Category Archives: Life in Norway

Surge

The past few weeks have been stormy. Even for coastal Norway, it has been exceptional. Gale warnings have been almost the norm. I noticed last night however, there was a surge warning in place for this morning. For the whole coastline south of Stad Peninsula, the tide was to be 60 cm higher than usual. So at high tide this morning, I made my way to the beach.

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First view of the waves.
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Looking back towards the village. The tide was so high the path was disappearing and waves were entering the lagoon.
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The bridge was also under water.
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Rounding the corner, the wind was quite refreshing.

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The sky was sullen.

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In summer, these fishermen’s huts are a favourite destination for barbecues.
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There were seabirds gliding over the water.
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This isn’t well focused, but I was fascinated by the way these birds seemed to be flitting along in the trough between the waves.
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Last year, this piece of art appeared. Remarkably, it is still standing. Usually, it is quite a way above the waterline.

Kongeveien Jæren

This is one of my favourite short walks along a section of the old King’s Road, or Post Road that runs along the coast. There are many such roads around Norway and until relatively recently, these were the main roads around the country.

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My first view of the sea, through an avenue of trees between two farmsteads.

I’m not actually on Kongeveien yet. The first thing that comes into view is the tiny church at Varhaug.

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Varhaug gamle kirkegård

It hasn’t been cold for long. The river is still flowing, albeit with some ice around the stones.

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From the bridge

It’s such a wonderfully clear day.

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Looking north
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Looking south

If you look at the two photos above, you can see the snow has melted on the south side of the stones and not the north, a reflection of the sun’s low winter path across the sky.

I saw a number of other people out enjoying the sunshine. Below is a typical grouping, two young women, two dogs, one pushchair. When the sun is shining, it’s time to be outside.

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Not alone

It can be difficult to photograph all the things I love to look at. I am always fascinated with the rugged outlines of the stone walls, so different from those in the UK. I also love the clean lines of the branches against that vast sky, but it can be difficult to capture.

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A typical Jærsk wall.

The sea is almost completely smooth, so different from last week’s storms.

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Clear and calm

And now I’m heading back.

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I stop on the bridge to admire ice that has formed around the stones in the river.

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Patterns in the water

And then I’m back at the church and it’s time to go home.

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Buzzing!

Spring is arriving here at last. Marian and I have finally managed to find some time for walking. As you can see from the picture at the top of the page, Bijke came too.

We took the Vestlandske Hovedsvei as it isn’t too far from home.

I actually only started taking photographs when we reached the top of the hill and sat down for coffee . . . here . . .

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I always find this landscape hard to photograph. It’s very rough terrain, but the horizon is flat. As you can see, everything is still winter brown.

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Bijke seemed to be enjoying the sunshine.

We sat for quite a while. The sun is beginning to have some real warmth. While we were sitting on top of the hill, I could hear a skylark singing.

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As we walked down this hill, there was a ringing sound in my ears.

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Not such a good photo because she was a long way away, but we did find the source of the soothing clank clank . That is one of the sounds of summer here.

As we passed by a rocky stream, above the rushing water, frogs were croaking out their spring song.

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Anyone want to live in this house? I know I do. Note the grass roof.

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Almost back at the car, our footsteps were arrested beside this tree.

It wasn’t the sight of it that caused us to stop and take a closer look. The tree was humming.

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Bees! There were thousands of them. I’ve never heard anything like it. I can see two in this photo alone.

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And then we were back at the car in the farmland at the bottom of the valley where it’s possible to grow crops.

I’m off to Yorkshire on Thursday. I’m hoping for sunshine and lambs. Not sure when I’ll be able to blog again (I’m not back until Monday) but I hope while I’m there to do some research for Christmas at Mistletoe Cottage.

Julebyen – Egersund Christmas Market

With the heavy snowfall late last week, it seemed like a good time for a Christmas pilgrimage. And so we made our way, by bus and train to Egersund, to join the Egersund monks in their annual Gløg Festival.

