We spent the last week in Norway where white nights light up the sky until 11pm, trees and grass grow out of turf roofs, and people revere nature and taking time for the little things in life. Although it was 30 degrees outside, we were told that we had remarkable weather for this time of year. Grateful for mostly sunny days, here are some of our highlights of Norway.
When we arrived in Skjolden, we were a bit overwhelmed with the 2,500 people on the boat with us, and wanted to really feel Norway. So, we began to walk. Nature has always been grounding for us as a family and exploring nature always helps us to feel connected to the places we’re visiting. The trails in Norway are very well marked so we headed towards Åsafassen waterfall from town. We hiked through pastoral lands with ferns emerging, through fields, pastures & forests. We strode near rivers, turquoise glacial lakes and waterfalls. Luna delighted in discovering edible plants she knew from the forests at home and munched on sour grass. We visited some sheep in their pasture and were in awe at the grandeur of the waterfalls and towering mountains as we walked the valleys below. We had no idea where we were headed- it was quite freeing to just be in nature.
I think part of what I love about Norway and Scandinavia is the value they place on closeness, coziness and spending time with those you love. This can take on many forms, but one of our favorite past times is called Fika (from the Swedes)- it’s when you break mid-morning or mid-afternoon (or both!), take a rest from the work they are doing and connect with one another. They do it right- it’s can be a chat with a friend over coffee, or more elaborate with beautiful pies and cardamom buns and apple tortes. So, since we were here- we did our best to respect Nordic traditions and gathered around the fire when it was chilly and shared goodies with those we love.
For years I have loved a textile company based in Norway called Oleana which makes woolen blankets and sweaters. When Josh was doing research on our ports of call- he found out that Oleana’s factory was just outside of Bergen. Yippee for Josh. When we arrived, my mom, Josh, Luna and I hopped into a taxi and headed to Oleana. It was like a wonderland inside- colorful blankets and sweaters in a factory on the water, surrounded by lush forests and green. My Mom and I spent some time drooling over sweaters and trying some on, and made a small pile of woven wonders. Because of a holiday, the factory was closed and Luna was heartbroken, but we asked if there was anyway that we could just go take a tiny peek of the factory floor. They said sure!! The kindest woman in the world walked us up to the factory floor.
No one was in the factory but you could feel the joy emanating from this place. Spools of wool and silk were everywhere. Stacks of completed goods were neatly arranged in a rainbow of colors. This is a place where artisans are revered for their work and celebrated, and paid an actual living wage. And as it turns out, a few people were working. We met the head product designer, as well as another designer creating pieces for upcoming releases at fashion shows. These women told us all about what happened in the factory and showed us, too. They gave Luna scraps of woven materials and showed us how they work with paper to create templates for fabric before cutting and sewing. For years Luna has been slightly obsessed with textiles, sewing, creating dolls, clothing, knitted blankets and anything else she can imagine. Seeing my daughter in a place that spoke her language and celebrated her creativity was like a slice of heaven for all of us.
I really enjoyed my time in Norway and the efforts people take to live intentionally, taking the time and effort to create beauty in the world.
photos taken by Gail, Carly and Josh