I could hardly believe my eyes as the bus pulled into Kleivstua Hotell to reveal pine trees dusted in white, branches with icy fingers and a blanket of fresh snow across the quiet, still wilderness.
I had already been impressed by the picturesque 1 hour bus journey from Oslo, which took us along mountain edges overlooking the wide Tyrifjorden (fjord) as the pink dusk reflected off the ice. We were staying at the luxurious Kleivstua Hotell for a wedding of some dear friends and I think most of us were just as excited by pristine surrounds as we were for the approaching nuptials.
After settling into our cozy cabins and frolicking in the snow (a.k.a having snow ball fights that would challenge even the most obnoxious teens) the wedding guests met for a surprise outing organised by the bride and groom. As we gathered, the rhythmic ding of bells could be heard echoing through the snowy hills, announcing a procession of horse-drawn sleighs and revealing the delightful evening activity ahead. Within minutes we were covered in fur blankets and gliding under a bright full moon through the glistening pine forest, where time seemed to cease.
Half way into the sleigh ride we stopped, deep in a pine forest and shivering from the –8°C conditions, to be served warm berry drinks, huddle around fires that seemed to magically appear in the snow, and send lanterns into the winter night.
The grey morning that followed brought a fresh layer of snow in which to play. With a hardy breakfast of boiled eggs, salmon and tea to keep us warm, the group ventured out to the toboggan slopes. There we sank knee-deep in snow, ploughed into banks of powder, made snow angels and stared dreamy-eyed at the steadily falling snowflakes. What an amazing winter wonderland and awesome place for my first snow-land experience.
P.S> As expected, the wedding was majestic and romantic as the snow fell outside and the guests wooed with the warm words inside. A big thank you to the bride and groom and their families (you know who you are) for treating us to such an amazing winter experience and for sharing your special day. I wish you all the happiness and love.