Updated: Jun 27
It's true that winter is a well loved season in the Nordic region. Many people ski, ice skate and take part in countless winter sports, all that require being outdoors in every weather. Having said that, after months of cold and snow, we are all eagerly anticipating the start of spring and the green leaves and flowers that accompany it.
The moment we have a bit of sun and blue sky, seemingly the whole of Norway is out in it, topping up their vitamin D levels and enjoying the sudden explosion of spring flowers and green shoots on the trees.
But we can all live a little like Norwegians and make the most of each passing season. Spring is no exception to the rule. With it's gentle transition from winter it's a lovely season to stop and enjoy.
How to Enjoy Spring Like You Are Nordic:
Grab those last few days of winter. That may sound contradictory, but winter won't be back for months and months. Why not try and make the most of what is left. Breathe in the crisp winter air, feel the frost beneath your feet, and really relish the warmer times to come.
Go to the "hytte" (cabin). Many Norwegians own cabins and some of those are really only accessible from the spring. There is a tradition of cabin owners heading out at Easter which is the first spring holiday we have here. Many people relish the chance to disconnect and get back to simple pleasures. You can do something similar and make the spring a time to relax a little and slow down, if only for a day or two.
Get outside at the first sign of sun. We should all be doing this for our mental health. Just a few minutes outside can lighten your mood considerably and minor worries are blown away on the light spring breezes. When you are out in nature bigger worries seem smaller and the world is a brighter more positive place.
Light a campfire (if you are permitted to do that). In Norway our campfire rules say that we can light one until the end of April so many people are making the most of those last few weeks to cook in the wild.
BBQ something. You don't need to be out in the wild to cook outside. If you have an outdoor BBQ or grill it's a great time to fire it up for the first session of the year. Nothing quite beats that smell of cooking outside to put you in the mood for the spring and summer ahead. I have even been known to dig the BBQ out of the snow (it was 10 April and BBQ season had started, in my opinion!)
Start planning the next party outside. It might surprise some people, but for all their reserve Norwegians love to party. After last years limitation we are all longing for afternoon parties that stretch into the long evenings, and easy days spent with extended family in the garden enjoying coffee and cakes.
Hike somewhere. Not every hike has to be 20 miles, but if we get away from the roads and out into the woods or fields, we really appreciate the green and spring colours that surround us. A hike is also a chance to make it a special event and take a flask of something hot, or a favourite snack and linger a bit under the open sky.
Get out in the garden. If you have a garden or a park nearby, get out in it. It doesn't have to be an expedition up the nearest mountain to really enjoy what is happening to nature right under your nose. Take a stroll in your local park, or wander around your garden and take a moment to absorb the slow and gentle signs of spring around you.
Enjoy some spring flowers. In Norway (as in most places) there are rules about what can and can't picked and for good reason. We all want to protect the rarest of our beautiful plants. But there are also flowers that are common enough to withstand being picked in moderation. For us it's the hvitveis (white wood anemone) that come up in startling profusion in April and May. They happily tolerate us picking a small bunch and for many people in southern Norway are a reminder that spring has arrived.
I hope this offers a little inspiration for the last few days of winter and the exciting anticipation of longer days and bright colours to come.
Let me know how you plan to enjoy spring wherever you are or join us in the Living a Nordic Life Facebook Group for more Nordic chat and inspiration