June 9, 2014

En norsk vennskap (A Norwegian friendship)

They say Norwegians are funny people. Funny, as in direct and maybe a little harsh. Well, I like direct and honest. It comes straight from the heart.

We are cultivating our friendship and have trekked up to the far North to visit our friends who left Paris over a year ago.

Guess what, we have bought the sunshine with us!

I am sitting on the terrasse of their summer cabin (a very sophisticated cabin, I might add) enjoying the open view over the endless fjord, the intense Northern light and the perfect silence. I feel like a character out of one of the Scandinavian children's books I used to read.

The silence is soon interrupted by screaming kids jumping off the rocks into the freezing seawater, friendly neighbours dropping by for Norwegian waffles and coffee, friends arriving on their sailboat staying for a BBQ dinner.

I have swam in the freezing fjord, enjoyed a hot sauna, discovered the ancient Viking game of Kul, spotted a deer while Nordic walking through the woods (I now know the real meaning of Nordic walking!), stood on a roof top to admire the sunset at 11pm, tasted delicious Norwegian strawberries and am fast discovering that I can get by speaking Swiss German. My friend's two-year old and I have the most interesting conversations crossing invisible language borders!

No TV, no internet and no radio means that you spend time talking to each other. It is a treat to be invited into a typical Norwegian weekend retreat and exchange cultural experiences. Everyone is, of course, fascinated by the fact that I live in Paris. I, on the other hand, am intrigued by Stavanger's petrolium based economy which seems to employ most of the area's population.

I have stopped short from singing Norwegian songs around a mid-summer night dinner table under the open skies but maybe next year, along with the home-made cider, the neighbour's cherry juice/schnapps and the local Prosecco, I will teach my friends a heartfelt Swiss German joddel?!?

Welcome to the Nordic Fjords

A friendly game of volleyball

Friends popping by for a coffee

Washing blowing in the wind

A well earned glass of wine...

... and Norwegian strawberries to go with it!

Sunset at midnight

 No.1 fan

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