Saturday, March 24, 2012

A holiday in Norway.....

...without the kids.

Well here we are enjoying life in Norway. Caitlin and Billy where gracious enough to come and watch the boys so Siobhan and I could get away for a short break.

First stop on the agenda was Hafjell, one of the ski resorts north of Lillehammer where a few of the '94 Olympic events took place. When we arrived, Siobhan decided that a quick 3hr nap was in order while I went and did some skiing.

On day two, we got 5 hours of skiing in. This is a picture on the t-bar as we head for the top and the best run on the mountain.

Overall, the weather was warm enough to ski without gloves or a hat by mid-day but that meant the slopes became fairly slushy.

Siobhan editing to add a bit...
The view from the top was spirit lifting, of course, and very different from the Alps. These mountains are quite a lot older so not nearly as dramatic and rugged, but that meant we could see a fair distance. I love being above the tree line, and was dreaming of long distance walking again. We'll have to get round to it one of these days.

At one point, while on the uppermost chairlift, we spotted a large flock of birds approaching from the south and to the east, heading north. We are at 61° here so not that far from the Arctic Circle (as the crow flies), and actually, now that I think about it, this is the furthest north I have ever been. I've often wondered how on earth birds can fly such great distances, and I guess the point is that they are not "on earth". The most incredible thing yesterday was seeing just how quickly they travel. We took our eyes off them as we got off the chairlift, and moments later they were so far off to the north we were just flabbergasted.

If anyone is interested... we were trying to work out what 5° latitude (from here to the Arctic Circle) looks like on the ground, using wildly inaccurate guesses about the circumference of the earth. Anyway, we were close but not that close- so in the interests of noting accurate information, here is a sentence copied from wikipedia...  "the meridian length of 1 degree of latitude on the sphere is 111.2 km or 69 miles." Oh, and the circumference of the earth is about 40,000 km or a little less than 25,000 miles. A bit smaller round the poles. So there you go. We're not that far from the Arctic circle. 

Back to Steve...
After we finished on the slopes, we quickly drove to the opposite side of the valley to have a go on the Olympic bob sled run as passengers in the bob-raft, a square padded sled which actually looked like a blue porta-potty on its side. Nonetheless, it was an excellent opportunity to see what it's like to do the bobsled run. We'll now watch his event on the telly in a different light.

As for the kids back home, although I do miss them, and it would be nice for them to ski, it sounds like they are having a wonderful time with their Auntie Caitlin and Uncle Billy.

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