Prime minister plans holiday

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Norway’s jet-setting prime minister was flying down to Rio on Wednesday, for more climate talks with other world leaders, but after that the pace of official duties may slacken off a bit, even for him. Jens Stoltenberg disclosed some holiday plans this week, when meeting reporters for a traditional pre-summer press conference. 

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was looking forward to head out hiking again this summer in the Norwegian mountains. PHOTO: Statsministerenskontor

It was held in the garden adjacent to the official government residence and his own home, in unusually brilliant, sunny weather. Unusual, because it’s otherwise been unseasonably cold and mostly dark and raining in Oslo lately. Tuesday’s respite put everyone in a summery mood amidst blooming lilac bushes.

“I’m going to have some holiday by the sea, and then I’ll head up to the mountains,” Stoltenberg told, among others, newspaper Dagsavisen. Stoltenberg’s family has long had a holiday hytte (cottage) on an island at Hvaler, off the coast of Fredrikstad, about a 90-minute drive south of Oslo.

“Holiday at the hytte mostly involves getting up in the morning, making breakfast, eating breakfast and cleaning up after breakfast,” Stoltenberg said.

Asked when he gets up on a summer holiday morning, Stoltenberg said “it can vary. It was very late before, but now it’s a bit earlier because I wake up earlier regardless.”

Asked if that’s because he’s getting older, the 53-year-old prime minister said “yeah, I’m beginning to get old. I get up earlier now. But I can also lie in bed and read a book.”

Before heading off on holiday, Stoltenberg still had lots of work to do, but also helped himself to some strawberries while meeting reporters in his garden on Tuesday. PHOTO: Statsministerenskontor

He said his children have grown up and moved out of the house “but they tend to pop up at the hytte. It’s just not clear when or if they’ll come. It’s wonderful with holiday, and the kids generally come. And there’s also good food.”

Stoltenberg claimed he’s “pretty good” at preparing fish himself and likes cooking. But he’s also a big fan of raw salmon.

Last year’s summer holidays were brutally interrupted by the terrorist attacks in Oslo on July 22, and it’s been an extremely difficult year ever since. Stoltenberg’s Labour Party was the main target of the terrorist, his offices were blown up, mourning continues over the 77 lives lost and then there was the ongoing business of running the country in addition to dealing with the seemingly endless aftermath of the tragedy. If anyone needs a holiday, it’s Stoltenberg. This month alone has been a marathon, with a series of strikes, visits by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, British Prime Minister David Cameron, all the Nordic prime ministers and the ending of parliament.

After some holiday time at his hytte by the sea, Stoltenberg said he planned to go hiking in the mountains. “I have to hike a bit in the mountains,” he said. “That’s what I tend to do during holidays, I really thrive on that.” So do many other Norwegians, who crave the quiet, fresh air and, if the weather is good, spectacular views as they get some exercise.

While wishing other Norwegians “god sommer” (happy summer), Stoltenberg then put his summer dreams aside and proceeded to warn about the effects of the European debt crisis on Norway. It was suddenly back to business.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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