July 07, 2006

How I spent my summer vacation, installment 1

I suppose I feel a little like talking about how I spent my summer vacation. I do not intend this to be a blow by blow account. I am, as always, writing for my own pleasure, because I enjoy seeing the words dance across the screen, because I wish, by writing, to try to better fix the memory of what transpired. In fact, I lack the time to recount everything in this one entry so I will just get some of the beginning bits down. So, to the substance.

We arrived on Saturday after an all night flight. I recall almost nothing of that day at all. Not a shock, since I did not sleep on the flight, having occupied my time primarily with making sure the Boy Child, who was asleep on the floor of the plane, did not keep pushing his head out into the middle of the aisle for someone to accidently boot it as they passed. He was persistent, just the same. It was a long flight.

Monday was the first day I can recall particularly enjoying. The weather was beautiful. So beautiful, that I packed the Boy Child and the Girl Child into my mother-in-law’s car and she drove us down to the docks to take a boat out to Hovedøya Island, in the middle of the Oslo Fjord. The Viking Bride, exhausted, stayed behind with the baby. I try to get to the Oslo Fjord as soon as is practicable whenever I arrive in Norway. Especially in the summer. There is something magical and almost healing about being on the water. I suppose that goes for anywhere but it feels particularly powerful in Norway.

So, I bought the kids some candy and a bottle or two of water and off we went. Oslo maintains, much like city buses, a small fleet of city municipal transport boats that run on a regular schedule between the various islands in the fjord. We took one of these. We sat on the top of the boat, out in the sun, and got off at Hovedøya, a large island with a beautiful beach, ruins of an old (1100's) monastery, and left over fortifications from the time batteries of artillery were placed there to protect the harbor. We walked to the beach, over the island, to the other side. It was glorious weather and the beach was not at all crowded. The Girl Child immediately waded into the water and was soon helping a bunch of other girls make mudpies – all the while chattering away with them in Norwegian. The Boy Child stuck a bit closer to me and we sat quietly together on the rocks overlooking the water. We all later gathered some beautiful small sea shells. After a quick shower to take the worst of the mud and salt off, we adjourned for lunch at the café. Following lunch, we went off to explore the ruins. According to the kids, this may have been the high point of the day. The ruins were covered over with wild flowers and the sky was very blue. I let the kids clamber up and over whatever the felt comfortable climbing on and I let them explore to their heart’s content. I got some great pictures of them and when I download them from my camera I will consider posting one or two.

On the approach to the island by boat, I noticed a battery of old cannon and I sort of recalled being there one time before, about 10 years ago. So, after the monastery, I marched my little troop off to find the battery. We marched around half the island and failed to find it. We did, however, enjoy walks through forest, wild flower covered fields, wild raspberry patches, and along paths following the coastline of the island. It was, all of it, gorgeous, even if the Boy Child was concerned that his feet were getting “very busy”. I knew that meant he was tired so we took a candy break. Do not give a three year old boy a chocolate bar and not expect him to become a chocolate monster with brown smears all over face and hands. Fortunately, there were wipes. Plenty of them.

I hoisted the Boy Child on to my shoulders for the walk back to the dock and happily got on the wrong boat with the kids. We added 15 more minutes to our journey this way and got to see a couple of more islands. The islands are covered with small, what were once, summer cottages. I think that many of them have been winterized now. We ate the rest of the chocolate on the boat. However, this time, I held the Boy Child’s chocolate for him. The Girl Child, naturally fastidious, did not need any help.

It was a wonderful day.

Posted by Random Penseur at July 7, 2006 02:37 PM | TrackBack

Awesome. Can't wait to see some pictures.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at July 8, 2006 10:55 AM

Sounds positively breathtaking. Like a fairy tale. So glad you had a wonderful time, and can't wait to hear more!

Posted by: Jennifer at July 9, 2006 03:12 PM
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