Somewhere between Voss and Myrdal

Next to me an eager couple, clutching their “Norway in a Nutshell” leaflet and cameras, have their faces glued to the window, fixated on the passing scenery and the ever changing snow cladded mountainous landscape in front of them. Fingers point and eyes glisten when they spot beautiful things, things that to me could be considered mundane. The train weaves between hills and streams along a narrow valley, constantly climbing. In front of the tourists a Norwegian, tucked up in a blanket, wearing a comfy woollen jumper, now playing Sudoku after finishing some knitting. Rarely does she look up.

It’s still dawn. The light is that perfect musky light that make’s outside glow like magic. The valley is narrow and patchy with white snow and dark trees, birches and pine, that climb the mountain face until they can’t go any further. Beyond the trees the mountains are bare and white, broken up by the rocky facade peeking through in places the snow has fallen from. A mist is hugging the trees down the valley, flowing down it like a floating river. In deeper grooves the mist swirl upwards, like a crashing wave. Red farms and carved out rock faces with icicles the size of a small dog shoot pass my window by the train. I remember about Kittelsen, and his incredible vision of the Norwegian landscape, seeing trolls and mystical creatures woven into the landscapes. I see a giant troll crouching to the ground, hugging his rock-face knees, his head in his lap. His back hairy with leafless birch trees and yellow moss. I’ve always liked the stories from my childhood about trolls. They were never meant to be scary, I regarded them as misunderstood creatures that peacefully lived in the woods and valleys, separated from humans by the daylight that would turn them into rock. They belonged there as much as we did.

This is where I belong too.


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