Norway, somewhat irritatingly, seems to be in the zeitgeist. This week Oslo features in The Week as one of the five European cities worth a visit, and Conde Nast Traveller has an article about the country as if written by a born-again Scandinaviologist. Here is what he writes about Tjome. Ours is one of the "cute cottages" in the hills he refers to here:
On June 23—Midsummer's eve—Laura and I decided to make like the locals and see some of the countryside. We rented a car, headed for the highway, joined a long line of Volvo and Opel station wagons with mountain bikes strapped to their roofs, and drove through no fewer than nine tunnels. We were headed south, to a farm called Engø Gård, near Queen Sonja's cottage on the island of Tjøme, where she used to frolic in the hay as a child.
These days it's not a farm anymore. It was converted into a luxurious resort in the mid-1980s. The barn is still standing, only it's a restaurant now. We ate dinner in the hayloft, under notched ash beams set in place in 1905. The chef, Per Hallundbæk, is Danish. Fifteen years ago, it would have been unthinkable for a chef to seek his fortune in Norway. But if you go to any decent Norwegian restaurant today, there's a good chance your waiter will be from Sweden or even France.
After dinner, Per took us for a cruise around the archipelago so we could see the bonfires burning on the pink granite shoreline, and we admired the cute cottages perched in the hills above. They weren't quite huts, but neither were they McMansions. We made our way farther out toward the open water of the fjord and at one point passed a barren stretch fittingly called "the end of the world." But then the boat began to bounce over big, mean waves, and Per turned back for the friendlier waters of the archipelago.
(c) Mark Schatzker, Conde Nast Traveller, June 2007
Sunset over Tjome, June.