It took ten months to bust out of Oslo and see what Norway is really made of. What is it made of? This:
And this (classic norway, middle of nowhere, man skiing, Norwegian flag):
We took a 5 hour drive to the Sognefjord area and did the Norwegian hytte “thing” for the week. A hytte, simply speaking, is a cabin, but it’s also a cultural practice of going out into nature, unplugging and being away from the city. Hyttes (more properly “hytter” in Norwegian) are traditionally very simple. They may not have electricity or plumbing and are closer to camping than a vacation home. Modern hyttes can be much more elaborate and luxurious, but many Norwegians still prefer the traditional cabin. Our hytte was somewhere in the middle with fewer amenities than home, but still very comfortable.
The subject of the Norwegian hytte is fascinating to me and summarizes Norwegians better than any cultural stereotype I’ve heard. Here are two cartoons from “The Norwegian Hytte” by Jenny Blake that illustrate my point:
We stayed on the outskirts of a small town called Vik. This time of year, there was snow on the mountain tops, but clear in the valley.
There were two churches built in the 1100’s in Vik, including the Hopperstad stave church shown above and a stone church. There are burial mounds from viking times and a handful of other cultural attractions that blow one’s mind about how many generations have lived and used this land.
We had a surprise snow one night which gave us one last decent snowball fight for the season.
I have probably 50 images on my phone of gigantic waterfalls at insane heights. None of them are any good. And sad to say, I have seen so many waterfalls, I’m not even sure they’re special anymore?!? I also have an embarrassing number of derelict shacks on my camera roll. I’ll leave you with just one of each below. Plus an enormous statue in the middle of nowhere. Also, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash over Thomas’s right shoulder.
On the way home, we crossed over the Vikafjellet with walls of snow just high enough to make your heart race a little. (Pretend this is hot and yellow and you are basically in the Moroccan desert.)
We stopped in Flåm on the way home to get one last glimpse of the fjords. The kids completely appreciated this beauty [clears throat]. It’s hard to capture the vastness and never-ending feel of it all. It just goes on forever and ever and you feel really, really small.
…which is a good thing.
More adventures forthcoming.