What’s special about February?

This picture is 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 the lakes in the Vollen region freeze over so that the ice acquires the necessary thickness, they 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,-

The school winter holiday week in our region of Norway is always week 8 – in the second half of February.  Very many families then move to their mountain chalets to enjoy winter sports.  In this photo you see a small Norwegian, not yet two and a half years old, managing the children’s ski-lift when on holiday in the Lillehammer region.

However it is usually also possible to enjoy the holiday in the Oslo region as this is still when we expect well prepared cross-country ski-tracks, the local slalom hills are in good condition and of course there are lots of special events at museums, theaters and cinemas.

When passing Leangbuktaon 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.

Children’s Holmenkollen Day is on Sunday 10th February 2019
At the Holmenkollen ski arena in Oslo there are ski races for children aged 4 – 12 and children can choose between 4 different tracks. All competitors who cross the finishing line, receive a prize!  There are also lots of activities for everyone.

Fastelavnssøndag is Sunday 7 weeks before Easter, in 2019 on 3rd March)  It is celebrated with fastelavns boller, which are  rich yeast buns filled with e.g. jam, almond paste and cream with icing sugar on top.  You will find them in REMA 1000 or can enjoy them in Café Oscar.  On Monday and Tuesday, many schools have carnival parties so you may see children in fancy dress.

It is customary to place a fastelavnsris in the sitting room – a bunch of birch twigs decorated with coloured feathers or paper.  Later the birch leaves appear, giving hope for the spring.  The Norwegian Women’s Public Health Association members make thousands of fastelavnsris to sell, an important contribution to their valuable work.

Places especially worth going to in February

Drammen Spiral tunnel (Spiralen Drammen)

Drammen Spiral tunnel (Spiralen Drammen)

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 spirals , to emerge at Skansen. Here,...

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Children’s playgrounds

Children’s playgrounds

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...

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Munchmuseet – The Munch Museum

Munchmuseet – The Munch Museum

Edvard Munch was one of Modernism's most significant artists. He was active throughout more than sixty years; from the time he made his debut in the 1880s, right up to his death in 1944. Munch was part of the Symbolist movement in the 1890s, and...

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Henie Onstad Kunstsenter / Art Exhibition Centre

Henie Onstad Kunstsenter / Art Exhibition Centre

The Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK) is located in the beautiful park and recreation area of Høvikodden on the Oslo fjord peninsula, surrounded by public trails, wharfs and shorelines.  The statues outdoors in the park are well worth looking at.  The exhibitions change...

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Risenga ice-skating rink (kunstisbane)

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.

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Korketrekkeren – Oslo Corkscrew sleigh track

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...

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Ekeberg Park (Ekebergparken)

Ekeberg Park (Ekebergparken)

Ekeberg park is large, with woods, established paths and art. (Click the link for a map of the park and details of all the works of art)  All sculptures are of high quality and are representative of European art history of the last 130 years. (Just a few examples are...

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Oslo Winter Park – Alpine sports

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.

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Getting to Sheeps Inn by car in winter

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...

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