30 May 2018

The Norse and The Sun

Basking at the king's palace park where the public have full access.
We happened to visit Norway during what everyone told me was an unusual period of heat and sun.   The popular paper even saw fit to publish a full page story of the dangers of sun exposure and methods to prevent sun damage because the Norse were sun worshipping in droves.  And for good reason.  After a long, dark winter when children go to and return from school in the dark, the warm, long, sunny days of late spring and summer are enjoyed to the utmost.
A small island, 6 minutes away from Oslo city centre by ferry, where those who enjoyed natural surrounds bathed.

Any small patch of grass or even rock would do.

They are not just basking but actively enjoying the outdoors.  They bike, hike, SUP, kayak, sail, canoe, fish, hunt, pick blueberries, swim, mountain climb.  A five year old girl who we hiked with brought her mountain bike and managed a rocky, root-y trail with aplomb.  She chose when to walk and fell a few times but over a two hour hike she didn't give up and never stopped smiling.  Her brother, three, biking for the first time on training wheels managed the same trail.  An elderly man chatted with us while eating a snack, then climbed on his mountain bike and rode along a gravel path, uphill!
And then for those who enjoyed the city, the infrastructure was set up for public use with grassy patches and interesting sculptures.

On the main street downtown, children enjoy the decorative fountains while tourists watch.

These cement pads are not just taken over by sunbathers.  They are purpose built with swim ladders and even diving boards.  And this is in the middle of the city harbour which is clean enough to swim in and buoyed off for safety.  The beach is created.  Surrounded by the contemporary art museum, loads of restaurants where blankets and rugs are provided for outdoor patios in winter, condos, stores and offices.  

Same location: A fjord swimming pool.

On the river that flows through Oslo, a side pool is specially constructed for bathers use.  How cool is that!  And a river clean enough to swim in that runs through the downtown!

All with a sense of humour.
This is not to say the Norwegians huddle around the fire on those dark winter days.  The long ski trails through woods and up and down hills are groomed and lit.  The small lakes are ploughed for skating.  The Norwegians love the great outdoors and the government sets up the infrastructure to allow them access everywhere.  So impressive!  And healthy!
After long walks, this Norwegian chose the shade.  Wise!

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