On Friday morning I woke up before dawn and took some pictures in the blue light of the morning. I was the first one up and I enjoyed the piece and quiet of the cabin until Carlos and then Erik woke up. As usual Olga and Giuseppe were the last ones to get out of bed.

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This day was to be the only sunny day of our holidays but also the coldest one. The views were breathtakingly beautiful but one could not stand still for too long, for fear of turning into ice. Taking pictures felt like a sure way to lose ones fingers. We had not been skiing that long before we all met up and agreed a hot chocolate break was in order. By that time my fingers were aching and I could no longer feel my toes.

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After the break we continued skiing but my fingers immediately began hurting again. Giuseppe and I did some nice blue slopes while the others moved on to red ones. Finally, towards the end of the afternoon, we agreed to try a red slope. As we sat in the chairlift looking down on what we feared was the slope, I felt a sinking feeling. I was not ready! But off we went, and I sped down the slope, unable to control my speed, while images of falling and tumbling down the slope filled my mind. I was terrified! As a beginner Giuseppe had practiced his breaking somewhat more, and while the others did a second round I stood downstairs waiting for him to make it down. I was too cold to ski anymore and certainly did not have the nerves to do that slope again. Giuseppe was just the tiniest speck on the whiteness of the snow, but while other specks moved fast and vertically, he moved slowly and horizontally, and once in a while all that could be seen were two skis sticking out of the snow. What I learned about myself is that I enjoy the speed of skiing, but only when falling would not mean possible death.

When everybody had made it down we headed to the supermarket where we got ingredients for that night’s barbecue. Neither the time in the shop nor the car ride back to the cabin managed to warm me up, and as I entered the cabin I was completely frozen and my teeth were chattering. I had no other wish than to take a warm shower. The shower was of some help but I was still cold until Erik handed me a cup of glögg (Nordic mulled wine) with a dash of rum. I sat in the sofa, my hands around the warm cup, taking small sips of the sweet drink and felt my body relaxing. After warming ourselves we prepared meat and vegetables, which we brought out to “The German,” where we sat on reindeer skins barbecuing skewers with reindeer, beef, chicken, sausages (ordinary and cheese-filled), red pepper, corn on the cob and mushrooms. As we were sitting there a bluish light approached on the road below. It turned out to be a dog-sled speeding past, and the light came from the torch that the driver was holding. As the apparition disappeared down the road we were all stunned. It does not get much more Norwegian than that, we all agreed.

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That night when I went to bed (earlier than the rest, as usual) I realised all this enjoyment of winter had taken its toll. I was shivering and coughing as I curled up trying to warm up under the blankets. But it is not everyday you get to look at the beautiful Norwegian mountains bathed in sun and barbecue in -16°C (3.2°F). It was definitely worth it!

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