Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gathering Some Summer Bliss in Nesodden, Norway

I am passionate about my home in the village of Piegaro nestled in the heart of Umbria with its green rolling hills, fields of sunflowers, vineyards and olive groves and endless sun.  Sometimes I need a change of pace and some family time. Within a short plane ride to Oslo and then by ferry to the island of Nessodden nestled in the Oslo Fjord, I can be in another world.  This is the idyllic place where my daughter, Laara, and grandson, Milo, have made their home.  In the middle of August, the temperature is milder than Piegaro and when I disembark at the airport to find it raining, I cheered!  The next day dawned with glorious sunshine and the view towards Oslo is stunning with the sailboats and cruisers gliding along in the breeze.
This week has been perfect for gardening, playing with Milo, long talks with Laara, dozing in the sun and swimming at the local beach of Hellvik where an historic mansion is outfitted as a restaurant and one can dine on organic salads and polser (hot dogs), shrimp and divine desserts. 
Milo loves to swim in the Fjord along with his friends from school, who often show up here on fine days like this past week.  The large rocks on this beach create safe lagoons for the children to swim and natural launching pads from which to dive. Laara looks like a mermaid as she joins Milo on the rocks while he dives over and over splashing into the warm summer water of this lovely Oslo Fjord.
Sunday the beach at Hellvik is packed with families enjoying the last of the luminous summer days and we make room for all on the grass overlooking the beach.  Some families come prepared with small portable stoves for polser while others take advantage of the grill special on the restaurant terrace.  The resplendent sun has complete freedom to break through the sparse clouds, so ice cream is in great demand with both children and adults.  As I watch families enjoying such a fine day,
I am reminded of my years in Juneau, Alaska and in Seattle; how we treasure each day of sun in our short summers. In this place, when the sun comes out and the clouds disappear everyone wakes with a feeling of great joy and anticipation for what the day will bring. When the sun appears, the days stretch into the late hours and it becomes the land of the midnight sun. Everyone is energized to wring the most out of each and every hour. What a contrast from my home in Italy where the sun greets us every single day from May to September and is taken for granted. We all shutter our windows, Italian fashion, in the afternoon to shield us from the sun and savor the coolness of a dark siesta.  In the midst of all that sun, Italians yearn for the gift of some cooling rain. In Norway, windows and doors are flung open to embrace the sun, there are few curtains and most homes have rooms with banks of windows and skylights.  Everyone is overjoyed to receive a gift of sun for a day or a few weeks.
In the midst of the darkness and cold of winter, after Milo sits cosy reading while Pickles looks at the deep snow outside, will he drift off to sleep remembering how he dived over and over from the rocks to be immersed in the softness of summer water in the Fjord?
When Laara returns from a long swim out and back in the Fjord, so refreshing on this hot summer day, it is time to savor the warmth of sun on bare skin.  She needs to store this up for those long winter nights ahead.  Often heard, "Is this the last weekend of summer sun?"  One never knows, we could have two or three more into an Indian summer of September.
After Milo's long time in the water, he has a little favorite place to eat his polser.  Every time we come to Hellvik, he heads straight for the rope swing hanging from a giant oak tree.
While Milo swings, the summer crowd dines on the Hellvik restaurant terrace into the long afternoon.
When reluctantly we prepare to leave, it is best to delay by having some snuggle time before returning home....the end to a blissful summer day in Norway.

1 comment: