A Winter Experience

It is now late November, and actually still autumn. Here, however, autumn has long since turned into winter. A real winter, not a wet Dutch one. September and part of October gave a huge splash of colour with bright yellow slopes. Reflections of yellow with the first white on the mountain tops made beautiful images in the smooth water. The sea on our doorstep does not freeze easily, but the sinking ice by low tide on the rocks in the side fjords gives a special picture. Streams almost stopped by the ice; water frozen in its fall down. In front of our door a small rock face where normally the water flows down over it now has icicles as long as 15 centimetres. It's not winter yet, but already an extraordinary experience. This week the forecast is for a really hard freeze. The neighbour asked if we have already turned on the frost protection on the water pipes.

Last week, the weather was very different. The freezing eastern wind had given way to a brisk western storm. The hard frozen ground became boggy again and the streams started flowing. To fish and sail even in winter, we still have two boats in the harbour. Some pins in the jetty, meant to secure our boats, were simply knocked out by the strong winds and wave action of passing coasters. Our boats are still safe, but we are making urgent plans to strengthen the mooring points.

The days are rapidly getting shorter. Around 9 o'clock it is light, and around 4 o'clock it is already dark. On sunny days, there is beautiful light. At sunset, the mountains turn a special, very soft pink. During the storm, however, it hardly got light inside. The rain and clouds coloured everything grey. The mountains on the other side disappeared. The light is really different here in the North than in the Netherlands. It varies between brighter, pastel soft but also so lacking in intensity that it seems very dark during the day when the weather is grey. We hung Christmas lights in the living room to still create cosiness. With a strong East wind, our heat pump struggles to keep the room comfortable. We quickly learn how to heat efficiently with a wood-burning stove. This turns out to be quite an art. Sitting around the wood fire in the dark gives a cosy feeling. In the evening, many stars emerge, and the Northern Lights have also shown themselves several times.

In the mountains, the first snow fell more than a month ago. A trip to Oslo in early October took in a snowstorm through the pass on the road to Dombas. On the mountains around the fiskesenter, too, it is now white. This is only recently. It is a very distinct experience. If you turn left here, the road away from the coast, it is white and cold. If you turn right, the road towards the open sea, the white and ice disappears completely. I suspect that the warm Gulf Stream from the open sea along the sea coast has a lot of influence, while on the other side the mountains dominate. The fiskesenter sits almost exactly at the transition between the two. At Thijs' school in Molde, it can be -10 with a heavy layer of snow, while here it is snow-free and around freezing. And then we are some 20 kilometres apart as the crow flies.