Into a Norwegian Artist’s Retreat

Here was an artist who did the Charleston jig, all in a bid to tell us how her Pointer got his name. The Pointer is a dog, a hunting hound that gets its name from its inclination to point its muzzle towards the game. Now imagine if you will, this beloved mistress of Charleston the Pointer, a grown-up woman lifting her chin up, arms pointed into the air as if she was about to release an invisible arrow off an equally invisible bow.

On this note of welcome into her home, we knew that we had landed a prize of sorts here — Els and her beloved Pointer, Charleston. I don’t know how well Charleston does the Charleston but he has a name to live up to. He also has a mistress who is quite capable of making him dance.

Now we had Els’ cottage to ourselves for four days. That red cottage with Homlagarden painted on its entrance, as you see in the lead photo, is perched strategically by the fjords of western Norway in a village called Norheimsund.

This was our big Norwegian holiday after our weekend stint in Stavanger when we had hiked our way to Pulpit Rock. My aim was to get our behinds to Trolltunga and sit on the troll’s tongue, legs dangling above the fjords. But that was not to be because just as in Stavanger we struck lucky with the weather even though the forecast had promised thunder and showers, our second Norwegian break was made up of enough mist and clouds, drizzle and downpour to make our hiking shoes hang their heads in shame.

What is life if our best-laid plans are not to be laid aside?

We reached Bergen on a fine day in August last year. Fleecy armies of clouds invaded bright blue skies, and when we got out of the airport to be greeted by this sight, we were injected with fair reserves of delight, natch. Could there be a better natural elixir than blue skies and billowing clouds on any given day?

Soon, in a rented hatchback, we were puttering down tunnels that ruptured lush hills for miles and miles, passed herds of sheep serenely trotting down roads, possibly out for their morning stroll. You will see in this post that the Norwegian sheep exude remarkable self-confidence unlike their English counterparts. We left behind the occasional church nestled in valleys along with a roll-call of black, red and yellow cottages. Some perched upon hills, others tucked in surreptitiously alongside placid lakes.

It made me rather musical. To trill out ‘My Day in the Hills’ ala Julie Andrews and trill I did till Adi asked me to switch to the phone playlist please. There was some harumphing on my part, but how difficult it is to hold on to a sulk in the face of such pristine charm, the lakes glowing emerald in the shadow of the hills and putting me in mind of a mysterious mermaid about to emerge from the waters.

This is how we found ourselves in Norheimsund, bleary-eyed after our early morning flight, but then there was that view of the fjord from our cottage. It drove our cares away in the batting of the eyelid.

We were in a quintessential Norwegian cottage on an organic farm. Chubby hen and monstrously plump turkeys strutted around in a red coop of their own, mini tractors stood like picture-perfect props with the blue hues of the fjord and hills merging into the background, patches of snow gleaming in the distance upon the hills. Inside our red cottage, we found the entrance decorated by Els’ paintings and a bay windows that opened up to the fjords. The ground level of this cottage housed her workshop and a carpentry shop.

Warm wooden interiors, a well-kitted kitchen with all manners of pots and pans that would make a gourmet cook smile like a shark, windows that looked out into the fjords and made us sigh. This was the idyllic start to a Norwegian fjord-hopping holiday, along with the presence of Els, Charleston and his mother, Kaisa.

Hordaland county



Sheep out on a morning stroll






Entering Norheimsund


Els’ farm and cottage


Inside our cottage
Charleston and Els
Undivided adoration 

2016-08-12 12.45.36.jpg


The view we woke up to every morning from the bed

To Book the Cottage: Get onto Airbnb and key in Hordaland and Els. However, Els does not always let out her cottage (because it is not quite commercial), so essentially you could take a chance.

How to Get There: Bag tickets for as less as £39 on BA and Norwegian Airlines to Bergen. From the airport, it is best to hire a car for your stay because it is easier and economic to drive around the county of Hordaland.




Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

56 thoughts on “Into a Norwegian Artist’s Retreat

  1. I thought the introduction was very hilarious, and when I got to the end and saw the pictures I couldn’t help chuckling ?
    Your pictures reflect an unseen beauty for myself, which I tend to visit warmer weathers. Hope the cottage was as confortable as it looks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cottage was a dream. I shall put up more in the days to come by. Thank you, Virginia, Els was hilarious herself. A post about her cottage and her personality had to be the real picture. I love warm weather a bit actually (I am from India so you can imagine my shying away from too warm places;)) but I have a weakness for Norway among the Scandinavian countries.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Looking forward to those pictures, half curious as an architect too! Are you sure you are from India after living “in the North?” ? I will definitely ask you for some tips when I make up my Spanish mind about the weather in Scandinavia!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My biggest regret (I exaggerate but it is a large regret) is turning down the opportunity to spend the summer on a Norwegian farm when I was in my late teens. Your gorgeous pictures and great script remind me and cajole me into thinking that I really must make the time to go …. and that is a great recommend for Els and Charlston’s cottage 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thanks, Osyth. Your comment makes me think I should send the link to her. It shall not be a regret however when you do go and bank yourself on a farm by a fjord. The teenager in you can live it up in style and I think Els and you might get on like a house on fire xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. More haste, less speed – apologies, I’m being an airhead (I specialised in this art from a young age) …. I re-read your comment and YES you should send the link to Els …. she would love it, I am certain. It is, as ever written with such warmth and humour and gives a lovely picture of her as well as her place. Go to it and ignore my previous tosh, please! Xx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That lake is stunning!! It’s so gorgeous, in a small way it reminds me of NZ, with all the green and blue. But we don’t have all those charming village aesthetics! At least, not the places I’ve visited. That cottage gets the best views, it must have been an amazing stay 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah the fjord on which Els’ house is gorgeous. The views just soothe the soul. Maybe you have a point about the charming villages alongside (you would know) but the photographs I have seen of NZ show great natural beauty. Someday I hope to explore its gorgeousness xx

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Funny you mention NZ, @ LifeofAngela! The countries are very similar. I think you can only tell the difference by the tops of the mountains and the cottages!


  4. Wow. Stunning and breathtaking pics. It’s so green green everywhere. You must have really enjoyed your stay and time over there. Keep travelling and Have fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] you remember I had mentioned in my last post about the Norwegian sheep. I sat near them and wondered if the sheep would scuttle like the […]


  6. […] very day that we reached Els’ cottage in Norheimsund, we drove into the county of Sogn og Fjordane. The Gullible Two got closer and […]


      1. Els says, don’t dismiss it in winter too. It apparently is gorgeous and not as cold as you think it might be. This was August when we were there and it gets rainy yet you can reap the rewards even on grim days. As you shall soon see 😀 xx

        Liked by 1 person

  7. […] Add a lifetime’s supply of books, coffee, tea, husband, hikes and two dogs. Now did I just describe Els’ life? […]


  8. Norheimsund is a magical place and your photos attest to its beauty. I think you found the perfect place to stay. Such a gem! I can imagine waking up to that view; one would never tire of seeing it. It may sound trite, but all the stress just melts away, even when viewing a photo of that area! Wish I could return one day. Els farm would be a first choice to stay.


      1. Thanks for the instagram link. I will look her up. I had heard about Rosemaling but fell in love with in on my first trip to Norway. After that, I wanted to paint it myself, although there weren’t any teachers in Australia, so I attempted to teach it myself and with a few friends. As luck would have it, I contacted an artist I had met in Norway and he was keen to visit Australia and teach. I organized a teaching tour for him and have never looked back. There is some information on this post but I do need to update a lot of them _ another project for retirement!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for the link, Amanda. Fascinating how passion can take you places. And a symbiotic relationship emerged here, with the Norwegian visiting you in Australia and you learning from him. Hats off to you for working on learning a foreign art. x


      3. Thank you for saying so, Arundhati. I think you are correct. Passion can take you places if you are open to it. I was, and it paid off. It was also a lot of fun. Is travelling your passion?

        Liked by 1 person

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