August 22, 2014
Hanne arrived at about 1:20 pm to pick us up from the hostel, and then we headed to the barnehage (kindergarten) to pick up her younger son Andreas. His school is located next to Birger Ruud’s ski cabin so each of the different age levels were in groups named after the Ruud brothers. We then carried on to Hanne’s house to pick up things to be taken to the mountain cabin. There we met her partner Haakon and her older son Christian, who were off to their other cabin by the sea, and then off we went to the cabin.
The route took us up through the Numedalen valley, which was very beautiful, and along the way Hanne showed us various points of interest. We stopped at Rødberg to stock up with groceries, which took about half an hour; the two of us went for a walk around the village while Hanne and Andreas did the shopping. The rest of the journey had us climbing and switchbacking up the road until we reached the turnoff to the Vasstulan cabin area. We were quite surprised at the number of cabins—around the ski area there were several subdivisions containing a few hundred cabins. They were fairly close together, but with the grass roofs you didn’t really notice that.
Through the front door took us into a very beautiful log cabin. The kitchen was very modern with all the amenities you might want; the main sitting area had a long dining table on one side, and the other side contained two long leather couches. The view through the large windows looked over the cabins below to the valley and across to the ski area. We unpacked the nine or ten bags of groceries from the car and then put our packs into one of the bedrooms.
Andreas all the while was having a great time being reunited with toys that he last played with in the winter. Hanne set about making dinner, and at 5 pm we had a “middag” of hot dogs. We had thought of going for a walk, but the rain was coming down quite heavily so we contented ourselves with sitting by the fire. Kjell and Frøydis arrived about 7 pm, and we had dinner. Hanne had made chicken wrapped with bacon along with roast potatoes and veggies, and Kjell had brought a bottle of red wine from Lebanon which went very well with our meal.
August 23, 2014
We woke up to see the valley filled with clouds, which meant it wasn’t raining. After breakfast we headed out for a walk. It took a while to get everyone organized, but eventually we went out the front door and up the road to where the trail started. There were a lot of small trails up on the fjell which went in all directions, but the main trails were quite obvious and some of them were marked with the familiar red T symbol.
Once on the trail we continued towards Nordis’s cabin. Andreas liked to run—we almost never saw him walk—but mostly Hanne carried him in a backpack. The most amazing thing about the area was the silence; no cars or airplanes could be heard so it was very still. It was about 3 kilometers to Nordis’s cabin, which was close to the nearby main road. It hadn’t been changed since the 1960’s, so it still had no electricity and no running water, so it was very much like our mountain cabin. Kjell and Hanne had fond memories of staying there in the old days, but it seemed like those days were past now. It was very strange and very sad sitting in the cabin and realizing Nordis was no longer alive and that we could never meet.
After we locked up the cabin we walked along the road a bit, and then headed up to a high point on the ridge which overlooked the area. Frøydis went back to the cabin instead, and we could look down and see her walking along the road. From the high point the view was very good, looking north over the fjell and south over the downhill ski area. We had been lucky with the weather and hadn’t had any heavy downpours while walking.
Back at the cabin we had hot dogs for middag again, before settling down to do not much for the rest of the afternoon. Kjell and Frøydis were returning to Kongsberg so they stayed and chatted for a while before leaving.
We were invited out to dinner tonight, to the cabin of Hanne’s mother Jorunn and her stepfather Eber. It was just next door, but even so we were very wet after walking there in the pouring rain. Their cabin was very beautiful as well; it consisted of an older section which was made of logs and a newer section which was made of staves. Both sides had a kitchen so when their children came for Christmas there would be plenty of room for everyone.
We had dinner in the newer section, which also had a great view of the valley. We had meatballs, cabbage cheese soup, and potatoes for the main course. We were firmly told that Norwegian meatballs and Swedish meatballs were very different, but all we could tell was that the Norwegian meatballs were larger. They had come across some cloudberries (moltebær in Norwegian) while out walking, so we had those in crème fraîche for dessert. The evening was very enjoyable as we sat around the table and chatted. Andreas had a great time playing with Kira, their dog, and also washing up the dishes with their high-tech tap.
After dinner we got to talking about Jorunn’s collection of 1960’s Santas, and the posters that they had on their wall, mainly featuring old-fashioned cigarette ads. As we left Rosemary noticed a painting of two trolls, which Jorunn had done, and commented how much she liked it. Before we knew it Eber was unscrewing it from the door it was attached to and insisting that she take it! It took a few minutes for her to accept it, and everybody was pleased when she did.
August 24, 2014
Today was moving-on day, so we packed our bags before having bacon and eggs and bread for breakfast. The weather was quite good so we and Hanne and Andreas went out for another walk in the fjell. This time we went a bit to the east, where there is a group of cabins which belong to the Crown Prince of Norway. There was a fence around them but no intrusive security system, and apparently the members of the royal family are often encountered walking and skiing in the area.
By now Andreas was getting tired so he and Hanne went back to the cabin while the two of us carried on up to a nearby high point. This place was called “Orange Top” because in winter families ski up there and stop to eat their oranges. We enjoyed the view for a short while and then headed back to the cabin for lunch, flushing a Rock Ptarmigan from under a bush beside the trail on the way. Hanne had made a large omelet and a salmon salad so again we ate very well.
Today we were planning to take the train from Geilo to Finse to start the next part of our trip, and Hanne very kindly offered to drive us up to Geilo, which took about half an hour. We had drinks at the big old hotel, Dr. Holms, because there was still a while before our train to Finse was due to leave. Hanne had a latte and we had warm chocolate, which came in tall glasses with a straw. Once we were done and train time wasn’t too far away, Hanne drove us over to the train station where we said our goodbyes before going into the station.
In the train station we tried to buy our tickets, but the machine said “Sold Out”! We had forgotten that it was Sunday and lots of weekenders would be going home. Luckily for us there was a lady in the ticket booth who sold us standing-room tickets. This was fine for us because our trip would take only about 40 minutes. The train arrived about 25 minutes late and we all piled on. We managed to get our packs onto the luggage rack and then stood beside them for the journey. It actually took more than 40 minutes because the train had to stop quite abruptly and toot the horn to shoo a flock of sheep off the tracks. But finally we were up to speed and shortly thereafter arrived in Finse.