Norway my friends, is pure magic
I've been in the Italian and Swiss alps, so I thought I'd seen mountains before.
But in truth, there is nothing quite like it.
As you may have seen in my previous post, I had the lucky fortune of enjoying a long weekend in Norway with Lars, Lars's mother and my mother.
Last weekend was a much needed weekend of nature therapy! After spending the day in the town of Stavanger, we high-tailed it to the mountains along long winding roads where rocks are mere seconds from falling off mountain sides.
Being crushed by a rock avalanche was not the most terrifying part of our trip, however. Exhibit A, my mother:
On Saturday we hiked the infamous Pulpit Rock, or Preikestolen. This is the same hike Lars and I did last January, but had the incredible misfortune of an intense snow storm and Lars deemed the remaining 50 meters of our hike unsafe.
See I think we totally could have shimmied our way across that 30cm wide ledge with a 600+ meter drop... Upsetting, seeing as we hiked nearly 4km to the top and were only a few steps away from the climactic final view, but safety first.
Lame. But stunning nonetheless 🙂
This time we made sure to reenact our windblown summit selfie in the indistinguishable exact same location! 😀
As promised, the rain hats made a comeback 😉
The hike up Preikestolen was exactly as we expected. Cold and wet. Good thing my brother got me this incredibly appropriate Columbia rain jacket for my birthday which I wore for the entire trip to Norway! This jacket got ten stars from me as it held the rain entirely and shielded the wind without being muggy on the inside. The delicious color didn't hurt my love for the jacket either 😉 Thank you, Mike!
Also a necessity if you're traveling to Norway any time of year, are rain pants. Suck it up ladies and wear them. Your dry bum will thank you. I got this pair nearly 10 years ago when I moved to Finland (understandably) and they have always been perfect at holding the rain but also being breathable and light as air. For you active ladies out there planning on hiking with your outdoorsy boyfriends, I can whole-heartedly recommend this functional, practical and undoubtedly stylish ensemble 😉 The boots were also not surprisingly from LLBean as well, but are about 100 years old so I was no longer able to find them online, but you can't go wrong with LLBean activewear.
But one thing that became increasingly clear as we hiked Preikestolen and Uburen the following day? Norwegians are healthy people.
Similar to other Scandinavian countries, but contrary to the States, Norwegians traditionally spend their Sunday afternoon outdoors with their family.
After breakfast they set out to one of the 18 trillion hiking trails in the country, and get active and enjoy the nature and fresh air.
The health of the country is understandable when you see children of all ages in the hiking trails. Exposing them at a young age to such habits produces men like Lars, who can't imagine living far from God's greenery.
But how can these people not be mentally stable when they wake up to a view like this:
Spend the day around this
Breathe air produced by this
Drink water running like this
Eat food caught like this
In a setting like this
And take classy bathroom breaks like this?
While the wealth of the country is produced by their natural resources which naturally funds a serviceable healthcare system, I'm further convinced the health of the country lies in their ability to enjoy the nature.
Norwegian people are calm, active, energetic, happy people.
While we've all understood the health benefits of a walk outside, imagine an entire population of people constantly being exposed to nature. The dangers of modern day urbanization are ever pressing, the effects which can easily be witnessed in every work environment (lethargy, burn-out, 3 o'clock sugar cravings anyone?)
But imagine if you could expose yourself to such nature every weekend, or in some lucky cases daily.
Could this be the answer to our rapidly increasing stress levels?
Since including a simple walk outside could decrease your stress and cortisol levels, improve your cardiovascular health, prevent malignancies and morbidities, I think the health and happiness of Norway can clearly be explained by their ability to appreciate a quiet walk in the woods.
Let's all take example from those tree hugging, fresh oxygen suckling, sardine loving, mountain water chugging Norwegians, shall we? 🙂