After an unimaginably stressful week of being sick, skipped school, and this bloody election, the distant trip to Norway seemed so far away until wham it snuck up on me and I was able to get out of it all.
The prospect of spending my weekend in the mountains was so enticingly strong that I could not believe how ready I was to get out of my flat and out to a place so different and foreign from here.
My weekend was the perfect escape. Not only did the mountain air (and the gobs of honey lemon water) help my sickness, but the lifestyle was so vastly different from what I had been living, that I was so insanely reminiscent of home.
It was almost surreal how similar Vågå and my hometown were. Like, if I closed my eyes and pictured myself driving along the Arm from Anchorage to Girdwood, I could actually be there and not some six thousand miles away in Norway.
But I think that's what I loved about it so much, the similarities between the two vast countries. And instead of feeling nostalgic for home, I felt that it was the perfect teaser for when I actually arrive in Alaska a month from now.
Also of note is the value of disconnecting and unplugging. From.... recent events, I've found it to be incredibly distressing, negative, and bitter across a lot of social media channels, as well as other news sites. It's toxic and unhealthy to be constantly seeing such horrendous opinions and titles and I've spent far too many nights falling asleep to the dim light coming from my roommate's phone's screens.
Going out into the wilderness, even just for a little, sits you down and reminds you what life is really about. Simple living, the generosity of the earth, and isolation in nature has such calming effects. These Norwegian people managed to grow as beautiful individuals without all the toxicity of social media and various screens flashing at once.
Life was so simple back then. Granted, there was hard work involved and other threats (like predators eating your farm animals and chopping enough wood for the winter), but it was natural and it was there and not over some cyber screen.
I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to have this brief reprieve from the world and to get back to basics. I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience a break like this.
Who knew I would find such peace in the middle of nowhere Norway?
The first evening, we arrived in Oslo in complete fog and the sun was already setting. By the time we reached the quaint sheep farm on the top of a hill overlooking Vågå, it was dark. We managed to make ourselves right at home, however...
Caroline even put her Alaskan skills to work to start a fire...
And good morning...
Breakfast was served in the main house, a smorgasbord of various Norwegian treats, mostly cheese. Also included was homemade bread, apples from the tree outside (salvaged from the neighboring horses that thought to take a bite), homegrown carrots, goat cheese from the neighbor, and homegrown sheep sausage. Epic.
This was my favorite cheese, essentially caramelized residue in the cheese making process.
Daylight and we finally got a good look at our home for the next few days! Built in 1779, it's a house full of history, yet modernized with heated floors. A truly beautiful and original Norwegian home.
With clear skies ahead, Caroline and I spent the majority of our Saturday (and Friday and Sunday) driving around and exploring. Norway has some of the safest driving in the world, and I will wholeheartedly attest to that! It also has quite a few Volvos, Audis, and most importantly, Teslas.
Norway? Or Alaska?
Hyde and Luxe, quite excited for the road trip ahead...
Just like Alaska, change in weather was quick..
Posing in snow is snow laughing matter!
Alaskans take London. And Paris. And now Norway!
Dinner that evening was most unexpected. We made quite the friends with the old host couple and the husband came in and offered us some "small leftovers" of a traditional Norwegian meal, which was essentially potatoes, cabbage, and sheep's meat. A whole plateful later and we were gratefull for his generosity.
And just as quickly as we arrived, we were off again, waving goodbye to our temporary home away from home...
Ha en god dag!