...so we had a rough trip up, but the next day sure made up for it!
Waking up to a beautiful, sunny day with fantastic views of the glacier-clad peaks surrounding the cottage helped set the mood right away. Stepping outside after breakfast, the air was crisp, but not so cold as to be uncomfortable, so we decided to take a drive across the mountain to check out the valley on the other side, called Hemsedal.
Mind you - the final decision to go for a drive was made only after a sniff test in the car confirmed that the "open all windows overnight" strategy had worked. The car may no longer smell like new, but it also does not smell of regurgitated chocolate ice cream...sorry, was that too much information?
Hemsedal is the premier downhill ski resort in southern Norway, and is a place I had wanted to see. The spectacular drive over top of the mountain can only be done during the summer months, as the road is closed for the winter, when the sheer volume of snow makes it impossible to keep it open. We decided to seize the opportunity.
You may wonder how poor Benjamin felt about another drive over bumpy, rough terrain after his traumatic experience the day before, but like I said, he is a trooper. The promise of a snowball fight in early September might also have had something to do with it. That and the anti-nausea medication we re-introduced.
And honestly, the drive was well worth it. The landscape was absolutely stunning and the pictures simply cannot do it justice. The lakes were cobalt blue in colour, and the mountains so majestic in their stoic silence.
Here's a shot of the valley of Hemsedal:
You can't see the ski slopes in the picture, but they looked amazing. We are definitely coming back here in the winter.
We found a small patch of snow that was within hiking distance for the promised snowball fight. We soon found out that the snow wasn't very good for snowballs, and the boys speculated that that was probably because it was "at least 100 years old." Instead, C spent quite a bit of time "snowbooting" down the hill, proving once again that his sense of balance did not come from me.
Benjamin got some assistance from Mike, as the incline was pretty steep for a boy in rubber boots with his mother's balancing skills.
The wind was whipping it up a fair bit at the top of the mountain, so we were all fairly chilled by the time we came back to our cottage. The kids ran inside ahead of us, and as I came through the door I couldn't see them at first, which is quite a feat considering the size of the place. Then I heard them giggling in the bathroom, and saw this when I opened the door:
They were warming themselves on the heated floor. Whatever happened to the viking blood in these boys?
Still, they rose to the challenge when we repacked our backpack with hot dogs, hot chocolate and home made dough to make bread with (!), and made our way across the marsh to have what is now a traditional cottage lunch for us: Hot dogs over an open fire.
Christopher and Benjamin absolutely love finding sticks in the woods they can sharpen with their scouts' knives and use to grill their food over the fire. They are getting better at it, too. They used to come back with these pathetic, thin, droopy things that could barely stay upright, but check them out now! While the boys are still not what I would call outdoorsy types (c'mon -- lying on a heated bathroom floor?!), I do see some improvement.
Sometimes I wonder, though, if we are breeding little monster pyromaniacs. After the food has been devoured, the drinks emptied, and we are ready to go, they still are going at the fire with their sticks. Heck, even when it's getting cold and the bathroom floor beckons, there's no response. They are just too fascinated. Check out their expressions here:
...and tell me...should I be worried?