Snow covered mountains and woollen underwear are a far cry from white sand beaches and colorful bikinis, but somehow the former setting served as the most epic leg of my Euro-trip. Who would have guessed? After two days of rustic cabin living in the Norwegian countryside I felt relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to take up residence in a quaint little cabin of my own. I have my wonderful friend, Line, to thank for this amazing experience! And, since everyone isn’t lucky enough to have her serve as their hostess, I took some notes from her playbook in order to share these 8 tips on how to enjoy cabin life in Norway.
1. Go with a Professional
As beautiful as Hemsedal is, and as well equipped as the cabin was, Line’s expertise is what made my stay so comfortable. A weekend-long cabin run is as common to her as a daytime beach run is to me and she ensured we had everything we needed. The car was packed to capacity with all the essentials – from a multitude of warm layers to tons of ingredients for preparing delicious meals. There was not a single thing we needed during our brief stay, that we didn’t already have. After all, cabin life in Norway is all about being prepared, which made it a lovely, stress-free mini-break.
2. Get up Early to See the Sunrise
No matter where you are in the world, the sunrise is one of those wonders that will always take your breath away. Truth be told, my first sunrise in the mountains is likely one of those sights I will never forget. It somehow morphed from a brilliant scene before me, into an intense emotion inside me. To this day I still can’t fully explain the feeling I got. There was something very magical about witnessing a sight as universal as the sunrise in a place so very far removed from my everyday reality. It was a moment that required only a mental picture to ensure it would live on in my memory forever.
3. Enjoy the Sound of Silence
Silence is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world, but opportunities to hear it are truly rare. Up in the mountains, it’s everywhere, every day. Apart from the occasional barking of a dog or a vehicle making its way up the hill, there was not a peep to be heard outside. Just complete stillness, punctuated by the occasional whistling of the wind. It was beautiful. Peaceful. Enchanting. Unreal. And something everyone should have the pleasure of (not) hearing at least once in their life.
4. Layer Up
I never thought it was possible to be out in the cold for hours and remain warm. But it is! If you layer up the right way. We’re talking wool underwear (which I now know must always be the layer closest to your body). Super-thick jacket (with hood). Insulated boots. Ski hat. Mittens. And a little extra protection for my face. With all of that coverage I was strolling through the snow like a pro. And dancing to soca music like Bacchanal Road had actually made it to Norway! (For all the non-Trinis, Bacchanal Road is a popular, massive, pre-Carnival fete/party).
5. Spend Quality Time Outdoors
Yes, this warm-weather-loving Island Girl is actually advising you to spend “quality time” in frigid temperatures. No, she hasn’t gone crazy. The truth is, if you layer up the right way, you can spend several hours outside in the cold without freezing to death. Try skiing (I didn’t). Have a go at snow shoeing (I did). Or simply take a stroll and soak in amazing, 360 degree, snow white views that stretch on for miles. With the air as crisp and as fresh as it, you’ll feel completely rejuvenated by the end of your excursion.
6. Enjoy Disconnecting
There’s something about being far away from civilisation that makes the idea of disconnecting endearing. No television. No landline. No internet connection (besides your phone (or, in my case, my Tep Wireless device). Suddenly, you’re fully in control of when and how people can reach you and it’s a liberating feeling. Embrace the fact that you don’t have TV channels to idly flip through. Bask in the glory of those moments when you’re completely offline. Spend time talking, listening, reading, thinking and take full advantage of this opportunity to truly go back to basics. After all, that’s what cabin life in Norway is all about!
7. Don’t Feel Obligated to Disconnect Completely
Let’s face it, we only have one life to live and I’m a firm believer in doing what makes you happy. Fact: having an internet connection makes me happy. Especially as a freelancer who often finds herself several hours ahead or behind my clients, it’s nice that they can reach me if necessary. So, while I relished in my ability to zone out when I felt so inclined, I also embraced the fact that when required, I could indeed check my emails, WhatsApp messages and even hop on good old Netflix when I felt like it!
8. Leave a Note in the Cabin Notebook
I learned that it’s a Norwegian custom for families to keep a notebook in their cabin so guests can write about their stay. I think it’s such a charming tradition to uphold – particularly since note writing is a dying (or dead) art form. My penmanship left a lot to be desired but I still appreciated the opportunity to take the time to leave a handwritten note of genuine thanks for a rare and beautiful experience!
Truth be told, there are many different ways you can enjoy cabin life in Norway, however this is what made my experience so enjoyable. Many, many thanks to the Hostess with the Mostest, Line, for making the final leg of my Euro trip the perfect end to an already awesome adventure!