Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

A pure escape – summer in the Norwegian mountains

I am sipping my morning coffee as I gaze at a panorama of brilliant colours all around me. A slight breeze, fresh as the sea, brings the scent of thousands of wild flowers. The green hillside is dewy and glitters in the pale early sunshine. White clouds still shroud black mountains, which form a wild backdrop in the east.

Slightly chilled by the wind, feet wet from the dew, the coffee warms me up. It is made with icy spring water, heated on a wood-burning stove. The pew from which I start each day’s adoration of my surroundings, is a “bench” made simply by cutting a very large tree in half. It is placed in front of a flat rock, where a jam jar filled with wild flowers sits. The only sound is the breeze and the distant bells of grazing sheep.

I am high up in the Norwegian mountains, and the vista I describe is that of the largest mountain plateau in northern Europe, Hardangervidda. This area offers a unique network of over 500 kilometres of forestry tracks and mountain paths, all well marked on local maps. The terrain is easy to walk, suitable for children also. If your idea of an ideal holiday destination is bright lights, crowds and smart hotels, then you can stop reading now. Here you are far from the madding crowds; as a matter of fact you can walk for hours without meeting anyone.

I am staying with my husband and two children in a very old log cabin – not unlike what you see in movies about the American frontier. Our cabin is solid, comfortable, old and without modern conveniences. There is no running water, but the natural spring gives us water that taste like snowflakes. There is no electricity either, but electric light is unnecessary. This close to the Arctic Circle, summer night is simply a few hours of blue dusk.

A holiday here is about tranquillity and beauty. There are no gourmet meals but the air is so pure you can taste it – cool, clear, crisp. The summers are warm and in the shelter of the tarred old walls of the house, the sun is hot: but always there is a hint of a breeze, gentle but glacial.

The long winter has made sun-worshippers of us all, and very little time is spent inside. Each day we enjoy our surroundings and the fresh air. We use the local map to find easy paths, and most days set ourselves a goal to reach on foot. There are a huge variety of easy tracks, where we walk surrounded by bright yellow buttercups and purple heather.

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