October 10, 2016. Some of you may remember that, back in the summer, I’d written about Kayaking in the Oslo Fjord and an adorable lighthouse that we’d paddled past. We’d learned then that Dyna Fyr, a little Victorian cupcake of a watchtower, had been converted into a restaurant for private events. So when the time came to host a thank-you dinner for our hardworking team, it seemed like the perfect place to go.
The evening of the party rolled around, and our group lined up at City Hall Pier to await our transport. We’d been told a small ferry would fetch us at the Kiss ‘n Ride, but I’m not sure anyone was prepared for the vintage wooden cutie that showed up. It looked like a tiny tugboat out of a child’s storybook. I have no idea how old it is, but climbing aboard, I felt like I was stepping back in time to the whaling days.
The ride to Dyna Fyr took only about 20 minutes or so, but it gave our team plenty of time to explore the boat. We pretty much crawled over every square inch of it, duly documenting its mahogany-stained age and beauty … and taking the occasional selfie, of course. Luckily, the night was cool but calm, so we got great shots of Oslo’s skyline, as well as some pics of the sleek sailboats racing past us. (Click through the gallery below for bigger views and captions.)
We gradually closed in on tiny Dyna Fyr, which perches atop a spit of rock like the lone survivor after a massive flood. Although it looks dainty and fragile, the lighthouse has somehow managed to withstand almost 150 years of being battered by the elements. It’s job? Warning boats away from the hidden coastal reef that runs beneath it. Although Dyna Fyr is no longer an active lighthouse (meaning no one lives there to man it ’round the clock), it’s still sports flashing lights to keep ships safe.
Our boat circled the lighthouse for photo ops and then slowly pulled up to the dock. With the aid of the first mate, we scrambled onto shore and climbed the stairs to the house’s darling little patio. A more picturesque spot to watch the sunset I cannot imagine. Though the view might be a bit lonely, I can completely understand why someone would apply for the job of lighthouse keeper. Standing on the summit of your own private island fiefdom, admiring the panorama spread out before you, it feels like you’re king of all you survey.
Inside, the place possessed all the required elements for koselig (“cosiness”) that Norwegians prize in an eatery: an open fireplace, candles in every window, wood-paneled walls, exposed beams … and lots of wine. We roamed around to get a good look at the layout of the place and admired the view from each window before sitting down to tuck into our meal.
Our hostess began by providing us with Dyna Fyr’s background story, much of which I’d heard from our kayak tour guide this past summer, and some of which updated the previous legends I’d heard. First of all, she covered the basics: in Norwegian, a lighthouse is simply called a fyr (fire) or sometimes a fyrtårn (fire tower). Dyna fyr (pronounced “Dewna Fewr”) translates as “Dune Lighthouse” — I’m assuming because the structure looks like it’s sitting on a single sand dune. The original lantern, installed when the place was built in 1874, consisted of an actual oil lamp reflected by the mirrors behind it, but the lamp was converted to an electric beacon in 1878. Several lighthouse managers lived there over the years, operating the lantern and fog bell by hand, until the equipment was automated in 1956.
At the risk of repeating my favorite tale from a previous post, here it is again: one of the lighthouse managers who lived here had a family of six. His four children used to swim or boat to school during warm weather. But in winter, they walked across the frozen fjord carrying boards or ladders with them, in case they needed to hopscotch between floating chunks of ice. The school mistress on the mainland reserved the first row of desks (closest to the fireplace) for the kids, in case they fell into the ocean during their journey and needed to dry off. Wonder how many sick days they ended up taking?
The hostess went on to explain that the lighthouse keeper at Dyna Fyr was also responsible for two smaller lanterns, Kobbernaglen Lykt and Kavringen Fyr, both of which sit on rocky outcroppings in the middle of the shipping lanes. And in fact, these beacons had inspired the names of our three menu options for the evening, all focused around the various catches of the day. We’d selected the four-course “Dyna” offering, which was beyond delicious and a real crowd pleaser for our group. Most everyone commented that it was the best fish they’d eaten yet in Norway, which is saying a lot, considering the seafood here is unbelievably wonderful.
Darkness fell as we finished our meal. Too stuffed to move, we sat sipping our coffee and watching the after-dinner show — which consisted of small ferries that scurried past the windows and towering cruise liners that sailed uncomfortably close to our snug little haven. I found myself contemplating what it would be like to sleep here at night. Would I be constantly worrying that one of these behemoths was going to run aground and knock my little lighthouse off its perch? Maybe, but I’d still like the chance for a sleepover. Wonder how much that might cost?