Into a Norwegian Artist’s Retreat

Here was an artist who did the Charleston jig. All in a bid to tell us how her Pointer got his name. The Pointer is a dog, lest you are in the dark, and a hunting hound that gets its name from its inclination to point its muzzle towards the game. Now imagine if you will this beloved mistress of Charleston, a grown-up woman imitating him, lifting her chin up and arms pointed into the air in a stance that looked like she was about to release an invisible arrow off an equally invisible bow. All of which was enacted to emphasise upon the stance of a Pointer.

That is how I knew we had landed a prize here, Els and her Pointer, Charleston. I don’t know how well Charleston does the Charleston but he has a name to live up to. And he has a mistress who is quite capable of teaching him the dance.

We had Els’ cottage to ourselves for four days. That red cottage with Homlagarden painted on its entrance, as you see in the lead photo, is stationed strategically by the fjords of western Norway in a village called Norheimsund.

This was our big Norwegian holiday after our weekend stint in Stavanger when we hiked our way to Pulpit Rock. My aim was to get our behinds to Trolltunga and sit on the troll’s tongue dangling our legs into the fjord below. But that was not to be because just as in Stavanger we struck lucky with the weather, even though the forecast was for thunder and showers, our second Norwegian break was made up of enough mist and clouds and drizzle and downpour to make our hiking shoes hang their heads in shame.

What is life if our best-laid plans are not to be, right?

We reached Bergen on a fine day in August last year, the clouds conspiring to create a fleecy white backdrop to our glee at stepping out of the airport to the sight of bright blue skies. A blue sky is such an elixir on any given day and billowing clouds are just the proverbial cherry.

Soon we were puttering down in our rented hatchback towards the cottage that was about an hour and a half away from the airport. We drove through tunnels cutting the length of incredibly lush hills, passed a herd of sheep serenely trotting down the roads and possibly out for their morning stroll – you will see in a later post that the Norwegian sheep are remarkably self-confident unlike their English counterparts, and left behind the occasional church nestled in valleys along with colourful black, red and yellow cottages dotting the landscape or tucked in beside placid lakes.

It made me rather musical. To trill out ‘My Day in the Hills’ ala Julie Andrews and trill I did till Adi asked me to switch to the phone playlist please. I harumphed and sat sulking. But it is difficult to hold on to a sulk in the face of such pristine beauty, the lakes glowing an emerald green in the shadow of those hills and putting me in mind of a mysterious mermaid about to emerge from those waters.

This is how we found ourselves in Norheimsund, bleary-eyed after our early morning flight but the view of the fjord from our cottage driving our cares away in an instant.

It was the quintessential Norwegian cottage on an organic farm where clutches of hen and plump turkeys strutted around a red coop of their own, mini tractors stood with blue hues of the fjord and hills merging into the background, patches of snow showing up in the distance and Els’ yellow cottage facing ours. Inside the red cottage, the entrance was marked by paintings by Els, the ground level housing her workshop along with a carpentry shop. Warm wooden interiors, a well-kitted kitchen with all manners of pots and pans that would make a gourmet cook smile like a shark, windows that looked out into the fjords and made us sigh. This was the perfect start to a Norwegian fjord hopping holiday. Along with the presence of Els, Charleston and his mother, Kaisa.

A typical scene in Hordaland county
Where the roads wind past hills and lakes
Morning Strolls
Colour pops up along the lake





Entering the village of Norheimsund


Els’ farm and cottage


Inside our cottage
Charleston and Els
Undivided adoration and affection
2016-08-12 12.45.36.jpg
The kind of view I could get used to
The lounge
The view we woke up to every morning from the bed

To Book the Cottage: Get onto Airbnb and type in Hordaland and Els. However Els does not always let out her cottage (because it is not quite that commercial) so book in advance.

How to Get There: Bag tickets for as less as £39 on BA and Norwegian Airlines to Bergen. From the airport, it is best to hire a car for your stay because it is easier and economic to drive around the county of Hordaland.




41 thoughts on “Into a Norwegian Artist’s Retreat

  1. I thought the introduction was very hilarious, and when I got to the end and saw the pictures I couldn’t help chuckling 😂
    Your pictures reflect an unseen beauty for myself, which I tend to visit warmer weathers. Hope the cottage was as confortable as it looks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cottage was a dream. I shall put up more in the days to come by. Thank you, Virginia, Els was hilarious herself. A post about her cottage and her personality had to be the real picture. I love warm weather a bit actually (I am from India so you can imagine my shying away from too warm places;)) but I have a weakness for Norway among the Scandinavian countries.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Looking forward to those pictures, half curious as an architect too! Are you sure you are from India after living “in the North?” 😜 I will definitely ask you for some tips when I make up my Spanish mind about the weather in Scandinavia!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My biggest regret (I exaggerate but it is a large regret) is turning down the opportunity to spend the summer on a Norwegian farm when I was in my late teens. Your gorgeous pictures and great script remind me and cajole me into thinking that I really must make the time to go …. and that is a great recommend for Els and Charlston’s cottage 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thanks, Osyth. Your comment makes me think I should send the link to her. It shall not be a regret however when you do go and bank yourself on a farm by a fjord. The teenager in you can live it up in style and I think Els and you might get on like a house on fire xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. More haste, less speed – apologies, I’m being an airhead (I specialised in this art from a young age) …. I re-read your comment and YES you should send the link to Els …. she would love it, I am certain. It is, as ever written with such warmth and humour and gives a lovely picture of her as well as her place. Go to it and ignore my previous tosh, please! Xx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That lake is stunning!! It’s so gorgeous, in a small way it reminds me of NZ, with all the green and blue. But we don’t have all those charming village aesthetics! At least, not the places I’ve visited. That cottage gets the best views, it must have been an amazing stay 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah the fjord on which Els’ house is gorgeous. The views just soothe the soul. Maybe you have a point about the charming villages alongside (you would know) but the photographs I have seen of NZ show great natural beauty. Someday I hope to explore its gorgeousness xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. Stunning and breathtaking pics. It’s so green green everywhere. You must have really enjoyed your stay and time over there. Keep travelling and Have fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Els says, don’t dismiss it in winter too. It apparently is gorgeous and not as cold as you think it might be. This was August when we were there and it gets rainy yet you can reap the rewards even on grim days. As you shall soon see 😀 xx

        Liked by 1 person

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