Seasonal diaries

Norway week 15-16

We continue our seasonal diaries in the times of lockdown; an update from Norway

low sun over city houses at winter
The sun is still low over the mountains in this first part of the spring
Anne Bremer
track up to snowy mountain
A typical scenery hiking in springtime
Sissel S. Aasheim
people on snow in mountain
It might look idyllic but the wind made it at times hard to stand up this day of spring in the mountains
Sissel S. Aasheim

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13 April: 
The season of dissonance

Norwegians are used to staying indoors a lot as we have long, cold and dark winters. Maybe that is why we have the concept of ‘hygge’ and ‘koselig’, which for me means to stay indoors and make myself as comfortable as possible. As spring arrives, you are expected to spend more time outdoors and sometimes this makes me uncomfortable. As I said to my friend one day: “ Some days, the only reason I go out of the house is because it makes staying indoors feeling so much better. Nothing is like coming indoors from the cold, light up the fireplace and make myself comfortable the rest of the day.” Today was a day like that. 
I decided to go for a hike on a mountain nearby so I could get an "extreme outdoor experience" before staying indoors cooking the rest of the day. As we started to walk, the wind calmed, and we got too warm. I was starting to get a bit disappointed, I wanted to feel the cold and the wind all the way to the top. All this at the same time as I for weeks have been complaining about the rain and wishing for a sunny day. I guess the shifting weather of spring invites for cognitive dissonance in terms of activities I want to do.  Anyway, on our way to the top, we met quite a few people carrying their skies as skiing was not possible the first part of the track. For me, this is also a sign of seasonal change as only during spring you will see people carrying their skies for quite a distance, not willing to let go of skiing opportunities even if the snow is gone in the lowlands. As we got further up, we walked on snow almost like ice as it had been melting during the daytime the last couple of days and then frozen again during the night. Typical skiing conditions in the spring. The wind was back so strong it was difficult to stand up. Finally, it felt like an “extreme adventure”! We even had to turn around a few hundred meters before the top due to the strong wind.  Very satisfied about having an ‘extreme adventure’ we spent the rest of the afternoon indoors and made a nice Easter dinner with crepes suzette for dessert  

How to know what the weather is like when no one is walking in the streets? Comment from a friend; “It is difficult to know what the weather is like and what to wear when there is no one walking in the streets” (eg. spring jacket? Woollen sweater? Just a shirt?). A normal way to know the weather, look outside and see what people on their way to work in the morning are wearing. 

13 April:
Delayed Easter egg hunt today in the garden. Such warm weather, and more of the Spring smell in the air. We talk with friends who came over for the egg hunt and we realized we’ve never been so healthy as under lockdown. The first half of March, like all of February and most of January, we had blocked noses and sore throats and greasy coughs. All of us. My youngest turned one on 1 March, and it’s like her whole first year she was a coalminer's daughter; I can’t think of a time she wasn’t at least a bit sniffly. But then my oldest is home from kindergarten, stops bringing home whatever sloshes around in that petri dish of 50 kids, and the youngest enters a golden age of good health. But the last couple of days I’ve started sniffing and sneezing some; which has different connotations in these times, but I think its just mild hay fever. And it got me thinking that perhaps the lockdown has coincided with a month-long period between the flu and cold season, and the hay fever season. 

Unfair with snow in April. Returning from Oslo, a week of blue skies, and even wearing shades a few times , I met a “snow” storm in Bergen. It feels unfair. Feels like I can accept winter (or “winter” as we don’t have much snow, or cold temperatures, just a heavier greyness) in January, February, and March, but it feels unfair in April. It should be lighter and greener and less grey, certainty not snow!  

14 April:
Today it was “back” to school and work after Easter, meaning home office and home school. The weather forecast is looking good and the local newspaper have headlines like “Prepare for nice weather”,  “Here comes the sun”  -  in the follow up articles about the weather they emphasize how we really need some good news now. Being used to bad weather most of the year no one gets as excited over nice and sunny weather as the people of Bergen!  On the first sunny day of spring people go to the city centre to get their first well-earned pint of beer in the sun at the outdoor bars. The restaurants and bars are preparing for opening their outdoor spaces this weekend but obviously it will be a bit different with only half of the seats available due to the social distancing measurements. I bet the people of Bergen will enjoy their outdoor pint anyway!