Norway,  Oslo,  The Opera,  Vaset

A white weekend and a night at the opera

Norwegians have this strange behaviour of seeking out places with snow during the winter. This year we have had more or less now snow at all where we live, only a few centimeters that have melted away the day after.

Suddenly I find myself infected with this attraction to snow. I have not been skiing for around 30 years, but now new skis, ski boots, ski poles, trousers, glows etc. has been purchased. Not sure what has happened to me, but must be some kind of nostalgic longing.

An agreement was made to go up to Kristine and Stian’s cabin up in the mountains, where snow is a certainty. Was also a nice opportunity to spend some time with grandchildren Amalie and Sebastian.

Car was packed with necessities like beer and wine. Even though we have cut down on alcohol, weekends will never be white in that respect. Before driving up in the mountains, we visited the summerhouse and stayed a couple of nights to check out if all is ok. Continued on Friday to Vaset where their cabin is.

The road we use up there, goes thru the mountains with great scenic views, hence the route’s name Panorama veien, the Panorama road. Some pictures taken from the road follows below. As the weekend came closer, the weather forecast got worse and worse with heavy winds, gale, predicted. However, driving thru was without any problem, the weather staying quite calm. When Phil and Sheila comes for a visit during summer, this road is something we planned to drive to show them the nature. Found out that the road will be closed at half way during the summer because of maintenance of a bridge over a dam. Will have to reconsider what to do then.

Arrived at Kristine and Stian’s place in sunny weather, just in time for the bad weather to start. Wind was real severe during the night with snow fall, but nearly non existing the day after. Stian and Kristine made a wonderful dinner with crispy duck legs, consumed with nice red wine. The evening was rounded off with a nice cognac 😊 .

Wind howling, blowing snow outside
My car covered with snow morning after

Saturday came with sun, new snow and views you only see on postcards. The morning was used to prepare the skis, and I was quite astonished over the result, 30 years since last time.

All out on skis, and I must admit it was pretty hard at start, so eased a bit first. We decided to go to Gomobu Fjellstue, a mountain lodge and hotel not too far away. Here, refreshments in the form of hot cocoa, nice waffles with jam and sour cream was consumed. This is the ultimate treatment for Norwegians on tour.

On the way back, we split up, the others took a longer route, while Tove and I did the shortest. Here I did the feat of still believing I was 20, skiing down a hill in hocke and having a nasty fall. One ski pole broken and still some sore ribs at time of writing.

Evening was spent playing games with the children and eating lamb ribs for dinner, all prepared by Kristine and Stian. Traditional beer and aquavit was downed. Of course, evening was rounded off with a cognac. Quite a perfect weekend.

Cross country skiing
Closing in on Gomobu
Refreshments inside, waiting for cups of hot cocoa and waffles with jam and sour cream
Amalie and Sebastian relaxing

A few pictures below from our drive back thru the Panorama road. This also shows that the mountain must be treated with respect. The weather can change rapidly. There was this lovely sunny weather, and all of a sudden the wind blows and you cannot see more than a meter in front of you. At one place we just made it thru the drifting snow.

Skogshorn dressed for winterr
Rough mountain winds
From the Panorama road in winter

On Monday we went to the opera to see Madame Butterfly. This is a first timer for me, always having wanted to go but always found an excuse not to. Opera is one of my favourite musical styles and I often listen to it. I am a devoted fan to Sarah Brightman.

The tickets were a Christmas gift from Espen and Milla who goes there regularly.

The opera house of Oslo is a special building that has received several awards. For those coming to Oslo, it’s a must to visit. The whole building can be walked on. The building was architected by Norwegian company Snøhetta. The company is famous for being architects behind other monumental buildings around the world, like the Library of Alexandria, National September 11 memorial museum, the Shanghai Grand Opera House and last but not least, Under – Europe’s first underwater restaurant.

The performance was outstanding. I find the artists incredible, singing on a big scene before loads of people for nearly 3 hours, and that is without a microphone. The opera was filled with moments of glorious, uninhibitedly romantic music.

Madame Butterfly is an old opera, a masterpiece, that in these “MeToo” times has not lost significance. Its all about sexual exploitation and death of a 15 year old Japanese girl. It is said, that after Puccini, created the opera, the male leading role, the exploiter, was so unpleasant that he had to sympathetically expand the role. Otherwise the tenors of the time would reject to take part.

The orchestra was also exquisite, led by Dalia Stasevska. She was last year selected as the Principal Guest Conductor to the BBC Symphony Orchestra,

The opera also contains a good restaurant, and the both of us enjoyed a glass of wine, both before the performance and in the break.

It’s definite I will come back to the opera.

Den Norske Opera
Madame Butterfly
Before the performance, musicians warming up

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