Expat life

Ice (c)age

What can you do with ice? Drink it in a cocktail, smash it with a hammer, make fruit slushies, add it to a beauty routine, put it on the skin after an injury…walk on it! This is what Norwegians do. We, mortals, slip on it, sometimes fall and things end up differently than we have imagined.

In Norway, streets and roads might get frosty as early as November. I haven’t seen this phenomenon anywhere else I used to live. Frost is just a gentle introduction to what comes after a snowfall: ice. 

Norwegians love ice so much that they can’t imagine their lives without it and make sure to keep it around during the entire winter season. All roads and streets lead to ice. Of course, the snow is cleared. However, don’t be tricked. The Norwegian method to clear snow off the streets is an ingenious act of care and empathy for the poor pedestrians who are not used to using their feet as a sleigh. Machines remove the snow layer partially and it quickly becomes an ice rink. 

Imagine a dark, cozy afternoon. It has snowed, and ice is omnipresent thanks to the extraordinary way Norwegians remove snow in the winter. Everything looks peaceful except you. How to walk from one side of the street to the other and still remain on your feet? Your palms sweat and your mind races. It seems so easy when you see them walk on the ice with confident postures and big steps.

When I experienced Norwegian icy streets for the first time, I tried to:

  • Stay home and avoid the evil outside
  • Hold someone’s hand or arm when walking on ice
  • Walk like a penguin
  • Wear crampons for glaciers


I am happy to report that this winter season only the penguin walk and the crampons are part of my walking routine. A friend of mine loves teasing me about the latter: old women in Norway wear crampons on the ice. Fine, let me be an old woman with intact bones.



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