There was this one winter when we did a road trip in Andalusia, Southern Spain. Driving from Malaga to Cadiz through Marbella, visiting the towns around like Sanlucar de Barrameda, then Sevilla, then Granada, and back to Malaga to fly from it to Oslo. It was late December. In Norway it was all a black and white winter tale. While in Sevilla, lost on just another hidden plaza, we were sitting on the bench and I was tilting my head up and back. Looking at the orange trees above my head.
And then at last I concluded: “This is my favorite type of winter. When there are oranges in the skies”
It is interesting, how we talk about a thing, using the same word – but we have different meanings behind it. And still we think that we are talking about one and the same thing! Take October, for example.
I say October and we think about different things, maybe. Some say, pumpkins and Halloween, some say, rains and hygge. Somewhere in the Mediterranean they still go to the beach in October. While here, in Norway, it feels like a Barcelonian winter: chilly and wet.
October has arrived and I definitely feel it. There is no slight glide like between August and September. When it is still all late summer/early autumn, with blurry borders like the tree shadows in the morning light. October is more distinct. It is getting dark around 8pm and we all know for sure: winter is coming, and darkness is coming. It is getting cold, and we pull out our warm jackets and solid scarfs. There is no more wardrobe flirting that September does: one day – light leather jacket, another – no jacket at all. October doesn’t fool around. Jackets and coats, please.
You can start throwing your tomatoes at me – but I will go and say this thing: I am happy it is autumn already!
I am not one of those blogger babes who start talking about the cozy knitwear, pleated scarfs and pumpkin spice latte with the first days of September. But living so long in Norway has turned me into a true Scandinavian, I notice :)). And all the Norwegian girls I hear sigh together: “It is getting more autumn like, oh so nice! Ja ja, mm.” Yes, I am one of those who pulls out my favorite sweater and starts wearing it with everything (like a kid). And seeing gloomy skies can mean a sudden dive of the mood (just the hormones, I explain to myself) – but it also means no need to run out, but a chance to open my favorite fashion blog, or just any blog, to find that cardigan and socks, and the cookies hidden somewhere in the kitchen.
I know that in some weeks I will regret this enthusiasm. When the autumn sets in for real, with winds and rains, with gloomy skies and wet shoes – I will pronounce some f-words and wish it were all summer again. But so far, I want to embrace autumn like my sister.
Where to find summer in the city? There are parks and botanical gardens, there are promenades by the sea and walks along the river. Some cities have beaches, some have lakes. Oslo is lucky to have both: lakes, beaches and the waterfront by the fjord. But I want to share with you my secret place, the hidden jewel of this city – kolonihage, i.e. colonial garden.
There are several of them around Oslo, well hidden and not visited by others than their users. I have discovered two and am totally swept by this idea. One kolonihage lies not far from my home and this spring I went there on the photo hunt. It was during the long weekend in late May when many left the city, and so it was quite and peaceful. The weather was warm and friendly, and made it perfect for tranquil walks around the gardens. Join me on this tour of early summer idyll!
In my music library on Spotify I find a new folder – “Your summer rewind” (I guess, Spotify creates it by himself – from the songs I listened to last summer. Hello, machine intelligence!). I like to start it when I am working (cleaning) at home. You never know what comes next in that mix. A chill kizomba song, hot Latin hits from last summer, Russian rock from year 2000, some Balcan beat (who listens to it? I share the account with my man – must be his workings. But Balcan beat, really? :))
A fun fact about me: when I was 20, I had a dream of working on the radio. I even got through some competition (sending a cassette with my voice to one popular fm station) and spent an hour on air as “a DJ” (I was just talking, the songs were played by the operator). I didn’t get the job in the end. But it was a fun experience.
I have never worked on the radio since (though my friends call me “a radio” cuz I talk that much), so I use my blog to channel some of that energy :)) A lover of top charts as I am (I loved listening to them on Saturday morning back then), I will make now my own hit parade of this summer. Not of songs, however – but of all my favorite things this season (any radio lovers here, btw? Raise your hand!)
Scandinavian summer is the best. When it happens. And it happens. This year we have experienced a natural miracle: three weeks of summer in a row! In May. Like never before. It never happens in May. It very seldom happens during the summer too. When the temps go up to 30 degrees – and stay there. When evenings are so warm that you don’t need a jacket. Some say, it’s the global warming, some say, it is the direct wind from Sahara, blowing between the low and the high pressure (can it reach all the way up to the North?). It’s unbelievable, but it’s true. While the South of Europe is cold and rainy – Norway, for once, is enjoying the real summer!
Scandinavian summer is the best because it is never too hot. Only a bit too warm at night because the houses are built for winter, not for summer, no one has AC and the fans get sold out with the speed of light these days. Even though it is burning in the sun, the shadow is always cool and the wind is refreshing. This is the best version of summer I ever know! If it would last for three months, like it does in other places, who would travel to the South? To the full airports, taxis, hotels, packed up beaches. Who? Usually we have to go because we need sunshine. As it is said here: “I love Norwegian summer. It is the best day of the year”. That’s the real reason why we travel. One day is just not enough 🙂 But if it would last – the rest of the world would come to us in summer! 🙂
The spring in Norway seems to be the most unpredictable of seasons. One day you wear a winter jacket, the next day you sit in the park with only a bikini on. So it looks like both people and nature try to make the most of it and catch every opportunity. For people – to enjoy life, for nature – to bloom. It is unbelievable how much comes up in such a short time. Wasn’t it all white and cold here just a couple of months ago, lasting like forever? And now everything that can bloom – blooms. The nature seems to be in a hurry like it knows that the season is short 🙂
In spring we all become botanists and a huge interest for nature wakes up in everyone owning a mobile camera. People stream to the parks and gardens, take the photos of cherry trees in blossom and tulips, either available in fields or modest patches. My favorite place to observe the season changes is the botanical garden of Oslo. However, it is not only I who remembers it these days. On a nice sunny day there are crowds wanting to take a pic of that alley with white and pink blossoming trees. I came on a Sunday evening and there were still enthusiasts waiting in line to take a photo. So I stayed in a shade and took photos of some shy blue flowers. Why, they deserve admiration too. Will you join me on my natural explorer walk through the garden?