Saturday, June 22, 2013

The island of Gressholmen

This past Tuesday was another warm summer day in Oslo; blue skies with some clouds, even rather hazy toward the early evening. Perfect boating weather. My husband and I ended up out on the Oslo fjord for a few hours, first sailing past Tjuvholmen and Aker Brygge, then Rådhusplassen, and then around the island of Hovedøya where we sometimes end up if we’re in the mood for a really good seafood dinner. But this time we had taken dinner with us to eat on the boat—shrimp, a loaf of bread, and mayonnaise. We ended up docking at the guest marina on the small island of Gressholmen. It didn’t take the ducks and geese very long to discover that we had bread on the boat; they swam up to the boat to get some handouts shortly after we docked.

Gressholmen is a nature reserve with many types of wild flowers and plants; up until 2007 it was also home to thousands of rabbits, but they were unfortunately done away with so as to preserve the natural vegetation. The reason given for killing the rabbits was that they decimated the vegetation. I’m not sure this was the only reason, but who can argue with the nameless authorities and bureaucrats who make these decisions? The rabbits weren’t hurting anyone; in fact, they were one of the main attractions of the island. Cute, and tame enough so that they would hop right up to you as you walked along the island’s many narrow dirt paths. That happened to us any number of times. These days the island feels rather empty without them.

I took a lot of photos that evening, as the lighting and the weather were perfect. Some are of the island’s flower and plant life, some of the bird life, and one photo is of the summer restaurant, Gressholmen Kro (, that we frequented much more often during the 1990s. It’s possible to get dinner here; we drank our after-dinner coffee here that evening, walking up from the boat to the kro and along the way stopping to look at the many wildflowers. And then back to the boat to greet more of the ever-present bird life.

Geese near the boat

Dirt path on the way to the restaurant, where we would often meet the rabbits when they were still alive
Wild rose bush

Wild rose

View of Oslo from Gressholmen

Wild roses

A twig that looked like a snake

Gressholmen Kro

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