It sure was a treat to be in Trondheim this weekend.
On both Saturday and Sunday I took a long walk around the city, which is always lovely and friendly when the sun shines. On Saturday evening we took a trip up the hill to Steinan for a grill party thrown by our friends Ruud and Gøril, and spent the entire evening on the balcony. Of course, I woke up on Monday morning with a bright red face and neck, but that aside it was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.
On Monday, there was grey skies and rain. Lots of rain.
Welcome to the typical Norwegian summer!
Knowing when to take your summer holiday in Norway is pure guesswork: it's just as likely to be good weather as bad weather here in May, June, July, August or September.
Of course, most Norwegians take the month of July off. Yes, you read that correctly. The month!
The great July shutdown
The phenomenon reminds me of factory shutdowns from my days with Jaguar and Land Rover, where the entire production line would shut down and all workers had to take their leave at the same time. Except it's not a factory, it's an entire country!
During July, buses drop in frequency and capacity, shops, bars and restaurants and even tourist attractions cut their opening hours, and your chances of getting a response from any public service are virtually nil. The impact is more visible in a student city like Trondheim, where thousands of students disappear from the city streets leaving a ghost town feel, even on the weekends.
Almost all Norwegians receive five weeks vacation entitlement, but a lesser-known law is that three of those weeks can be taken consecutively during the summer period. Most people living in Norway exercise that right, and most of those choose July.
As I employ myself, my right to holiday is of course entirely up to me, my workload and my cash flow. I've started to take several working holidays during the year, which allows me to take little trips here and there without sacrificing too much client work and still allowing me to take one “proper” holiday. Gerry saves most of his entitlement to visit Mexico in December, so taking 3-4 weeks off in July isn't really feasible for either of us.
We took our main holiday this year in June (almost two weeks in Barcelona) and will be taking a week in August (two weeks in my case): a week in England followed by my brother visiting Trondheim for a week.
All this means we'll be here in the ghost town throughout July. I only have a few pieces of client work to complete, so I'll have some spare time.
So what to do?
Day Trips in July
Throughout July, I plan to take one day a week off to explore Trondheim a little more, or take some quick day trips out of town. I have a few things in mind such as finally ticking the Ringve Music Museum, revisiting Røros and taking some time to explore some more of the excellent hiking routes in and around Trondheim.
Perhaps I might hop across the border into Sweden, finally make it out to the islands of Hitra and Frøya, or further south to the Dovre mountains. Who knows!
It'll also be a great reason to start regular blogging again.
So, watch this space…