Norwegians have always liked to spend time out in the nature. In earlier days this was a necessity as many loggers spend months in simple dwellings in the deep forests. Dairymaids spend the summer in small dairy farms up in the mountains and fishermen spend the fishing season in seaside cabins on small islands out on the coast. Today these small dwellings have been made into leisure homes were we like to spend weekends, holidays and vacations.
Easter is the time of the year when every Norwegian wants to get up in the mountains. The traditional way is to go by ski with a big backpack containing all the food and snacks we will eat during the stay. Also a book as at Easter time we are, for some strange reason, always reading a crime novel (Påskekrim). Clothes are already there at the cabin. The shirt where the collar is a little worn or the knitted “lusekofte” with holes on the elbows, are perfectly fine to wear at the cabin.
Things are supposed to be more primitive at the cabin. Many cabins have outdoor toilets (utedass). Water is fetched in buckets from the nearby creek and all heating is provided by a wood-burning oven. Even though many cabins nowadays have solar cell panels, the lighting is often by candles or kerosene lamps.
On arrival at the cabin everyone winds down and forget the many worries of everyday life. Even removing the snow in front of the entrance door is a fun task when at the cabin. Argues about whose turn it is to fetch water or firewood is performed in a friendly manner.
Days are spend skiing in the area around the cabin. The kids play in the snow. The adults try to make a lawn chair stay stable in the snow while juggling sunglasses, the crime novel and a cup of coffee, that does not at all taste like it is supposed to, -but, it’s ok as we are at the cabin.
Simple meals are prepared on a small gas burner and after the evening meal, by candlelight, we play various card games, Yatzy and Trivial Pursuit.
To many foreigners our obsession for cabin life may seem strange. Some have shared their thoughts on this phenomenon.
Australian Jenny K. Blake has written “The Norwegian hytte – the essential guide to the great Norwegian hytte” With her charming and funny drawings and based on her experience living in Norway, she portrays Norwegians as no one has done before. With her eye for funny details, she describes everything about cabin life.
Blake has also written several other funny books about her experiences in Norway.
The Norwegian artists “Ylvis” take a look at Norwegian cabin life. A spot on and funny video