 

This is where the bus dropped us off by the harbour. It was truly a beautiful day, though perhaps not the best weather for sitting down to admire the scenery.

Then we walked across into the market.

The Christmas tree was the first thing that caught the eye. It was beautifully decorated in red and gold, then nature had added the best touch of all with snow that sparkled in the winter sunshine. The stall is selling ris grøt – a kind of rice pudding eaten with cinnamon and sugar and sometimes butter or cream.

We paid our first visit to the gløg shrine at this point. Gløg, for the uninitiated, is Norway’s version of mulled wine. It’s sweeter than the more familiar beverage, and improved with the addition of nuts and raisins. All in all, it’s very welcome on a cold day in December.There’s an alcohol free version for children and anyone driving home. The bottles at the front of the picture are of Norway’s other traditional Christmas drink, Julebrus.

There were lots of different stalls, selling everything from miniature Christmas gardens to Dutch cheese.

 

There were traditional toys.

All kinds of sweets.

 

And more decorations.

We went for a wander through the main shopping street where they were setting up trees for a tree decoration competition

Still too cold to sit down, but in the picture, the tree is garnished with a bundle of straw. I’ve seen many of these in the city, often tied with attractive red ribbons. This tradition began as a way to provide food for birds.

But we were drawn back by the singing monks.

Who kindly replenished the huge copper containing the gløg so we could have another cup.

Some Thai street food followed, then back for another walk round the market as the sun sank lower.

We returned to the harbour to catch the bus back to the station. The sky was beginning to turn pink, but the fjord was still bright with the reflected light.

It was dark by the time we got off the train and tramped through the snow towards home…

…where we lit the second of our advent candles: a peaceful end to a beautiful day.

 

 

 

Plah! A Journey through the Jungle

Last weekend, I was in Oslo. Originally, the plan was to meet my friend and co-author of the Hope Meadows series, Victoria Holmes. Sadly, Vicky became unwell soon before the trip and was unable to come. Charlie very kindly joined me instead for the weekend. Vicky did ask me, however, to record the things I saw and the food we would have eaten. So here is one of my favourite meals of the weekend.

The venue: Plah Thai Restaurant, Oslo

Our waiter for the night was the delightful Sebastian. He was very friendly and spoke excellent English.

I chose the vegetarian option.

The starter came in three parts.

Kaho grab – rice chip

Light rice crisp with flavoursome herb topping

Miang kam – “betel leaf” with pomelo

The stuffed leaf was served on a delicious bed of toasted coconut. I had to stop myself from eating the lot, knowing there was so much more to come

Karipap – Southern Thai samosa with sweet potato and curry

I think this was my favourite part of the whole meal! Crunchy pastry with a delicious filling

 

Then there were four further savoury courses

Kao tod – Rice ball with cucumber and sour mango

Sebastian recommended the rice ball should be crushed, then eaten with the crunchy salad

Gaeng klo wan – Green curry soup with bitter eggplant, fresh bamboo and basil

This was hearty and delicious, with a slightly hot and sour taste

Taohoo – Crispy soft tofu with pepper chilli and coriander

The tofu was perfectly cooked with a wonderful crisp coating. Perfectly contrasted with the colourful salad

Gaeng deng pak op – Baked roots, kale and curry

This was marvellous: sweet chargrilled root vegetables, some soft, some firm, with a delightful curry sauce. Extremely satisfying

Then there were three parts to dessert.

Kanun lae saowaros – Jack fruit and passion fruit

Like miniature tasty smoothies

Som chon – Kaffirlime and pandanus granite

Flavoured ice. Sweet and refreshing

We were offered coffee. My cappucino was as beautifully presented as the rest of the meal

Kanom dok djok – “Rosettebakkels”

This was the most amazing presentation of the evening. The rosette biscuits came under a glass container which had been filled with steam to carry the aroma of the dish to us. It was lifted at the table. There were edible flowers and small chunks of chilli jelly in the glass cover.

The biscuits inside were equally beautiful

And now, all I need to know is, when can we go back! A fantastic evening.