Norway, Oslo, 2011 Day 3

We were up and about uber early and in Nordmarka (a vast forested region which makes up the Northern part of Oslo) by 8.30am. Being dense, I’d left my gloves in England, so Tom, the gracious boyfriend that he is, offered to take it in turns with his mighty man gloves. So we began our epic, seven and a half hour hike with glorious weather. Only a few snow sprinklings. Now, I’m going to be piss poor at trying to describe the beauty of a Norwegian winter, but add a forest to that and well. It’s out of my league. I think it’s out of most people’s leagues if I’m being honest. But I’m going to give it a shot. Imagine a fairy tale set in winter, now times that by ten, add some Lord of the Rings splendour and a touch of Narnia-esque magnificence, add some more magic and then some luck on top of that and you have the beauty we experienced while hiking through Nordmarka.

We only saw one other walker during the whole time we were trudging through blankets of snow, which sometimes made it all the way to our waists. Well, it happened to me more than Tom. I’m not as lithe and nimble as he is, unfortunately.

At times, when we were going along a trail nobody else seemed interested in, (except for a mad woman on skis. I actually think she was some sort of spirit because there was no way she could have skied the way we were walking.) I thought, ‘fuck, this is hell!’ when I sank in awkward angles past my waist into cold snow. But a few minutes later, even with frozen toes and stiff legs, I would feel absolutely incredible. I was in Norway for winter. I was hiking through the deepest snow I’d ever seen in my life. I was only a couple of miles of getting a hot chocolate and wolfing down some cheese sandwiches. As we approached the sports centre, we caught sight of what looked like to be a tame polar bear. It turned out to be a pony. Easily mistaken, I can tell you that now. Especially when you are famished and freezing your arse off.

Inside the sports hall were many, many, many rich Norwegian kids with their top notch skiing gear and serving the hot chocolate was not one, not two, but three of Norway’s oldest women. Only kidding, but honestly, they looked like they were part of the woodwork of the place. After our expensive pit stop, we pissed off a ratty American dude who came to an impressive standstill on his suave skies. “Do you mind not standing in the ski tracks? You’re making it suck for all of us. Have a good day dudes.” And he swerved off. I was fuming, but my mouth wouldn’t work as he was giving us that lecture. Fucking bastard were the first things that spat out after him and his tight arse had steamed away. Basically, walking on the actual track is dead difficult because the snow is so damn soft and deep it makes for extremely hard walking. Walking in the ski tracks, if even for a little while, make life a little easier. As I mentioned before, expect for one other, we were the only people walking and so the skiers, and yes, there was plenty of them, had all the space they needed. There was no need to get arsey about us momentarily walking in the tracks to make the going a little easier.

After our epic journey, we ventured to find tea, were victorious and spent the evening feasting on stuffed eggplants, which our lovely host rustled up for us

and obeying the fire alarm, seeing out first Norwegian firemen (who were so laid back I’m surprised they didn’t float into the building). Oh, and I stuffed my boots with paper and left them on Harri’s heated bathroom floor (yes, you read that right. Heated. Bathroom. Floor.) in the hope that the moisture that had seeped into them throughout the day would be vamoosed by time we were ready to leave the next day for our quest to the Viking Ship Museum.

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