We’re off to Norway, grabbing the flygbuss to the airport and leaving at 5 PM for Oslo. By 6 PM we were speeding on a modern train to central station where Dag Arne, Gullvi’s charming nephew picked us up. This is one amazing person—an electrical engineer by profession, but a major athlete in areas like technical climbing and hang gliding. He showed us a movie of hang gliding in Nepal, which he’d shot from a paraglider. Scared me to death, but it was fantastic!

Dag Arne and his partner, Annika, live on a small island twenty minutes from Oslo. Their house is surrounded by native trees and an extensive garden of flowers and edible plants, plus a greenhouse for the storage of 35 varieties of exotic plants. Their two children, Daniel, almost three and Lasse, 10 months, are adorable blonds who made me think of two of my boys (those Scandinavian genes are strong!).

Just before we left the next morning, Annika wrapped Lasse in a winter outfit and took him out for his nap in the carriage on the porch. She put an electronic speaker in the carriage, and covered him with a blanket and mosquito netting, assuring us that he sleeps well in the cool, crisp air. This is done all over Norway, even at 20 below, she assured me. Shades of hardy Vikings, is what came to mind. (click here for pictures)

At 10:30 AM we caught the train for Bergen, winding our way uphill through rocky hills until we’d reached the high plateau, Hardangervidda, which means vast land. Many lakes and fjords dotted the landscape, but there were very few trees by the time we reached our destination, Finsl (about 4,000 ft.) It was rather bleak as we headed for the hostel, but the sun came out about 5, glistening on the lake and creating a perfect reflection of the building and the mountains. We noticed lots of bicyclists who were using the trail that had originated with the men who built the railway years ago. In the distance we saw a glacier, on which there are daily excursions.

The prices of these hostels and the excellent food they serve are high, but I knew this ahead of time, so I just closed my eyes, handed over my credit card, and didn’t complain. And the accommodations are far more luxurious than anything I was used to in the White Mountains. After dinner we went down to the shore to watch the sunset, all white light and shades of gray.

The political discussion that evening, as with most subsequent evenings, was depressing for an American. Nothing but criticism about the war and our government’s policies. I was in total agreement, and as an informal ambassador for the U.S., I let them know that there were many, like me, who strongly objected to our policies. (click here for pictures)