When we finally arrived at our mountainside hut in Nesbjörn, two hours north of the Norwegian capital Oslo – plus, for the last few kilometers, we needed to follow snow-covered clouds Steep road climbs weaving through fir forests – the quaint town is still alive and well. Athletes swagger into unpretentious local restaurants for dinner in their snowsuits after a day of activity at the nearby Nesfjellet ski resort. Smiling girls held hands as they hopped into the town’s main market, each returning with their own bag.
We left the vibrant city life of Oslo, filled with jaw-dropping contemporary architecture and urban development, and arrived in a different kind of Norway. Surrounded by tree-covered mountains and divided by the River Hallingdalselva, Nesbyen is situated in the Hallingdal valley in south-central Norway. The town takes its name from Old Norse and throughout history the area has been known for its agriculture and forestry. Today’s Nesbjörn, while gleaming with modern design and sustainable practices – as evidenced by the government’s program Innovation Norway’s recent Sustainable Destination Badge – does not stray too far from the ethos of yesteryear, maintaining a Appreciation for a slow lifestyle and deep connection
Over the next four days we wandered the Hallingdal Valley with two main purposes: to find downhill skiing adventure and Drinking homemade hot cocoa in a log cabin at home. I’m traveling with a group of my husband Joshua and our 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son these days – I’ve prepared them for the trip to stand in front of a galloping Scandinavian moose partner. However, during our adventures, as we lit the cabin’s wood-burning fireplace, a third theme somehow emerged: kos, Norwegian coziness and comfort concept.
than Danish concepts hygge, kos brings A warm feeling that can be sparked by the simple things in life – like family and friends sharing a heartfelt laughter, relaxing with a sip of coffee, or a leisurely hike up a mountain. It’s a feeling accentuated by the pure bliss of living in the moment. As my Norwegian friend Christian described: “Kos was like giving a hug.”
Hallingdale Valley. Photo: Getty Images