Sunday, August 9, 2009

Berry Picking in Estenstad

It's berry picking season in Norway, and there are more blueberries in the hills than can possibly be eaten, even if Norsemen and trolls worked together.

We took a very short drive up to Estenstad ("East place"), near NTNU's Dragvoll campus. I was shocked at how beautiful this forest area is -- so lovely and so close to home. It would be an easy bike ride to get here. We met Daniel, Evelina, and Sofia there and followed a trail up into the woods, soon coming to two lakes. Berries first, swimming later! Daniel bought a berry-picking device for us, kind of like a box with a comb on the end that you comb the blueberry bushes with and the berries pop right into the box. It's very effective and easy to amass large quantities of berries quickly. We also found lots of raspberries. After filling our berry buckets, we set up base next to the second lake, where there were almost no other people.

We brought waffles and whipped cream, and made ourselves a lovely meal of berry waffles. The kids went swimming -- the third time swimming in as many days. This was the warmest water yet, and the setting was fantastic. Maggie and Peter swam clear across the lake -- very brave! Peter ran back on the trail, but Maggie swam back again. The picture above is her victory pose upon her return. They've become good swimmers!

Afterwards, we hiked around the lake, finding big patches of berries and plenty of mushrooms. How I wish I knew more about mushrooms! There were two kinds of edible mushrooms we knew for sure were safe, and we found plenty of those. We also found plenty of the highly poisonous red-with-white-spots mushrooms (Smurf mushrooms!) that we didn't touch.

In the evening, we helped a teacher from ThIS move into his house, and collapsed in bed early. An exhilirating and exhausting weekend!

If you can't pick 'em, shoot 'em. Here's some mushrooms we didn't eat:

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