Walking to work is one of the highlights of my day. It takes me about 35 minutes there with a big climb to the top of the local ski hill, faster on the way home. It’s faster, more direct, gives me exercise (about 3 miles, 7,500 steps round trip), saves money (a one-way bus ride costs almost $5 with my pre-paid bus card, about $7.50 if paid by cash).
On my 2nd day of walking, I chose to wear my hiking shoes and the studded shoe covers for the ice. There are plenty of hills and we haven’t had any new snow for awhile, so it is very icy in some places and the snow is very packed. This made walking much easier and more secure. I swear people must be able to tell I’m not Norwegian because I’m walking so carefully. Other people just cruise along with dress shoes or tennis shoes. There is some kind of mountain-goat experience going on here.
Ted came with me on the first day. First we can go out the back-side of our apartment area through this little wood to a street on the other side. After crossing the street, we go through another housing area then start climbing up and up along a path with a rope rail and lots of gravel. There are sand bins on the top and the bottom for the sanding crews.
Then we reach the top of the local ski hill! Anders and his class came to ski here during school one day (although he only had cross country skis, but the hill doesn’t look like fun downhill until we get more snow anyway).
The view of the whole city is breathtaking. We can see the fjord and the mountains beyond. The panoramic is nice, but doesn’t quite do it justice. I took this one in the afternoon light at 2:30 when the sun was illuminating everything.
It feels like an origami city somehow. We are in the center of 160,000 people, yet we have these secluded wooded paths that hop us from one part of town to another by foot, like snowy icy wormholes. It is phenomenal.
Next we cross another street and go down a residential street, on the sidewalk with regular bus and car traffic, but very quiet because it comes to a dead end with a bus turn-around. The horsehead-on-a-podium startled me the first time because it was hidden from me until I passed the fence on the right of me, then it popped into my peripheral vision! This seems a little ostentatious for the Norwegian sensibility.
We cross again and go through a fence and past a neighborhood swing set into a tidy neighborhood with smaller houses that are closer together. You can see one car parked at a house, but there are rows of garages in the low building on the left side of the picture. People don’t have their own attached “airlock” garage that takes you from your car to your house without acknowledging the outside world. These are not through-streets, only for the neighborhood cars and for walkers, bikers, and skiers to access the paths beyond.
The paths beyond are a respite from the city. There is a main path that is wide and groomed for cross country skis. On one day I came upon kids about Anders’ age skiing in groups; it must have been a school outing but I didn’t see any teachers. The kids were moving in well-spaced groups, as smooth and expert as can be.
On another day, we came across a daycare group (barnehagen) of mostly 2-3 year olds and 3 teachers. They were just trouping along, who knows how far from their daycare, all decked out in their full body snow gear, happy as can be. It’s so good for the little kids and so good for the caregivers! If I were taking care of a gaggle of small people, I would be thrilled to be outside for a good part of every day.
The path ends at this street and I noticed the solar panels, which we have not seen very often here. They aren’t so productive in the winter, but great in the summer!
Following along the road is this wide open view, looking back toward the path that we took through the woods and the neighborhood beyond.
After a walk through a parking lot, which I did not photograph because it’s just a half-full parking lot full of Saabs, Volvos and Volkswagens, there is one final path to my building on the Dragvoll campus. We are on the 4th floor, upstairs from the campus gym.