Let me take you to my favorite place
Just a five hour drive from the city
Just follow the road until it stops
And then keep walking for another forty minutes
Then – out of nowhere – there it is
I was lucky to get the my employer’s cabin for the Christmas week this year. The cabin of the Norwegian Polar Institute lies on a mountain slope by the fjord Kattfjorden. Two days ago Annika and I packed my car with a a lot of food and winter equipment and drove to the cabin, which is 40 km away from where I live in Tromsø. It lies by the road to Sommarøya (the summer island) which is a funny name when you drive through intense snow fall.
We did not have an address, but a small map and a description and so we found the parking place where the cabin supposed to be. And there it was, up on the hill in seemingly pathless terrain.
But under the snow there was a path up the hill and we found it. It took some efforts to bear everything up.
A Norwegian cabin can be everything from a wooden box to a luxury retreat. Our cabin has running water (cold and hot), electricity, underfloor heating, a kitchen, a bathroom with shower, a wood-burning stove, a sauna, internet and more.
We followed the manual and turned the underfloor heating to the maximum, but even after some hours the cabin was as chilly as before. We failed to fire the wood-burning stove because there were only large logs of wood and no axe.
At one o’clock in the night we woke up. Whether it was because of the gusty and stormy wind or of the cold I cannot say. 8 °C in the cabin, the same as hours before.
I put on clothes and went down the hill to look for an axe in the woodshed by the road. I didn’t find one but I found bags with smaller pieces of wood. I hefted one up (exhausting!) and finally was able to make a fire. We were awake for an hour, sitting by the oven, gladly watching the thermometer showing the rising temperature.
Right now it’s icy cold
But in sixteen hours, it’s gonna be hot!
The next day I slept until 10 o’clock. It was still dark and Annika and I took breakfast. One hour later it was bright enough to see the falling snow. We put on our clothes and went to the fjord Kattfjorden, which is less than 100 metres away from the cabin – and 20 metres in altitude.
We looked at the rocky coast and the seaweed covered stones and decided not to winter bath here today. Soon we trudged uphills through the snow back to the cabin and took it easy for the rest of the day. I can say, that the short days in the time of the polar night can be really relaxing.
At 13:00 the sky started to clear up and the snowy mountain ranges glowed colourfully. Polar night does not mean that it is pitch black 24 hours a day.
How lucky we are, we who may be here and stay for Christmas. In the cabin named Fredly (peaceful shelter).