The most idyllic place I know

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After our week at grandma´s, we headed towards the big amusement park in Kristiansand, where Captain Sabretooth resides, along with Cinnamon Town and Hakkebakke Forest. But it is a six hours´ drive to get there, down the west coast, through ferrycrosses and tunnels through mountains and under fjords. So we had arranged to make a stop in Flekkefjord, where my best friend lives, both to see her of course, but also to break the car ride up a bit.

My friend and I used to live together in Bergen whilst we studied social anthropology. How we met and how we spent our times together is a very good story in itself, but that will have to wait until (maybe) another time. 🙂

We arrived, and the kids spotted the trampoline down the garden from the main house of the farm (Which my friend Ilona and her ex husband Nils built themselves in the 70s). Check this out!

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flekkefjord trampoline

My ten-yearold can be spotted on the rock to the left, in a pink hoody…! It blows my mind that a trampoline in the garden can imply a view like this one!

After pancakes and a chat with two visiting German beekeepers, come to help out on the farm, we headed down the path through the woods, to see Ilona´s wonderful little cottage there…

flekkefjord sti til hytten

On the path were tons and tons of blueberries. Ilona´s grand daughter Thelma, age 1, wanted to just stay there and pick them and eat, “yum yum” she explained, I think it must be amongst her first words uttered in this world. 🙂

Alas I didn´t take a picture of the cottage in total, but here is the view from her balcony:

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Amazing, isn´t it. It always takes my breath away to stand there and look out, down the hill onto the fjord far far below…

Here is the only shot I took from the balcony into the hut, you see the small, blue kitchen in the right hand corner… there are 3 bedrooms, and a sofa and a dining table. Everything you need. I filmed all the way through the cottage, and hence forgot to take photos with the camera that can speak quickly to this machine I´m blogging from. I will share the video on the blog once I get it edited and formatted.

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The cottage has no electricity. But a solar panel, which powers one lamp and a charger or similar, for a few hours. When the weather is good. She has water, a gas cooker and a gas fridge, and a bio toilet.
She could do with proper electricity to be able to sit there and work on her computer. She holds lectures all around the world, at conferences to do with ecological farming, empowering African women, making projects of co operation between farming women in Tanzania and Norway…

She also paints amazing paintings, fairytale themes, psychedelic patterns, in beautiful vivid colours.
And she writes amazing poems, in her native tongue German. She is an undiscovered great artist and poet, actually. I keep telling her she should exhibit but she just laughs at me.
I filmed one of her paintings. Forgot to take a still. I will show it later in the video (with Ilona´s permission, I have to ask her first of course).

But I did take a self portrait. In this fantastic mirror on her cottage bedroom wall. I asked her where she got the mirror from, expecting her to say Taj Mahal or Kilimanjaro or somewhere else, she travels so extensively… but she just replied “I made it myself. At a Norwegian wood carving workshop. Well, my teacher made most of it, but. Hahaha…”
I am almost envious of all her talents! 🙂

Here is my self portrait in her mirror:

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After coffee on the balcony… Oh I fogot to tell you about her shower! She has this shower where you fill water on a tank, the temperature you want it to be, and then there is this pedal on the floor that you step on to pump the water up a hose and out a shower head hanging on the wall. Clever stuff!

But yes, after the coffee, and all the children playing in and around the cottage for about an hour or two, we decided to continue down the hillside, to their boathouse on the edge of the fjord.

fl.fjord sti til sjøhus

The adult in this picture is Ilona´s daughter Laura, who just returned from a few years in Cape Town where she did her Phd in sociology. Criminology, actually, if I remember correctly. She is a most wonderful person whome I have known since her teens, and she too studied in Bergen, so we had some excellent evenings out on the dancefloor together, she, her friends, her mom and me. Great memories.
One of her closest girlfriends also used to take my daughter out for walks in the pram when my daughter (now 10) was little, and now, both Laura and her friend are mothers themselves! Mindblowing.

We walked through a…fantastic landscape…a fierce, rocky river way below…through the woods… I would have loved to have taken a picture, but I was busy looking after my 3-yearold and 5-yearold, it was pretty scary to see them run ahead of me down the path there… One day I will photograph that place.

We arrived at the boat house.

This is taken inside, my son comes climbing down the ladder from the “hems”, which is the Norwegian word for a sleeping platform made as a half floor way up under the ceiling. Very popular with kids.

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A look out the window:

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And the view from outside the boat house, on the pier:

flekkefjord utsikt sjøhus

And the opposite direction:

flekkefjord utsikt sjøhus motsatt vei

While we headed down the hillside to the boat house, Ilona had gone back up to the main house and fetched her car. She drove down to the fjord and found us there. And at the same time, her ex husband Nils came to the fjord side as well! Not knowing we were there, and that we needed him and his car to help give everuone a lift back up the hill. Hahaha…

Laura was offered ten living crabs by their boat house neighbour, and we happily accepted, crab meat is a summer delicacy to us west coat Norwegians. We got in the cars, and Ilona was saying that Marit should have been here now, her friend, as she knew everything about how to prepare crabs.
She started turning the car around, and Laura shouted “Wait, stop! There´s a car!”

The ferry from the island Hidra was just about to unload, and first to shore was this blue car we almost drove into. The lady behind the wheel turned her head, and then she turned her head even more and hit the breaks. It was Marit!!
Quickly Nils told her to take the crabs and prepare them, Ilona tried to shout out the window that she should take the crabs and then come back to theirs to join the meal in the evening, but Nils had already asked her the very same thing, so.
All was well and easy and magically syncronized, Marit drove off with the living crabs, and returned in the evening for a wonderful meal…

Here she is, showing us how to crack the crab shells open, and what to eat and what not to. (One can actually eat it all, she said, but a couple of the parts are less…appetizing…)

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Lava, my ten-yearold, was very interested, and asked Marit to show her how to crack and peel them.

Marit Lava og krabbene

We all sat down and just enjoyed the crabs. Quietly, chatting away, laughing, my husband tuning their guitar… Pure quality. A soul soothing time shared.

krabbefest Fredly 15

Oh, I forgot to tell you that before dinner, we went down to the old house, the one that was on the farm when they started building the main house. Vegar, Laura´s cohabitating boyfriend, is a dj, and he has rigged himself a sound studio in one of the rooms down there in the old house.
I remember with joy his dj sessions on the club scene of Bergen in the 90s. He has also djed in Cape Town these last few years, as well as having worked with tv production.
Right now he was working on making some film music for a director friend of his…

This is serious toys for grown girls and boys, huh?! Wouldn´t mind learning a couple of these button twists and tweeks and their funny and groovy effects one fine day…

vegars lydstudio 1

vegar lydstudio 2

Vegar lydstudio 3

Well.
After the crab meal, we went to bed. We had to get up early the next morning, as we had booked tickets for the big amusement park. We would have loved to stay longer, and next time we will !

Ilona waved goodbye as we turned the car around and drove off. I managed to take this foggy picture of the departure, we can pretend that the fingers in front of the lense was a deliberate, artistic experiment of showing me waving back at Ilona. 🙂

I am looking forward to the next time we meet, and to the next time we visit her lovely place on that hilltop in the woods by the fjord.

Until then, my friend, take care and have lots of fun!

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