What is friluftsliv?

What is friluftsliv?

What is friluftsliv? I was researching about Denmark, as we have had many Danes stay at GlenMyu, I stumbled across the word “friluftsliv”.

At GlenMyu Estate we have many different nationalities stay with us in the Hill Country as part of their travel around this paradise island.

We love meeting people from different countries as it adds colour to our lives.

Having guests from different also gives me the opportunity and inspiration to do some research and find out a little more about the geography, history, people and culture. 

Why didn't you travel when you had the chance?

My wife and I lived in the UK for many years and it is a natural travel hub to discover Europe on a short trip. Travel was also reasonably cheap when we were living in London, particularly short flights to European Cities.

I have very few regrets in life however, one that I have is not making use of the opportunity to travel around Europe and discover more about the way of life there. 

Unfortunately my wife travelled a lot for work to other countries in both Europe and Asia. The outcome was that she was exhausted (and jet lagged), after hopping from time zone to time zone whilst working long hours in her role in the clothing industry. A weekend on the sofa was much more attractive to her than getting on another plane and staying in another hotel. I would regularly here the cry that “we had spent a lot of money refurbishing and furnishing our apartment” and she wanted to spend time there. 

My job was also quite demanding however, I did not have the burden of travel like my wife.  I was really keen to explore more of Europe but there was no time to do this.

I suppose my interest in other countries has now been enhanced since we relocated to Sri Lanka and a flight to Europe is not just a short hop.

What types of things do you research?

I stopped studying Geography when I was in my early teens and therefore my grasp of the topic is not what it should be. 

One of the first things I do is reacquaint myself with where the place sits on the world map, the sizes of the country and population. I find it interesting to compare this data to get an understanding of scale. 

When guests are travelling around Sri Lanka many don’t realise that it is a similar size in area of the Republic of Ireland but with four times the size of population.

It’s not just the general elements that interest me. We have had a few guests from the USA who live or were from the state of North Carolina. I found it fascinating that there was a Research Triangle between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. As an ex banker I am interested in what local economies are the 

Why friluftsliv and why Denmark?

We have hosted several guests from Denmark, Netherlands and Belgium at GlenMyu Estate. I got the impression that they liked the Sri Lankan Hill country because their own countries were generally quite flat. 

A random Google search led me to the wonderful word “friluftsliv”.

After reading the definition on the Visit Denmark website I fell in love with the word.

What does the word "friluftsliv" mean?

Apparently “friluftsliv” is an untranslatable Danish word but it means ‘living in the free air’ and it’s about our love of the outdoors. 

What a wonderful and inspiring concept!

“Friluftsliv” is a form of disconnecting from our hectic lives and reconnecting with the nature around us.

This concept is similar to what we try to create here in our little piece of paradise in the Sri Lankan Hill Country.

Maybe the `Danes like GlenMyu Estate as our ideas of "friluftsliv"are aligned.

So, perhaps I was wrong in my original assumption and Danes really like GlenMyu Estate because we aim to provide a place where you can disconnect from everyday life. We also have developed the estate so you can reconnect with the nature that surrounds us.

It's good for your body, mind and soul.

Reconnecting with nature and reinvigorating your love for the outdoors is good for your mind, body and soul.

Breathe the fresh, free air.

At GlenMyu Estate we are at an elevation of around 1,000 metres above sea level. The estate is set in five acres of the Sri Lankan countryside and we have lots of trees and plants growing on the land.

We have deliberately not overdeveloped the land with buildings and have planted lots of trees with a plan to have an edible fruit forest in the future. The balance of the land is heavily weighted towards nature. 

Beragala is located in the Inter Monsoon area in Sri Lanka and we tend to get showers often during the year which clears the air and freshens it up. The rain can be a bit heavier in October and November. I love inhaling the fresh air after a rainfall.

Reconnecting with nature.

Having lived in cities in the UK for most of my life I felt that I had been removed from nature.

Sanitised houses, air conditioned offices and cars, concrete jungles and many other elements meant that wildlife has been driven away.
Even the plastic packaging in the supermarkets resulted in a disconnection from the food that we eat whether animal or vegetable.

Living in the Sri Lankan Hill country and being surrounded by animals, birds and insects has increased my awareness and appreciation. The discovery of the different types of trees, plants, fruits and spices that we grow at GlenMyu Estate has been a real education.  Ru does a really interesting garden tour for our guests who discover new knowledge similar to me experience.

Spend time with the dogs, ducks, chickens and the cow.

One of the aims at GlenMyu Estate is to develop an environment which attracts all kinds of animals to the land. We have planted certain species of trees, plants and flowers with a view to achieve this aim. One part of the estate remains untouched so that some animals such as deer have a safe place for them to habit.

Developing an organic garden where we can produce good quality ingredients to feed ourselves and our guests is also part of our plan.  

We have several ducks and chickens that forage freely around the land and produce tasty eggs for us and our guests. They regularly produce chicks which are a delight to see. 

Our Cow, Maali, is one of the more recent additions. She provides manure for the organic garden and also manicures the grass (and some flowers!) around the estate.
You can read more about Maali in our article “We got a Cow!”.

We also have several rescue dogs on the estate which our guests love. They are all vaccinated and are used to meeting new guests. The dogs keep some of our produce safe from monkeys, porcupines, wild boar and the occasional peacock. They also protect our chickens and ducks from eagles and mongoose which are looking to have a meal.

Imbibe the spectacular views of the Sri Lankan Hill Country.

We can’t guarantee a great view everyday as mother nature sometimes provides weather that obscures the vista. 

