Something I love about Norwegian culture is the love for nature. I've already mentioned how much Norwegians love to ski, but there's also a wonderful habit amoung Norwegians of staying in cabins in the woods for a little weekend getaway to ski, drink coffee and hang out. In February we went on two of these lovely weekend getaways. The first was with Fulbright- they paid for all the fulbrighters and their families to stay at a hotel in Skeikampen near Lillehammer. Our hotel was a minute away from the cross country ski trails. We took advantage of the blue skies and skied every day while we were there. On Friday we did a short 6 kilometers before dinner, Saturday was our long trek- 18 kilometeres, and on Sunday we went with the Fulbright director, Petter, on a gorgeous 12 kilometer loop. The weather was quite perfect for skiing. We took our time on Saturday's trek; we went slowly up the steep hills, whizzed down the downhill slopes and stopped to chat and catch our breath.
Around Oslo we usually ski in the forest with pine trees towering all around us. In Skeikampen we skied in valleys and over little mountain passes. The scenery was so open compared to Oslomarka (Oslo forest). Needless to say, the view was stunning. In addition to skiing a lot, we did our fair share of relaxing in the spa, chatting with other fulbrighters and their families, and eating way too much food at the all you can eat buffet.
Our most recent getaway to the woods was with Christian Union two weekends ago. We skied in to a cabin by Nordmarkskappelet on Friday evening. This trip was more focused on fellowship than skiing. The weather happened to be rather warm, resulting in icy ski tracks. Not so good for skiing. About 30 of us stayed at this super cozy cabin with a fireplace and ate together, talked about doubt (the topic for the weekend), played soccer in the snow, drank coffee and played card games (Bohnanaza!) late into the night.
On Saturday night we did a prayer walk around the chapel. Josh led the worship music, which was a new thing for him. We sang several hymns and a Taize song. I thought the music really set the right contemplative tone for prayer.
On Sunday we did chores, attended church and skied home. That was some of the toughest skiing of my life! All my limbs were dead tired at the end from pushing along the icy tracks. I really appreciated the time during the CU weekend to talk and laugh with friends, as well as focus on God and get away from modern technology/distractions. I like meeting God in the woods.
It's been pretty warm around here lately, so we haven't been skiing as much as early last month. We are hoping, though, to squeeze in one more cabin/ski trip before the snow turns to mush and we have to return out skis.
Is winter melting in your part of the world?