I was with my son in Arendal last weekend for the Poker Run.
When the dust settled on the event, we had Sunday off and had thought to take the ferry to Hisøy. But lo and behold that ferry does not run on Sundays!
So Philip, determined to get his ferry ride (he had earned it), found a trip to Merdø. We knew nothing about Merdø and when you Google it, nothing super exciting really comes up (maybe the locals want to keep it a local secret).
It´s that feeling, be it on your own boat or on the ferry, of leaving land and being on the water. You immediately feel better, lighter. I was frankly a bit tired and old man crabby after two hard days in Arendal and was skeptical to the trip since I knew nothing in advance — but within minutes of leaving shore, I knew Philip had guided us in the right direction.
We passed by Arendal´s Seilforening on the way, accessible only by boat. See here:
The coastline was filled with red and white cottages — classic sørlandet style all along the way.
And when the ferry came into Merdø harbour to stop and let us out, I half expected Ernest Hemingway himself to be fishing off the pier and proclaim “I´ve ditched Key West for Merdø.” If I knew Norwegian literature better, I would make a Norwegian author reference but …
We hopped off and began our walk. To the left, a cafe would greet us in about 300 meters. To the right, a long white public beach would greet us in about 500 meters. Decisions, decisions. I suggested the cafe because a coffee was long overdue.
What greeted us was a delightful open air cafe with a large field outside, a converted farm really — with families on picnic blankets and couples hunched over beers and chewing on thin crust pizzas. We opted for ice cream. Just a few steps away was a pier and a relatively new Ibiza moored, bobbing calmly in the late afternoon breeze, hardly pulling on the ropes.
After we finished we headed the other direction to explore the beach.
After only a few hours I felt as if my soul had been 100% recharged and I vowed to return with the entire family in tow.
All I could think was — how many more little gems exist like this up and down the coast from Kristiansand up to Risør and all the way up to Oslo and around to Hvaler?