Wednesday, October 23, 2013

winter is coming

A trip to the north and now I'm part of the Barent's Liberation Army

Hello friends and family, and apologies once again for going offline for so long. Partly it was due to self-preservation in light of the 16 day government shut-down and the need to keep from publishing personal thoughts online about the unfortunate situation that I might regret. Well, the ugliness is behind us now (for the next couple of months at least) and I can continue on with musings about life in Norway.

And while I was taking a break from the whole blogging thing, the sunshine seems to have left Oslo, until at least March I'm told. The days are shortening by about 10 minutes a day and the blue skies have been replaced by low, sad clouds with a constant Seattle-like drizzle. I guess after the last five months of very lovely weather, I've earned what's coming. So I have picked up some firewood, stocked up on candles, and brought out the knitting and wool blankets. Norway winter, I'm ready!

Also, since I wrote last, I got the chance to another visit to Norway's northern wilds. This time I was able to visit the interior of Norway's Arctic, the sparsely populated home to Norway's indigenous Sami. Cutting from the Russian border, across Finland, and through the heart of the reindeer herding highlands. It was fascinating and a very unique experience.

Kirkenes (the last time I saw this view it was midnight sun times)

Entering Finland

Sami Parliament in Karasjok. The Sami are Norway's indigenous group and have their own Parliament which collaborates with the National Parliament. 

Inside the Sami Parliament - the building is absolutely beautiful. 

The Finnmark Vida (Plateau). 

Juhls Jewelry shop in the Kautokeino - a random piece of architectural amazingness in the middle of nowhere.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Here comes fall...and a shutdown

Ruby enjoys a cozy evening in front of the fire
Wow, how time flies. My fun few weeks of visitors flew by, and now it's fall. Woohoo! Fall! The weather has been staying beautiful while at the same time the days are shortening by 10 minutes a day. Norway elected a new government while my own government seems unable to do its very basic job of staying in business. I'll refrain from ranting further about this, but for now we are still going to work using multiyear funds, but no idea how long that will last. I can only send my thoughts out to my friends and former colleagues who got the dreaded "non-essential" memo today.

But politics in DC can't keep me from enjoying the amazing outdoors here in Norway. While the fall colors aren't quite as dramatic as the east coast of the United States, they are beautiful none the less. The cooler weather has finally given me the excuse to use my fireplace and I'm looking forward to cozy evenings inside reading, knitting, and catching up on all these TV shows I keep hearing about (Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones I'm coming for you).

Old dam at Bjornholt in Nordmarka. Mid-point on a 20 km hike. 

A beautiful trail, but man that was a long walk up.
Fall colors, evergreens, and way off in the distance Oslo Fjord

View of downtown Oslo from Ekeberg park

Enjoying the new sculpture park at Ekeberg

Celebrating Norwegian elections with the winning party

"watch for falling leaves"  = I love fall