On a long and arduous journey that required travelling by bus, two planes, a car and a ferry we had finally made it to Norway; specifically the Island of Tysnes in the middle of Norway’s Haardangerfjord. We had come to help on a farm that makes cheese and on our arrival it was snowing. Snow, animals and cheese; three of my very favourite things! We had a quick tour around the farm to meet the animals and we also got to sample some of the cheese before we had even landed on the Island (it was, of course, indescribably delicious). Once we had met the family and familiarised ourselves with the farm we were taken over to our little cabin where we would be staying for the next few weeks. Our cabin is a little out of the way of the main farm and has some beautiful trees surrounding it so it felt wonderfully private and, best of all, very cosy once the fire was lit. We would quite happily have paid to stay here, it really is a lovely little place.
Exhausted from the days travels Pete and I collapsed into bed as the snow continued to fall into the night blanketing us in white and silence. I awoke the next day to that feeling (rather familiar to me now) of not quite remembering where I am for a brief moment. Followed by the realisation of that pure raw silence that comes from a heavy snow fall. No bird song, no rustle of trees, no wind, no sound at all apart from my excitable noises of anticipating as I hurriedly threw on as many layers as I could to go exploring outside.
Having arrived at night the previous evening we were unable to appreciate the true beauty of the farm, now revealed by daylight. On one side there are two mountains snuggling up to each other, or jostling for position to be closer to the farm. There’s also acres of open fields leading to forests with a few trees resolutely clinging on to the last of their autumn leaves despite the heavy snow coating them. I marvelled at the beautiful sight, made even more stunning by the foot or so of snow and in my unadulterated childish glee has a little dance around whilst a few flakes still fell. Peter was still fast asleep inside the cabin.
I walked down the driveway, unable to take my eyes of the huge mountains and ventured over a couple of tiny little bridges and into some fields, all completely white and totally unspoiled. There was a fast flowing stream trickling its way around the outskirts of the farm in a ribbon of ice cold dark blue. It was all exactly what I had hoped for Norway and been assured would not happen. On arranging this work stay we had been told that November in this part of Norway means lots of rain and no snow. But here we were surrounded by it, it was truly fabulous.
Unable to feel any of my extremities I finally went back inside the cabin to warm up and excitedly gabbled to poor sleepy Peter about how fantastic it was outside. We eventually got to work on clearing the snow from the farm roads with the use of a full sized JCB, a smaller Bobcat operated by Peter and me with a trusty shovel. It felt fantastic to be doing some truly manual work again although my now lazy muscles groaned in complaint as I forced them to remember their zoo keeper training.
We eventually got taken into the cheesery to be shown some of the simpler tasks with the promise that I would become very familiar with how everything worked soon enough. It was a very full first day and I was glad to get back to our little cabin at the end of it to process everything. But within a few days Pete and I would discover a well worn routine as we worked, ate with the family and rested in our cabin. It’s amazing how quickly a brand new place can start to feel like home..