What’s special about January?
Just before midnight on New Year’s Eve the first private firework displays light up the skies all over Norway. In Vollen the fireworks are magnificient and often last until the end of the first half hour into the New Year.
This photo was taken from Vollen skog, looking down on the village, with Oslo in the distance at the end of the fjord.
Remember that on New Year’s Eve, grocery shops and the state wine monopoly shop close early, usually about 3 p.m. Shops are also closed on the 1st of January. The closest wine monopoly shop is in Slemmestad, 3 km to the south of Vollen.
Some years there is little snow in January, but cold weather with thermometers, especially at night, showing several degrees of frost. This means that lakes freeze over and are certified safe for skating. One such lake is Gjellum at Heggedal, just five minutes by car from Vollen. On Gjellum lake it is often possible to skate for five kilometers towards Asker. On the picture you see boys skating with ski-poles to provide extra speed and balance! The youngest is having a rest on a sleigh pulled by father on skates.
For those who don’t skate, it is also possible to walk on the ice, using “brodder” – the spiked fitment for boot-soles. You can buy these in Vollen apotek – the local chemist shop. We usually have a couple of pairs which you can borrow in the apartment. Brodder come in two varieties – for walking or for training. Those pictured are for putting on shoes or boots for walking and cost about NOK 280,-
This picture was taken in late January from near the landing stage for the ferry boat to Oslo. Usually in February and the first half of March, but sometimes earlier, parts of the fjord freezes over. It is then possible to walk, ski or (if not covered by snow) skate on the fjord – although always important to follow the safe marked paths.
If and when the fjord freezes over, the Oslo ferry boat to and from Vollen cannot sail. So during these weeks traveling to Oslo means taking the bus or driving.
When passing Leangbukta – on your way to Oslo by bus or car – you can often see fishermen sitting by the holes they have bored through the ice. Winter cod fish is particularly good and ice-fishing is a popular sport!
Remember the famous Norwegian saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” – so they dress for several hours sitting still on the ice in many degrees of frost!
In the photograph, taken in the last week of February, you see two intrepid ice-fishermen hoping for a great catch about 4 meters from the edge of the ice in Leangbukta.
Places especially worth going to in January
Drammen Spiral tunnel (Spiralen Drammen)
Please note: in 2020 the tunnel was upgraded. The spiral tunnel in the city of Drammen is a unique experience and in fact has been ranged by CNN Travel as one of the world's most special tunnels. You enter from the town and drive up 1650 meters in six and a half...
Children’s playgrounds and training apparatus for all ages
Every school and kindergarten in Norway has an outdoor playground. During school hours these are for the use of the children attending that place. However after 17:00 on weekdays, at weekends and during national or school holidays, most of these may be...
SPA at Holmen Fjordhotell
A few minutes bus-ride from Vollen is Holmen Fjordhotell which has a lovely swimming pool and training centre, with sauna, steam-bath, cold pool, pool and big whirlpool. There are lockers available. In the Fitness centre there is a large variety of training...
Risenga ice-skating rink (kunstisbane)
Risenga ice-skating rink is about 6 km from Vollen and is prepared daily during the winter season from the beginning of November. The opening hours are given here but in general the rink is open from 09:00 - 22:30 daily.
Korketrekkeren – Oslo Corkscrew sleigh track
A run down the Corkscrew track takes about 8 - 10 minutes - it's 2700 meters long with a fall of 255 meters. You get to the start by taking the 13 minute long Metro (T-banen) from Midstuen to Frognerseteren. Alternatively you can drive up to Frognerseteren or take...
Oslo Winter Park – Alpine sports
The best place to enjoy good alpine skiing in the Oslo district is at Oslo Winter Park which is just 20 minutes up from the centre of the city. The season usually begins in December and continues to early April, depending on weather conditions.
Getting to Sheeps Inn by car in winter
The photo is from 16th January 2018 after a heavy fall of snow. However the first snow can arrive as early as the end of October. In winter conditions you can still drive up Vollen skog road but if there is a lot of snow, or minor roads are icy, it is possible to...
Vigeland Park is the world's largest sculpture park made by a single artist, and is one of Norway's most popular tourist attractions. The park is open to visitors all year round. There is a large parking lot beside the park. Allow at least an hour to enjoy the...