March 25-26: Røros Hytta Liv

A sacred Norwegian tradition is the påskeferie hytta trip–Easter week holiday at the cabin. Many Norwegian families have a hytta in the mountains or fjords that has been passed down through the generations. It’s a great honor to be invited to the family hytta for the holiday, and we were invited to not one but two hyttas during the week!

First we took the train to Røros to Sylvi and Trond’s hytta, about 2.5 hours ride south and east of Trondheim toward the Swedish border. As you move away from the coast, the temperatures get colder and the snow gets heavier. We had -30F overnight and teens to twenties during the day, but with abundant sunshine! And snow almost to the roof line!

The cabin is beautiful, a small building that they recently remodeled to change the orientation of the rooms. There are 3 small bedrooms, enough places to sleep for all of us, a living room, a kitchen/dining room, and a washroom…and an outhouse! They do not have running water because it is very expensive to drill a well. They gather water from the lake for general washing, but it is polluted from hundreds of years of copper mining, so they bring drinking water in jugs. The outhouse is top-notch. A room in a nearby shed with electric heating and decor. However, they still haven’t put up their picture of the king and queen, which is traditional for a hytta uthus. In the old days you would use newspaper as toilet paper, but it was taboo to use any picture of the royalty for that purpose, so they pinned it up on the wall. It’s real hytta liv (cabin life).

On our first day we just hung out and played with the kids. Ted and Anders did some heroic shoveling to clear a path to the patio outside of the kitchen door, along with a place for the tri-pod grill set up and the table and chairs. The snow was so crystalline because it stays so cold and dry. Because it is so dry it doesn’t feel all that cold. Ted took off his coat and hat by the time he was done shoveling.

In addition to general playing in the snow, they had these tiny skier toys that raced down the hill–so cool and a great subject for Anders’ camera skills! They were perfectly balanced and stayed upright all the way down the slope. They even set up little ramps for a jump at the end of the hill.

We set up the grill and had a picnic outside for lunch, overlooking the lake and soaking up the sunshine. Lunch was a Norwegian favorite: pølser. Hotdogs. They taste pretty good hot off the grill when you are out in the cold! I added avocado and onion to mine to make a Chilean completo, mixing up all of the cultural experiences!

         The kids play like puppies in the snow, much to the delight of little Aksel. Make sure that you can find Anders in that picture of Ted by the picnic table! They wrestle, roll around, and sled (usually until someone gets hurt, but not too badly), then sleep well at night.


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About Christy Anderson Brekken

In no particular order... Instructor and Researcher, Department of Applied Economics, Oregon State University. Educational background: University of MN Law School, 2005. MS in Ag and Resource Economics, Oregon State University, 2011. Teaches: Agricultural Law, Environmental Law. Mother: brilliant 9 year old boy; brilliant 6 year old girl with benign myoclonic epilepsy on a modified ketogenic diet therapy. Married to: Ted Brekken, OSU Department of Electrical Engineering. Ride: Xtra-cycle Edgerunner with kid seat; 400-pound cargo capacity. Grew up: Devils Lake, ND. Lived in: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Pohang, South Korea, Trondheim, Norway, Corvallis, OR. Interests: Cooking, knitting, eating, yoga, laughing, hiking, traveling, staying sane.
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