It is the middle of March already. Do you feel the spring somehow? Here in Oslo the sun shows its face for the third day in a row, making our greenish faces happy and smiling 🙂 Feeling the sun on my skin, I can tell that the seasons are changing, the sun got warmer and soon the first signs of spring will come. It is such a joy for me every year: it is like a victory of life over death. When the first buds appear, I know: we have survived again 🙂
But so far the winter doesn’t want to give up its positions. While the sun tries to melt some snow on the roofs, creating icicles (and threatening our walks), the temps this week fell to -15 at night. Gosh, I have no words for describing how tired I am of this eternal winter. Sometimes it looks like here in the North our seasons are: white and dark winter, light winter, green winter, yellow and rainy winter. All the snow that felt and melted a week ago turned into a blank ice on the streets, and I notice that my feet know so many ways to walk in winter. Heels down first in the mix of snow and salt, fishbone pattern when the snow melts, trying not to slide into the water from the ice on the side, side-side on the black ice. I never knew I could say so much about different quality of snow, ice and road conditions 🙂 So before the ice is gone from our streets, I don’t breathe out with light heart. It is still early to say that we have survived this winter 🙂
On the bright side, the Happiness Report is out again. It always comes out in this boring season when everyone is waiting for the spring but the weather still plays winter games. And it looks like the report was made for cheering up the Nordic countries in this weird period. Because, guess what guess who, the first place this time is taken by Finland! Norway was moved to the second place, and the top is still crowded by the Nordic countries. Haha, very funny. Have these researchers ever been here? 🙂 I have heard a lot about Finland lately, and to be honest, those reports didn’t hint that Finland could win that happiness competition. But it looks they did it anyway, so congratulations! 🙂
The February color theme is definitely pink. I stumbled over its first buds in the end of January and made a little collection in this post . Since then the pink has exploded. It was inspired by the St. Valentine’s day, but to be honest, I have never seen so much pink in Oslo stores. I guess, pink is also Pantone color of the season, so it is found everywhere, in clothes and interior alike. I am a lover of pink, so this season has given me a lot of fluffy emotions. That helps in the snowy season, while the spring seems so far away, and the winter doesn’t want to step back. While other places may soon boast of pink petals on the trees, we get our share while window-shopping. This is Scandinavian lifestyle. Now you know, why they invented hygge! 🙂
I wish you enough sun so that your days can be good. I wish you enough rain so that you know how to appreciate the sun.
Last night I read this phrase in the book “Kjemp for alt hva du har kjært” (Fight for everything that is dear to you) by H. K. Rohde, who was leading the police of Oslo when the terror attack of summer 2011 happened here. The book is a story of self-development and personal leadership. In Norway there are more than enough rainy days, cloudy skies and darkness – and here you learn to appreciate the sun and the light like in no other place.
Is it really dark here? You, guys, don’t live behind the polar circle and don’t have polar nights – so why winter darkness? Right, we don’t have polar nights and midnight sun like in the Northern Norway. But the days in winter are extremely short. In the darkest period, December-January, the sun rises at 9am and sets around 3pm. So the light day is short, and we spend more hours in darkness than in light. But calling it “light” and “sun” is really optimistic. Because of the low snowy clouds we happen to see the sun once in two weeks – if we are lucky. So the days look more like early evenings. You get up, wait for the light, live some hours through the grayness, and then it is night again. No wonder why winter is called mørketida, “darkness time” in Norway. I am not complaining here, but I feel a need to make this thing clear. I am not new to the cold and long winters, after all I come from Ukraine and Siberia is our neighbor (not really. Though some people believe it when I’m saying:)). My city can have colder winters than Oslo at times – but the light day is longer for a couple of hours. And I feel that difference now. After all, we all feel best with what we grew up with.
In my part of the world the winter has moved in. Oslo has seen its first snow and the minus temperatures. Today we are measuring -5 degrees Celsius. Last week the Christmas lights and decorations were installed and the Christmas markets opened. As for me, it is a bit early to start the whole fuss five weeks before Christmas. On the other hand, those lights and cozy turmoil make these cold and dark days a little bit brighter. With sunsets at 15.40 and sunrises at 8.30 the days are so short. If all the dark hours were considered night, how long the night would be, we wondered. 16 hours right now – and more to come. Thus I justified my sleeping for more hours 🙂 Anyone else here feeling like hibernating?
