Sunday, April 29, 2012

Trip to Drøbak

In order to escape the stresses of being so close to final exams and also just because it was so nice after so much rain, I took my bike and went to Drøbak, 9.2 km west of where I live.  Drøbak is on the Oslo fjord, and is the one of the many homes of Santa Claus.  I think he also has one in Finland, and the North Pole...and probably alos Geeenland.  Children can write letters to him here, and you can see them on display next to the aquarium.  Anyway, my main goal was to enjoy the weather and walk the coastline a bit, and go to a cafe and read a bit.

On the bike ride there I noticed some new things.  One was the flowers blooming, and I noticed a few species to look up later.  This one is a Ranunculus, part of the group that has buttercups.

These flowers are Anemone species, very common, and notice the anthill behind them.  The ants are very active now--at the end of the summer last year I saw some huge colonies made of pine needles, and now they're building more: 


I also noticed some signs that give information about the area, such as historical farms, grave sites and old roads.  They were all in Norwegian only, but I was able to glean from them that settlements in the area are very very old, probably dating back 1000 years or more.  Sometime I will have to take my time and really read them, but this time I wanted to go on.  

I also noticed some of the crops are coming up, I'm guessing this is wheat since it's so commonly grown here:


I really don't like this scale of agriculture.  It reminds me of the corn and soybeans back in Minnesota.  I was learning in my Landscape Ecology class about mixed agriculture from years back, where farmers grew more crop species in one place and many birds and other species could still use it as habitat.  There's some ground nesting birds that were adapted to this old style and now that almost all farmers use big machines those birds are in sharp decline.  There's ways to balance our needs and theirs, I believe.  

I saw a sign for a farm where they make cheese, and my cousin Unni told me they have won prizes in the US for their cheese.  I have been to their store in Ski, but didn't realize the farm was so close!  It's called Den Blinde Ku, or The Blind Cow.


When I got to Drøbak I went straight for the grassy area near the beach by the fjord, to have some lunch and read.  Here were my books (and my feet):


I looked up some of the flowers I saw, and I had a book about conservation and capitalism, realted to my thesis and one of the papers I have left.  While I distractedly attempted to read, a woman and her dog walked by me and she stopped and chatted with some other women and their dog, but I could tell the first woman was American by her extremely thick accent.  We have a very hard "r" in American English, which this woman had in abundance.  In Norwegian the "r"s are either rolled (Oslo area, northern parts too?) or hacked like a French "r" ( West coast).  

After lunch I went on to explore and take pictures.  First I climbed the rocky areas to get the best view, and I think I found it.


Here's a "benk" I found in the rock, with a nice view of the fjord.


I prefer to sit on the rock, especially where they were rounded and shaped like a lounge chair.


Very comfy.  It got a bit cold though so I went on.

I have been studying about housing in Norwegian, and recently learned these are called "rekkehus" translated as "townhouse".  They look nice on the coast.


Had to take a picture of the mermaids, or havfruer--"ocean ladies" literally.  I love literal translations.  I guess "mermaid" is kind of funny sounding too.


I love to pose with them but was alone so that would have been weird. 

I like this view of Drøbak, near the mermaids:


I saw many boats, and these two struck me as a juxtaposition of old and new:


Predictably I like the one on the left.

I went to a cafe after and ordered a cafe latte, "dobbelt", and read for a while, sometimes listening to the Greek owner of the cafe talk to customers in Norwegian.  

After that I walked around for a bit more, enjoying the flowers and everything else.



When I got back, my Greek flatmate was making dinner for some people, so I added some bread and cheese to the Greek soup he made.  We were two Greeks, three Americans and two Germans for dinner.  It was a wonderful day all day!  Now back to the grindstone, nose.  


  1. It looks like a nice day in fjord-land. The flowers and the views of the fjord are pretty. And I love the mermaids. I remember them from December when they looked cold and lonely on the waterfront, but the warmer weather will, no doubt, bring them more visitors and attention.

    Good luck with your finals. I'm missing your expert knowledge of Minnesota flora on my hikes through the parks and forests.

  2. I liked den blinde ku best, I think.

    Great to see a bit more of Norway in the springtime. Love the flowers.

    Good luck with finals!