We are back in Oslo. The last week was spent in Hørte, about 20 km South of Grimstad in Southern Norway. It is an area where the places have the same names as the people: Hørte is also the name of the family of farmers who supplied us with fresh water and ice for our "fridge".
We lived in a small wooden house on a hill amidst the trees. No electricity, no running water. Lots of silence, wild raspberries and blueberries to pick. Lakes with clear water that was so soft it made my hair all curly. Aggressive moscitos and kind people who came by with cars and, one time, a horse to see us, who told us about life as farmers in a remote place, who listened to what we told them about our lives. My daughter, who finally found the courage to swim with me, clinging to my back. And Rømme, the fresh, thick cream that is had with jam on flatbrød.
Norway is beautiful in a way that Germany just isn't. We don't have pristine forests like the ones I saw, we don't have wilderness or areas where there are no well-marked paths to guide you. Unpaved roads are unheard of, too. We don't have stretches of countryside where all you see are forests, and lakes, and red and white houses - seemingly similar, but so rich in their differences.
I was happy in Hellelandshaugen (this is the little house's name). I felt at peace like I haven't for a long time. There were difficulties, of course. My daughter got on my nerves. JH (aka The Lover) had to, has to get used to being so close to me, and to a little sucker-upper of energy. In the beginning, my daughter was really worried about there being no houses around - but she got to like our little house. I could get tearful in a second thinking about the fireplace, and the view of the wooden shed from the front door, and the taste of those berries. So I will try to make it into a place in my mind that I can return to when I want, wander up the hill, into the front door and through all the rooms, smelling and seeing and returning to a feeling that touched me so deeply.
And since you asked: yes, Oslo is stunningly beautiful, too.