After weeks of winter hibernation (aka lots of traveling and two exams, among other things), it's time to look into my quiet blog again. ;)
Christmas - my favorite time of year - is over, no matter how I'd like to prolong it. Despite the sad news just before the holidays, we had a lovely Christmas and New Year's. I was so glad that my boyfriend was not working on Christmas Eve this year, and was able to join us for three days. He had to be back to work much too soon, however, and I stayed at my parents' for a little longer while he flew back to Copenhagen after the Second Christmas Day.
I also spent New Year's at home with my parents this year, with was really nice. The longer I live abroad, the more I appreciate every moment spent with my family.
Soon after New Year's, my sister's family arrived. With a hungry toddler in the house, the gingerbread house was soon just a memory.
This winter has been exceptionally snowy in most of Scandinavia, and we seem to be getting more snow every day. Just before Christmas Eve, the Danish island of Bornholm
got snowed under, and thousands of people got trapped in their homes or temporary shelters in the middle of their holiday plans. The snow was generally about 1.5 meters (5 ft) deep, but reached a depth of 6 meters (20 ft) or more in some places. I believe this Christmas was an unforgettable adventure to some, but ruined the plans for others wishing to reach their family or travel somewhere for the holidays.
Our snow situation is nothing compared to that on Bornholm - and Sweden and Finland are generally much better equipped to clear snow than Denmark - but I still haven't seen this much snow since my childhood. If you step out of a cleared road or path, you instantly sink up to your thighs. Snow shoes would be a fun thing to have right now! Luckily my parents have a neighbor who has professional snow removal equipment and does all the work for them and other neighbors, so only minor shoveling by hand is ever required.
The lake has also frozen over. Many years, the waters have remained open through Christmas and New Year and the ice has not been strong enough to walk on all winter. This year, we were able to safely walk across the lake on Christmas Day.
A lone rabbit had used the same shortcut...
The temperatures have been excruciatingly cold and down to -30 C (-22 F) some days - and down to -23 C (-10 F) in Denmark, which is the coldest in 30 years - but on warmer days, it has been fun to walk in the snowy forest admiring the magic beauty of winter.
Is it just me, or does the light in these pictures already look like spring?
The polar night has just ended in Lapland - and by two days early in Greenland, which is thought to be because of the accelerated melting of polar ice - and even here in the South, you can feel the days getting longer. Although I am a fall person and love the Christmas season, I can't wait for the bright spring days. :) Some years, I have found the first flowers (Winter aconites) in Copenhagen in February, which always feels special.
I still have one goal for this winter though: cross country skiing. With all this snow, it's difficult to find good excuses. My dad is an avid skier and my very first memory ever is of sitting in a baby carrier on his back, when my parents were skiing one winter. I must have been just under two years old. I got my first ski set on my second Christmas, and grew up playing in the snow - but because of the lack of snow in Denmark, I haven't skied for several years. We'll see... maybe this winter. ;)
I hope you are all enjoying the winter, whether you have snow or not. :)