Sunday, December 30, 2012

Scenes from another Christmas

This year I tried something new, spending Christmas in Southern Norway, as opposed to Northern Norway or being somewhere warm, traveling. It wasn't bad at all, and because I brought my camera, I can show you what it was like. We begin early on Christmas Eve in Nannestad, just outside Oslo. We're heading into the woods to hide a mailbox with some silly plastic toys inside. Don't ask why. It's been snowing all through the night, so it makes for a tiresome walk, but also for an enchanting view all around us.
Forest wearing white
Fortunately someone has been kind enough to plow ski tracks through the snow, where we can walk with relative ease a bit of the way.
A walk in the woods
Back from our mailbox voyage, Christmas officially starts as we eat the traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner, ribs. (Yes, there are vegetables to eat as well, but this meal is all about the meat!)
Norwegian Christmas Dinner
After opening our Christmas presents we head for Kvitfjell, north of Lillehammer. Rumour has it that there are more presents to be collected there! Of course, first we have to find our cabin... Easier said than done in these mountains.
Heavy snow
Hooray! The rumours were correct! Inside the cabin we find a fireplace, a guardian dog and a Christmas tree with presents beneath it.
Christmas on duty
This year Christmas coincides with a full moon and nice weather. The nights are bright, and we can easily go for a walk in the forest at night, even without torches.
Cabin under the moon
When the sun rises in Norway in December, it only does so slowly. Also, it's only those parts of the landscape that benefit from the colouring of a low-hanging sun. To make up for that, those parts get the loveliest shade of red that any sunlight can produce. It becomes the mountains of Rondane perfectly.
Red Rondane
"Our" side of the moutains has to go for three weeks mid-winter with no direct sun at all. It makes the world bluish, but the colours from behind the hill can not be kept from us.
Morning on the horizon
The more we zoom in on the photo above, the more colour we get.
A new day arrives
It turns out that you can create amazing scenery using just the colours of white and blue. Nature has done a good job of it here, methinks.
This is winter
If Disney were to do a remake of the photo above, I think it would look something like this:
This is winter - Cartoon style
Up at the plateau near the top of Kvitfjell, the winds of the mountain have suddenly turned this into a clouded world. This makes it hard to see much apart from the whiteness of the mountains.
White in the mountains
The wind changes its mind and soon it's clear again. We look north towards some cabins on the other side of the valley. It's easy to see why they're wooden houses.
Living in the forest
This view promises us that in just a couple of weeks we shall again receive the gift of sunlight even on this side of the mountain.
The promise of sun
If this was a photo from an old fairy tale, I'm pretty sure that this would either be a troll turned into a rock, or a place with trolls living inside it. The peak is called Hestknappen, "The Horse Button". Sometimes the name of a place doesn't make much sense.
Hestknappen
We take the dog for a walk to see the sunset. At first he's jumping around, delighted to be outside. After a few minutes of slow progress through deep snow, two pleading eyes make us turn our noses and snout back to the fireplace. But the view we enjoy can not be complained about.
Hiking buddies
This is what we saw to the north from the ridge of Kvitfjell:
Ringebu Panorama
As the sun sets to the west, a red moon rises to the east, somewhere behind the Rondane mountains. It's our last glimpse of the Christmas of 2012.
Red Moon Rising
I hope you had a nice holiday as well! #8D)
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