was there–or maybe I’m just lazier. Or, it could be that work, like, gets in the way of living. Somehow, going to one’s job, taking care of a house, car, pet, stuff, etc, takes more hours out of a week than not. That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it. Be that as it may, I will continue with my writing about our time in Norway, even if we are not exactly in Norway. And, this is big news, I may start writing a travel blog as a creative outlet after my Norwegian well has run dry, so to speak. I think I need a reason to travel more. Now, what to call it….
This post is about our four-night, five-day hytte-tur planned by our good friends, Magnus and Britt, and Asbjørn and Astrid, and Øystein and Ragnhild. Most of our friends in Norway own a vacation cottage, either in the forest, by the sea, or on a mountain. We spoke of this cultural phenomenon in our post, ‘Hytte Tur’, earlier in the summer. So, when our plans to spend two months in Moss were finalized, these friends banded together and planned this ‘program’, as they called it.
The first two nights were to be spent at Magnus and Britt’s hytte, in the mountains overlooking Eggedal. Astrid and Asbjørn picked us up on a Monday morning and we drove the three or so hours to their place. Our drive took us under the Oslofjord in a tunnel (Astrid was no fan of under-the-water tunnels). How engineers planned and constructed this tunnel is beyond my imagination. We are not talking a Moses-type parting of the waters so we can build the tunnel and then just let the waters back-type of project here. I guess this type of thing has been done before, and probably bigger too, but I was still impressed. We passed through the hometown [Simostranda] of the world famous Norwegian biathlete, Ole Einar Bjørndalen, often to referred to by the nickname , the King of Biathlon. There was a statue of him along the side of the road, but we didn’t stop. He’s a pretty big deal in Norway. After driving through the valley town (village? city? It was always a point of discussion in the car as to what to call a particular place) of Eggedal, we started up the mountain to Magnus and Britt’s.
They had owned their cottage for 29 years, it had no indoor plumbing, and the most beautiful view of the valley. Britt is a veritable kitchen master having prepared and cleaned up years of meals in a kitchen with no running water. She should have an award named after her. They gave us the best bedroom in the cottage, the only one with the key view of the outside facilities. Like the previous hyttes we visited, one parked a short distance away and walked in. Speaking of the facilities, theirs was the nicest outhouse I think I have ever used. It had a kerosene lamp burning inside, a window with a lace curtain, a shelf, a basket with fragrant mulch to pour a scoop of in after one is finished, and a framed, glossy picture of the king of Norway hanging on the wall. Yep. First class. This was situated right next to the shower facilities–with brisk water from the well available for washing one’s hands or showering. They recently built a wrap-around wall for the shower (with a nice opening for the view), only because, after cutting down some tall trees, they saw that there was an actual neighbor on the same side of the mountain. Let me just say that if you have never taken a cold shower on a tree-covered mountainside overlooking a valley by the light of the northern summer sky late at night, you are missing something.
We ate lunch (a veritable smorgasbord), hiked along the road up the hill, had coffee, ate dinner (smoked salmon with mustard sauce, creamed spinach, boiled potatoes), and visited and read into the night. The quiet of the evening was broken only briefly by Paul’s screams from his icy cold shower.
The next day, we drove a bit over on the same mountain, to the art gallery and homestead museum of Christian Skredsvig, a 19th century painter, who lived here and whose paintings showcased the beauty of this valley and mountain life. This was a hidden jewel of a museum! It was beautiful, included a cafe, had an original on display which was loaned to them by the National Gallery in Oslo, and included a detailed, personal tour of his original house and furnishings. Although the guided tour was in Norwegian, there was an English language description in every room, and the guide spoke excellent English if we had further questions. Paul and I liked his work so much we bought two rather large prints of his paintings to hang in our home. Ask to see them when you stop by!
For lunch, we drove further up the mountain to a restaurant called “Tempelseter”, where, lo and behold, the lady working there was originally from Connecticut. She likes the mountain life. Our hosts suggested a meal of ‘spekemat’, traditionally Norwegian cured meats, along with cheeses, fruits, and flatbrød. We ordered three of them, and each couple finished off theirs without difficulty. What a delicious assortment of tastes to linger over during conversation with friends! Our time in the mountains over Eggedal ended with coffee, apple cake, and discussion over our planned route for the next day towards the town of Ål in Hallingdal where Øystein and Ragnhild would be hosting the six of us for two nights.
Until then, thanks for reading!