Fortunately, my thoughtful parents had made a stop at the cottage earlier in the week, and had kindly stocked it with enough essentials to last a meal or two in style. Read: red wine and brie cheese. Oh, and milk, cereal and hot dogs for the kids. We were good.
The weather up to the cottage was overcast, which was a little disappointing as the drive is quite spectacular on good days. I am fairly sure Hae Yung tired of hearing me saying "This is really a pretty area when it is sunny". Perhaps I was a bit overzealous in my attempts to be a good host, but she got the idea. Or else she just pretended, because she nodded frequently and appeared to be imagining how beautiful a certain mountain might really be without the clouds obscuring it. Fortunately, by the time we got to Ål, Hae Yung no longer had to be subjected to my constant barrage of apologetic comments, because the sun was peeking out through the layers of cloud. When we finally ascended the mountain and arrived at our destination, the weather was positively glorious.
This is what we saw as we arrived:
My parents had asked us to be sure to admire the roof this time around, as it had recently been redone, and the kids were all very impressed. Having seen it in previous years, I have to admit it did look exceptionally green and healthy. Nathan wanted to know how the grass on the roof was mowed, and Mike told him that all we do is put a sheep up on the roof to eat the grass. He was quite excited about this prospect.
The kids immediately went exploring, and true to form, Christopher was more than happy to be a guide. He bravely led them across the marshy area below the cottage, to a rocky section where we usually grill hot dogs "au naturelle". We were quite pleased that they managed to get across without getting too wet, as that has proven to be a challenge in years past. Perhaps it was Hae Yung's super rain boot purchase at Winners (at a famous $3.00 a pair) that made all the difference.
As the adults tanned themselves and enjoyed a well-deserved glass of vino on the deck, the kids discovered a couple of sheep in front of the cottage, which provided much excitement. Nathan and Benjamin were content to observe from afar, whereas Christopher and Samantha bravely ventured out to communicate across species, much to our amusement. As soon as the sheep showed the slightest bit of interest in their presence, both kids turned around and bolted back to the safety of the cottage deck!!
It was a fun day, and after having enjoyed our one pizza for dinner (ok, then, some hot dogs, too), we waited for the sun to set. As darkness fell all around us, we ventured out for some traditional moose hunting, only equipped with the weakest flashlights you could possibly imagine. Samantha had a firm grip on Mike's hand, while Benjamin and Nathan played flashlight tag. The moose stayed away, which is hard to comprehend, considering the racket that preceded us where ever we went.
After much fresh air activity, the kids were tired and ready to go to bed in the "hems", which is a type of open attic typical of Norwegian cottages. Nathan eventually decided that he would rather sleep in his mommy's bed, but Samantha was quite happy to sleep between Christopher and B boy.