Seven indoor activities for when it gets cold and dark outside.

COLD AND DARK. Winter means darkness, especially in Norway. But there are still heaps of things to do with your time when you can't go outside anymore. ILLUSTRATION PHOTO: INA ROMSLO RØNNING 

The days are getting shorter and for many of the internationals, Scandinavian winters are something new. So what to do when there is no more light to do any outdoor activities? Following is a list with ideas on how to spend your time in the next months.

  1. Reading

Is there anything more cozy than sitting in bed with a cup of tea and a good book? Norwegian people are known for spending winter days in their cabins while reading a good book. Maybe that’s why so many successful crime novels are written by Scandinavian authors. Something you should definitely read is the new crime of the successful Jo Nesbø. ‘The thirst’ deals with a serial killer who finds his victims on Tinder. 


  1. Crocheting

Are you looking for a Christmas gift for a young family member, or do you secretly wish to have a stuffed animal again? Lea Müller, a psychologist student, started crocheting when she came to Bergen

– As it is getting dark and I can’t go hiking anymore, I thought of an alternative thing to do and found this idea on pinterest. I like that you can do it while sitting with your friends. There is a wool-store in Sletten Center where you can buy the stuff you need. I haven’t done anything like this before but it is really easy to learn when you watch a few youtube videos about the techniques, she says. 

SELF MADE. Lea (21) with her first self made stuffed animals. PHOTO: AMELIE ENDERS

  1. TED-talks

If you don’t feel like being active, why don’t you relax in bed with a TED talk which not only informs, but also entertains you? The two listed underneath might be especially interesting for exchange students.

  • Who should be an Erasmus student (Julia Fernandez Diaz)
  • Go international: How studying abroad can change your life (Alexander Au)
  1. Volunteer

There is nothing more fulfilling than to use your spare time to help other people. Apart from that, it is a good way to get to know Norwegians and their culture. One way to volunteer is to support the community organisation Vitalitetssenteret Frivilligsentral (Vitality Volunteer Center). They coordinate a group of people doing volunteer work of different types.

  1.      Sports

If you want to keep up with the Norwegians who run up the mountains as they’ve never done anything else, think of getting a membership card for the Sammen gyms. It only costs half of the price now because the semester is halfway through.

  1. Make a real Norwegian souvenir 

Sophia Thevissen (23), who was an exchange student in Bergen two years ago, got an idea for a souvenir. She thought of what kind of souvenir she could bring home which is something truly Norwegian. Living at Fantoft, it’s not far from the Fjord so she decided to take a few walks down there with a water bottle to fill up some fjord water. Back at her place, she cooked the water and collected the salt which stays at the bottom of the pot in the process of cooking. She filled the salt up in little glasses and a real Norwegian salt was made.

UNIQUE IDEA. Sophia (23) had the idea for a real original souvenir. PHOTO: PRIVATE

  1. Cooking a typical Norwegian recipe — Lapskaus

When it’s getting cold outside, the best thing to make is a warm, delicious soup. Lapskaus is a typical Norwegian dish with vegetables and meat.

Beef and Vegetable Stew (Brun Lapskaus)

Serves 4

   2 tablespoons of butter

   2 tablespoons of oil

   1 ¾ pounds (800 g) beef stewing meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2 ½ cm) cubes

   3 cups (720 ml) beef stock

   1 large onion

   1 ½ cups (150 g) celery root or parsnip, peeled

   2 large carrots, peeled

   2 cups (400 g) potatoes, peeled

   1 large leak, rinsed

   Parsley, to garnish

1) Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add the beef and brown on each side, you may need to brown the beef in batches. Place the beef in a large pot and add the stock. Bring to a boil then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

2) Chop all the vegetables into ½ — inch (1 ½ cm) pieces, except the leeks which should be sliced thinly. Add the vegetables to the pot and return to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Don’t be tempted to add more liquid as the vegetables will cook down, resulting in a somewhat-thick stew.

3) Serve warm with flatbread or bread and garnish with chopped parsley.

 Recipe by Nevada Berg from North Wild Kitchen   

Hopefully, the ideas gave you some inspiration how to spend the dark days and enjoy this season as much as the last one.