Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cold. Colder. Norway.

Despite the fact that my sixth month here in Kristiansand started a couple of days ago, there are some issues that I have simply failed so far to get used to. What might these be? Surprise, surprise... here comes the weather monster! But instead of complaining about it (which, I admit, I am very good at...), I decided to collect some of the things that help us to resist the challenges of the Norwegian winter (e. g. walking on the streets...) and that I have first experienced here, in Norway!

1. Selskinn (seal skin)
The ultimate winter boots in Norway can be seen here. However, there is more...
I don't think I would ever encourage someone to wear seal, I am more green than that. I'm sure though that the fact that sealskin has a major role in the traditional Inuit clothing, is for a reason... I was pretty surprised when I first saw a pair of sealskin boots on the streets of Kristiansand, and later on it turned out from a conversation with a salesperson in a shoe store that the boots made entirely of seal skin by the Norwegian brand Topaz is warm, long-lasting and very popular among Norwegians! And I have to say, the red shoelaces are a real fashion statement!

2. Wear ull (wool)!
A knitted woolen pullover can turn being outside even on the coldest day into a doable mission! I have already written about wool in Norway here where you can read about the Mariusgenser (Marius pullover). Another important notion in terms of classical Norwegian knitting is the Setesdalgenser (Setesdal pullover) that has a rich tradition and if you imagine a Russian wearing a fury ushanka and a German wearing leather pants, than you definitely want to imagine a Norwegian wearing a setesdalsgenser!

3. Spikes
It became clear already in November that when in Norway, cold is not necessarily our No. 1 enemy... I sometimes tend to have the impression that Norwegians (at least in Kristiansand) have somewhat given up the fight against mother nature and don't seem to mind that walking on the streets is very dangerous on certain days because of the thick and shiny ice cover. However, if the streets have not been made rough enough, you can make your shoes rough - by attaching a sole with spikes on them. The same applies for your bikes - if you want to use it in the winter, too (like many Norwegians do) switch to piggdekk (spike tires). It can be lifesaving. However, you had better remove it after the ice has melted... otherwise you will experience how it is for a train on the concrete. ;)

An ice trooper from 1948... :)

4. Cross country skiing
Skiing is a sport that is as Norwegian as it gets. 'Slalom' is a Norwegian word (slalåm) and they even have a city called Skien. I might be wrong but I see a connection between the name and the sport... Cross country skiing is even more popular in the country than alpine skiing ('skiing' in Norwegians is called gå på ski, literally 'walking on skis'). Norway is the most successful nation at cross country skiing in the history of the sport on the Winter Olympics. It's not just an excellent exercise but can be used as an efficient way of transportation. On a proper winter day, you can see people cross country skiing even in the inner town of Kristiansand!

Norway's Petter Northug - No. 2 on the ranking of the International Ski Federation

5. Try to make the most out of it
In the end, you can't make it go faster, so try to enjoy it and do things that you usually don't do in the summer time: gløgg (spicey mulled wine), roasted almonds, pepperkaker (crispy ginger biscuits), the beautiful white landscape... It's going to be over soon. And then, after the white, the hvit vinter (since, as they say, Norway has two seasons), it comes the other one... the grønn (green) vinter... :)

1 comment:

  1. far. farther. You. hiányzol!
    love this article! especially the knitted woolen sweater <3 but luckily we don't need it in Debrecen, because nowadays the weather is sunny!