However, if you stay two or three days at GlenMyu Estate you are likely to experience an incredible view of the hills below the house leading towards the south coast. 

Even on a cloudy day you will still be capturing elements of “friluftsliv” sitting in the main lounge looking out on the ever changing skyline. You can see some videos of the changing view at our YouTube Channel.

Hike in the trails within an hour of GlenMyu Estate.

Horton Plains National Park.

A montane cloud forest and National Park which is around one hour and fifteen minutes drive from GlenMyu Estate.Both my wife and I love visiting Horton Plains and it is one place we highly recommend to visit to our guests.

The eleven kilometre circular hike, at an elevation of 2,100 – 2.300 metres above sea level, takes you through a beautiful landscape.

We always recommend to our guest to take the “harder” route clockwise around the trail.
One reason is to get the harder part of the hike out of the way first so you can enjoy the easier part towards the end of your hike.
The main reason though, is so you have a chance to see the views from Lesser World’s End (270m precipice) and Greater World’s End (870m precipice).

If you walk anticlockwise, or start the hike later in the day, you are less likely to get a clear view at these viewing points.
We have found that the clouds cover the view later in the day, however, there is no guarantee of a clear view either way. You have a better chance earlier in the day.

Reflecting the mantra of “friluftsliv”, this hike provides you with the opportunity to be in the fresh air and also reconnect with nature. There are a variety of interesting flora and fauna (some endemic species) that you will see on your hike.

Read our article about our day trip to Horton Plains here.

Upper Diyaluma Waterfall, Koslanda.

The second tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka is only a forty minute drive from GlenMyu Estate and is another favourite thing for us to do.
What we really like is that it is a newer experience for visitors as the road to get to Koslanda has only been improved over the past two years.

Upper Diyaluma Waterfall is being discovered by more tourists and its becoming a popular Instagram spot along with Nine Arch Bridge in the area.  

If you go early in the morning, and avoid the crowds on a weekend, it is a really special experience. We feel that as it becomes more “discovered” it will no longer be as unspoilt place to visit and that feeling of raw nature will dissipate.

Bambarakanda Waterfall

The tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka is around a forty five minute drive from GlenMyu Estate and really reflect the beauty of nature. The falls are stunning when there has been some good level of rainfall. Cool clear water enhances that connection to nature feeling so fresh and giving you energy.

The manicured gardens of Adisham Estate

We recently visited Adisham Estate after several years because some of our guests had been there and had a good time. The manicured gardens are looked after very well by the gardeners employed by the monastery. You can read about our visit to Adisham in the following article “Our day trip to Adisham Bungalow”.

Stages 10 to 14 of the new Pekoe Trail.

Several of the stages of the new 300 kilometre hiking trail are within a short drive from GlenMyu Estate. The Pekoe Trail commences in Kandy and passes by Nuwara Eliya, Haputale and Ella. 

Read more about the Pekoe Trail at our Article “Our First Guests Hike Stage 13 of the Pekoe Trail”.

Pekoe Trail Haputale to Lipton Seat

A new interest in bird watching - reconnect with nature.

Sri Lanka is a great place for birdwatching. A recent article in the UK’s Daily Mail called “Birds (and big cats) of Paradise: Sri Lanka is best known for its elephants – but wildlife of a different kinds is the main attraction”  highlighted what you can see around the island. 

You can read more in our articles “Birds at GlenMyu Estate” and “Birdwatching Holiday in Sri Lanka”.

Birdwatching Holiday in Sri Lanka

Yoga, Pilates and other forms of exercise.

Yoga with a spectacular view.

Several of our guests get up early in the morning and do their daily yoga routine in the main lounge looking out onto the stunning view below the house.

A view from the main lounge at GlenMyu Estate, Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, Haputale, Sri Lanka.

GlenMyu Estates' hidden waterfall

There is a waterfall at the bottom of the land and we have made a walkway to gain access. The last part of the way is by using some ropes, so you need to ensure that you are fit and brave enough to tackle this part of the route. You can see some guest photos of the waterfall on our Google  listing. I don’t have any photos myself as I’m not that brave to tackle the last part of the access myself!

Meditating at the waterfall

One of our German guests spent several hours at our waterfall meditating with a background sound of nature and water.

A free pedicure from the fish in the stream.

If you dip your feet into the stream below our Natural Spring Fed Swimming Pool you are likely to get a free pedicure. Guests have giggled with delight when the small fish gather around their feet and give them a pedicure nibbling toes.

GlenMyu Estate is located near Haputale and is around one hours drive from Ella. Lots of guests stay at GlenMyu Estate to be away from the tourist crowds in Ella and do day trips there to see the sights. 

We are just over one hours drive from Horton Plains National Park (UNESCO) and lots of our guests experience a morning hike and return to GlenMyu Estate to have a relaxing afternoon and a delicious meal in the evening.

Contact us by WhatsApp to inquire about our best rates.

Please click on the following link to our website and then press our WhatsApp button to enquire about best rates.

We are also listed on Booking.com and Airbnb

For further reading about “Friluftsliv” there is a good article on the BBC website titled “The Nordic Concept of Getting Outdoors”.

I came across another article by Carrie Barcom Art “Scandinavian Words of Nature & Climate” which gives definitions of other interesting Scandinavian words such including “friluftsliv”.

Kura skymning: “sitting quietly pondering dusk.”

Gökotta “to have a picnic at dawn to hear the first birds song,” or simply, to appreciate Nature.

Smultronstalle ‘wild strawberry place’. A special place for relaxation, free from stress.

Badkruka diving into water, no matter what the temperature.

What wonderful words and what a wonderful culture.

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