I learned something interesting while making a thick sandwich of cheese, ham, and cucumber at breakfast. Bread is sold by the slice (10 KOK), because in Norway people eat single slices of bread with a separate spread on each. They prepare the slice, then put wax paper between the slices, so that when they eat it, they can open it up, remove the paper, and have two separate spreads. I haven’t seen wax paper since my kids used it to iron red leaves in the fall.
The weather had turned cold and the clouds were gray, portending rain. A brisk wind pushed us forward over the hills. The terrain was dotted with lakes and there was plenty of rock-hopping, with three summer bridges to cross, one of which I crawled over, much to Gullvi’s delight. A summer bridge is a flimsy plank or ladder-like creation placed over a swollen river in a temporary fashion. Today we hiked more down than up and the temperature warmed as soon as we got off the high peaks. Sheep began to appear, along with more grass and bushes. But still, at times, the landscape was bleak and gray. I likened the higher regions to a moon walk. Swirling holes and depressions alternated with bright aqua-blue alpine lakes. The only place I’ve seen so many lakes is from the Knife’s Edge on Mt. Kathadin in Maine, or in Udaipur, India.
In four hours we arrived at Steinbergdalen (dalen means valley). As we approached the hut the sun came out on an alpine garden. Tiny wildflowers, too numerous to photograph, delighted me. Our room was great—a double bunk with sink, sofa, and table. And hot showers! We spent the afternoon roaming around this 110-year-old building, enjoying its many sitting rooms, rugs, hand-woven wall hangings, and exquisite furniture. Stuffed wolverines, fox, and other mountain animals adorned the entrance and the charming dining room where we indulged in coffee and waffles with yellow cloudberries (a delicacy of the region).
The roofs of the two oldest buildings had grass growing on them—part insulation, part tradition, I was told at the reception desk. Looked like an illustration from an old-fashioned Norwegian story book .
These two days treated me to a landscape of such variety that I am at a loss to describe it. Yes, Norway is a hiker’s paradise!