02 August 2008

To the Western Fjords!

After being in Jøssåsen for less than 2 weeks, I was asked to accompany two villagers, Trine and Vigdis, on their vacation. So with Amrey and Nathaniel (house parents) and my partner in crime, Anne, we took a road trip (possibly the most scenic road trip) to a cabin near a village called Skotten.

Our red cabin, or "hytte" as they call them here, was no ordinary hytte. It was pretty darn posh. I know it doesn't look like much from the outside, but this little ol' cottage came with an indoor pool and a sauna! Yeah, I was spoiled silly this week. Well, minus the no-internet part.

As if our humble abode wasn't enough, check out the landscape surrounding the place. To the west, the Atlantic is freckled with numerous islets and skerries, and on these small pieces of land are little red wooden structures. I kept wondering what they are: if someone lived there or if it's used for something. Anne and I solved that mystery on our last evening in Skotten by bravely exploring, during a low tide, some of the skerries that we could see from our cabin. All the structures seemed to be sheds where tools and equipment for fishing are stored. Some of the sheds were obviously better kept than others, but personally, I liked the ones that were run-down probably because I could peek inside and see all the treasures it held, like the glass fishing floats that I saw! I thought these were primarily used by the Japanese, but apparently Norwegians use them, too! In fact, Norway was the first country to produce and use them in 1840's: a little trivia for you. (If you look closely at the picture below, you can see a reflection of me on the glass float.) Glass floats are so much nicer than plastic or styrofoam ones that are more commonly used today.

I enjoyed the look of the worn huts with tin roofs that were rusted by the salt water blown by the ocean breeze. Corrosive nature of sea combined with abandoned objects made for really great photo opportunities. Check out the two pictures below. Can you guess that that they were once a bowl and a bed? It's hard to tell exactly what they are, right? They are so abstract. While taking dozens of photos, I was reminded of my art school days. I truly made many pictures, averaging about 300 per day, but only because none of the pictures seem to do justice to the place. I've yet to take that perfect photograph.

This is the orange bowl, which I'm sure was, once, silvery, shiny and bright.

This is the abandoned bed, entangled with seaweed.

To the east of our cabin were rolling hills, which reminded me a bit of the Scottish hills. Perhaps the heather on the meadows made me associate the hills with Scotland. These hills may actually have been mountain ranges, but to me, they looked like rolling hills. What do I know.... You can judge for yourself.

But since some of the hills that I talk about are still covered with snow at the peaks, maybe they are mountains. Hills or mountains or whatever; they are just beautiful.

I think all four of us enjoyed our stay at the "kjempe koselig*" cabin. (From L to R: Trine, Anne, Vigdis, and me!)

* "kjempe" meaning extremely & "koselig" meaning cozy in the coziest possible sense

Apparently these two terms are very important to know in Norway, as I learned over my first bottle of alcoholic beverage, a darn good cider, at Mormors Stue (a "koselig" bar-like place called Grandmother's Sitting Room) in Trondheim (a week prior to the trip to the Western Fjords). I actually started my own edition of a Norwegian dictionary there. It's "kjempe digg"--totally rad! And quite handy.

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