One thing they tell you when you get into Norway, weather is a very important topic and part of the greetings. Unlike Kenya where I come from, no one bothers to talk about the weather unless it´s raining cats and dogs or its very dry. In short, it is not anything major to talk about.
In Norway, everyone talks about the weather and the changing seasons. Winter officially starts in November and everyone seems to be on a shopping spree ready to cope with the cold weather and temperatures as low as minus 20C. This sounds crazy but that´s the truth and at the moment I have witnesed early mornings of upto minus 5C.
The Norwegians enjoy the winter, its part of the system here. One reason they like it, the foreigners are fun to be with during winter. “They are scared of the snow, keep calling in sick, they fall a lot when they try skiing and we just have fun, we laugh all the time”, said Ingre Anne a Norwegian friend.
Wait until it´s winter
“How do you like Norway?” It´s a common question that I answer with a lot of enthusiasm, “I love it so much, I am enjoying myself bigtime” and the response goes “wait until winter and you will be asking when can you get the next flight back home?”
Winter is a season that all people dread across the world especially for the countries that experience severe winters. So far I have heard of great stories on what to expect. You can be almost certain of snow in the main mountain areas from December to April. Christmas in a snow-covered log cabin is idyllic, and New Year is very special with fireworks everywhere at midnight. There is limited daylight at this time, but it is still possible to have a full day’s skiing if you don’t delay getting out.
The days lengthen rapidly through January and February and by the end of March there is of course more daylight than further south. If you are going to drive in Norway in winter you must be prepared for the conditions. Most of the main roads are kept open by snow ploughs all year round, but the road surface will often be hard packed snow and ice. Journey times will be much longer than in summer. 50km/hr is a typical average, and in bad weather there can be long delays over mountain passes.
So everyone gets prepared for the winter. The green surrounding suddenly turns plain, with trees changing colour from green to yellow or red and finally shedding off. The country becomes colourful, with all sorts of leaves and naked trees. The sun rises very late and sets off way before four o´clock which means it gets very dark, almost all day long.
With wireless internet all over, most people spend their time on their laptops and watching televisions. Most babies too are born nine months later!
I am all prepared
A common saying coined among the Norwegians says, “The weather is not bad, it´s you who is not dressed well”, is enough indication that it gets worse but they are used to it. I have been shopping and ready to cope with it. I am yet to get used to heavy dressing and putting on rubber boots, which come in various sizes and colours. These will make Kenyans laugh, because rubber boots are mostly used by the farmers early in the morning as they milk their cows. Here in Norway, these are common shoes and very stylish.
My sitting room and my bedroom as well, I have ensured that the heaters are in good order and working. You can be assured, I will not be booking my flight back home come winter season but will be happy to enjoy and bring out the hero in me!