The Wolf - as in, Mimi, Mari and The Wolf - is from Norway. We try to visit his home country once a year, usually during the summer and see as many relatives and friends as possible. We also try to take short trips to places outside of Oslo, and really go deep into the forests where we occasionally run into unusual cows, mosquitoes, moose, reindeer and sometimes even trolls. 

This year we started the way we usually do, in Oslo, which feels like it is booming. There is construction everywhere. More buildings, more cranes, more construction sites everywhere. A new Munch museum is in the works, and new apartment buildings and condos are going up all of the time. 

After just a few days in the big city, we made our way to Fyresdal, a small town in the Telemark region (eastern Norway) where Wolf's father is from. It's a quiet place. I think it would be the ideal retreat for a writer. Mimi's favorite part of staying in Fyresdal is the stabbur, an old storage house that was originally intended as a food storage unit but is now more like a play house. You can learn more about the stabbur in this article. 

We didn't stay in Fyresdal for long because Wolf's younger brother and family were in not-too-faraway Kragerø, another "charming gem in Telemark!"  Since it stays light for 16 -17 hours everyday during the summer, we went swimming after dinner. You know, to work off all of that bread we ate...

(That's Mimi's cousin Miriam, about to jump into the fjord in Kragerø)

We didn't stay long in Kragerø, although we wished we could have. It's such a beautiful, quiet place with so many things to do outside with kids. (Read: get the kids off of their screens!) 

Just a few days after Kragerø, we headed inland, to a small mining town called Røros, for an annual family gathering. My mother-in-law's family gathers every summer in a different location, and this year it was the charming Røros. On the way there, Mimi and I rode with my sister-in-law Bente Lise, and her two daughters Rebekka and Miriam. I should have shot some video of the three girls, ages 8 to 16, singing, clapping, and snapping their fingers to their playlists. We had so much fun! 

On the way to Røros, we saw the famous chrome elk in Stor-Elvdal. We had to stop. This was Mimi's second time seeing it. My first. And it is impossible to climb but who cares? Kids try anyway...Mimi and her cousin Miriam are the two kids on the elk's hind legs. 

(The big elk (Storelgen) in Stor-Elvdal municipality is the world's largest elk-sculpture. It is situated at Bjøråa between Oslo and Trondheim by the national road 3.)

Onward. We continued our road trip and finally arrived in Røros. I forgot to take count but I think about 40 of my in-laws and their kids and grandkids were there. We toured the town, visited its church and copper mine (no longer operating) and dressed up as miners for one of our family dinners. Yes, this is an interesting gathering and family...

(The main church in Røros)(A street in the village of Røros. I think these houses are, for historical preservation purposes, not allowed to be altered and are pretty much in their original condition. They are tiny inside and the roofs are quite low.)

Mimi was pretty excited to go underground and see the inside of the mine. You can't see her here, but we our tour guide was very good. And her name was also, Mari......this is pretty much was it looked like throughout the mine...

This is a chair inside the miners' lounge where they often ate and where they also took refuge when there were explosions in the mine. As you can see, Scandinavian design was interesting back then, too...

There are many more pictures from our adventures in Norway this summer and I've put them up in our Instagram (@mimimariandthewolf) and here in the post gallery.