In my own fashion of belated posting, I decided to share my finds of this autumn. In October I was looking forward to a photo walk in the botanical garden – and here are the treasures I collected there. Autumn fruit and flowers.
Two years ago we went to see an apartment for sale and ended up on the roof terrace with a terrific sunset view. Thank you, Facebook, for reminding about it with this picture. The apartment block used to be an office building before. It had some 14 floors, boring flats, and a roof terrace. We asked for the terrace keys and unexpectedly caught an amazing nature show, in all colors of the dawn.
Today I want to share my thoughts about the ability to find and create small adventures and look at the world with wonder.
I don’t know any other capital that is so caring about its village-like streets and views as Oslo. Where I come from, the village is associated with something retarded and uncool, and so everyone strives toward bigger cities, their coolness, their lights. Cities are modern, interesting, promising. The village is old-fashioned, boring and has little opportunity. I have been in many cities of Europe, and many of them have something in common, just as they are unique. But nowhere have I met so much country-like charm in the middle of the capital like in Oslo.
Autumn has taken over our streets. With more leaves under my feet and more golden color on the trees, I discover a new rapture for the beauty of nature. However on this blog the autumn is still on hold, and fall images wait patiently. I still want to admire the flowers of late summer, I don’t want to hurry to golden leaves and autumn fruit. Maybe, on this blog everything will come a month or too later, than in nature, and that will be my way to prolong the pleasure and beauty of the past season 🙂
So today I want to share some photos I made in August. I want to give place to late summer blooms even if their season has passed. But there will be enough time for admiring autumn, so why not go back in time and recollect that fading beauty? It feels like it is still touching my fingertips as it is passing away. A reminder of life cycle. A reminder that the only constant in life is change.
As the autumn darkness is crawling in, I want to look back to brighter days and be thankful for all the colors in my life. I happen – and am happy – to live in maybe the brightest neighborhood of Oslo. There are neighborhoods with richer architecture and posher buildings, where streets are full of beautiful blond people. There are neighborhoods closer to the lakes, the nature and the forest with the festival of autumn colors happening right now. But I would claim that no neighborhood is so full of colorful houses and lively crowds as Grunerløkka, the hipster hood.
Let me prove my point with these photos taken in August, when the air was already chilly, but when the sun was still shining and sending our spirits high. May the light and colors brighten up your autumn mood!
With all the events of the past weeks I have neglected my photowalks in Oslo. But I still feel the need to share its beautiful corners and lovely streets. So today I want to present my favorite neighborhood – Grunerløkka. It became hipster recently after having undergone the gentrification. It used to be a cheap and shabby area with weird population, then it became popular among artists and students for its cheapness, and now – as it usually happens – it is a neighborhood with many restaurants, cafes, bars and small shops. Which are mostly quirky, vintage and small businesses, but the big chains have appeared here too in the past couple of years squeezing the small owners out of the area. Grunerløkka, or shortly Løkka, is full of life and attracts people from other parts of the city for eating out or hanging in its bars.
The backyards of Oslo are charming and mysterious. They are hidden behind wooden doors or iron gates. Some are simple, with geometric shapes of facades. Some are full of life, with fountains, gardens, romantic benches under the trees. When I walk through my favorite neighborhood of Gruneløkka and pass by the gates, I always slow down and peek into the backyard, wandering at its secret life, imagining how people use it. Do children play there? Do they make backyard parties there?
Once when I was on a photo walk, I’ve seen an open gate – and after a moment of hesitation I sneaked inside and stood there. Just a backyard, just a girl with a camera. But that joy of explorer was reaching to the stars, as I stood there, happy as a child. After that I wondered if I should sneak into more backyards, waiting by the gate until someone was passing through 🙂 That would guarantee me a status of a local weirdo, I guess. I decided to wait on that one, and just make photos through the gates and doors. That day became an adventure for my explorer spirit.