Norway turns up the Heat

From Svenner

Our progress along the South coast of Norway has been a gentle affair. When the the sea breeze has blown we have usually kept to seaward of the archipelago , but in between times we have pottered along the inner leads , marvelling at the myriad cabins that hide away in all the little sheltered bays . Apparently , about a third of all Norwegians own a coastal “cabin” , which is usually a misnomer as they are often substantial houses and most of them have their own little dock , complete with boat house , and of course , boat. The best ones now sell for millions and even renting them in the summer is much more expensive than an all in Carribean holiday. Many people live in a flat in a city , preferring to spend their time and money on a much bigger coastal “cabin”.

From S Norway and it gets warmer

One evening we left our rather exposed outer skerry anchorage and went in search of a more secure place for the night, deeper in to the archipelago. The place we ended up was a bay, protected by 2 small islands and within which were a collection of about 20 houses. The next morning a man of our age rowed out to us , and over a cup of coffee told us the history of the place. His great great grandfather had bought several islands in the area, and ran a business delivering iron ore from a mine on one of the islands to the city of Kragero , several miles to the west. Apparently these eastern islands were more expensive as in good summer weather the wind starts off in the east and by the end of the day has gone round to the west, so that his boats had a fair wind morning and evening, whilst his competitors to the west had to beat both ways! (We have used this sun driven breeze variation ever since!)
The house that he now owns was built by his grandfather, although I suspect it has been much extended in the interim. The fine dock was also built by his grandfather by gathering rocks from one of the nearby uninhabited islands in winter, and placed them on the ice where he wanted the dock to be. In the Spring thaw, the ice melted, and hey presto he had the basis of a wonderful little quay. It has now been further improved by many cubic metres of concrete and finished off with a layer of wood . Of the other 20 houses in the bay, all but one belong to his extended family, each one descended from the same man 5 generations before. Now his 3 daughters bring their families to stay , and so the next two generations have begun their association with the bay. It was all pretty idyllic, although it was interesting that when his daughters were young , they preferred spending their holidays in a small yacht touring the Baltic .
Part of the reason that it seems so wonderful is that summer has definitely arrived ( it might be less appealing in the cold and wet!). We have arrived in Tonsberg , just inside the Oslo fiord and rather than struggle the 60 miles up to Oslo in light airs we berthed the boat and took a bus into the capital. It also just so happens that on the quayside here are a collection of Viking era vessels , and a project to build another version of the Gokstad ship using traditional methods right alongside them. I have been encouraged to crawl all over them to my hearts content and am in seventh heaven.

From Vikings!

The weather forecast was originally for rain this weekend , but to our delight all that changed and we found ourselves in Oslo on a fine sunny day , with a blue sky and a sparkling breeze. As we crossed the Oslofiord on the ferry to the island home of the Viking ship museum , it could almost have been Sydney harbour , with boats absolutely everywhere , and in the middle of them all , our old friend the television ship steaming in, still with her hundreds of flag waving boats trailing in her wake. She too had ended up in Oslo at the end of her Norwegian summer voyage .
For us however, Sweden is just across the water and early indications are that we might have an Indian Summer to continue our summer idyll. Our fingers are firmly crossed.

Leave a Reply