February 21, 2016. The recent delay in snowy days gave Matthew and me a chance to “upgrade” our ski equipment … yet again. Despite numerous tries last year, we’d never gotten the hang of correctly waxing our brand new skis. (I think the ability must be genetically preprogrammed in most Norwegians.) That’s why we decided to go back to waxless skis, which the locals say are “best for beginners and old people, who shouldn’t be speeding.” Ouch. There went my pride. Continue reading Skiing to Ullevålseter
February 15, 2015. They do celebrate Valentine’s Day in Norway, although it’s not as splashy or as commercial as it is in the States. You can purchase Valentine’s Day cards in bookstores. (I haven’t yet run across a pure paper-and-card store — business opportunity, anyone?) But the cheap boxed chocolates and bland bouquets of red carnations are nowhere to be found. Instead, flower shops feature heart-shaped tabletop topiaries made of ivy, while confectioners display fantastical Valentine-inspired works of art sculpted in chocolate and marzipan. Continue reading Valentine’s Day & Holmenkollen’s Biathlon
January 30, 2015. It’s here. The Mørketid. The Dark Time. I’ve been dreading it; when the day is a little less than six hours long, and two of those hours are devoted to murky dawn and dusk. Christmas staved off much of the dreariness with its cheery festivities and candlelight. But now that the holiday is long gone and the snows are heavy, the darkness is beginning to get to me. Continue reading Snow, Ice, and Darkness
January 15, 2015. The stereotypes are true; Norwegians are avid (some might say obsessive) cross-country skiers. I’ve yet to pass a bus or tram stop without spotting at least one or two ski-toting folks waiting for a ride to the end of the transportation lines, where snowy forests beckon. And in the middle of the day, the train platforms are clogged with throngs of schoolchildren headed to skiskole (ski school) as part of their regular class curriculum.