Thursday, September 2, 2010

Norway, Days 13, 14, and 15

On Day 13, we set out on a two-day non-genealogical tour.  However, for all I know my ancestors visited or lived in the areas we were to visit.  My father really wanted me to see Western Norway, which has some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.  All my life I have visited the Oslo area and not ventured far from there, so this was going to be a real treat.  So, early that morning, we headed to Luster on the Sognefjord, where we had reserved a cabin.  HINT: cabins are the economical way to see Norway.  They are located in campgrounds, but can be very nice with all the amenities included.

One of many pretty views on the way to Borgund Stave Church
Borgund Stave Church
On the way, we stopped to see the Borgund Stave Church located in Borgund, Lærdal, Norway. It is one of only 28 stave churches remaining today and one of the best preserved.  A stave church is a medieval wooden church; these churches were Catholic before Lutheranism came to Norway. All of the surviving stave churches are in Norway, with the exception of one in Sweden and one Norwegian stave that was relocated in 1842 to the outskirts of Krummhübel, Germany, now Karpacz in the Krkonoše mountains of Poland (Wikipedia).

After a lovely drive, through some of the prettiest country I have ever seen, we arrived in Luster.  The cabin we rented was right on the fjord, which was one giant mirror to the surrounding mountain landscape.  The weather was perfect -- not too cold or hot -- and the sun shone through the occasional cloud.  I went down by the water where there was a bench, and I thought this would be the perfect place to learn to meditate or find peace in your life. 

Views from our cabin in Luster

One very nice surprise was the Dale stone church that was built in Gothic style in the year 1250.  It was open to the public during evening hours, and what a treat.  It was absolutely gorgeous, and, recently, wall drawings dating back to before the Reformation were found during renovation.  Some may even go back to the 12th century. 

Dale Church in Luster

Artwork dating to before the Reformation

The altar in Dale Church
In the high country, on the way to Geiranger.  Notice the
glacier in the background.

After a nice night in Luster, we started the 3 hour drive to Geiranger, Norway.  The route would take us through the beautiful Jotunheimen mountain region. Luckily, the weather was great, which allowed for spectacular views of the Norwegian fjord country. We also drove down the Boeverdal and pass just below Galdhoepiggen, the tallest mountain in Norway.  And when we arrived at the overlook that showed us the beauty of Geiranger below, it was like being in a fairytale because it was almost too beautiful to be real. In fact, it is so exceptionally beautiful that it is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Geirangerfjord is located in the southwestern part of the county of Møre og Romsdal, north in Fjord Norway, approximately 100 kilometres from the town of Ålesund.
My Dad poses with Geiranger below him

After taking several pictures from above Geirangerfjord, we drove down through the town and looked for the campground where we had rented a cabin.  The cabin had two bedrooms, a living area, a kitchenette, and a lovely view of the fjord.  We could sit on the porch and watch the boats and ships go by.  Later, we went to town and walked around.  It was really cute and filled with tourists, especially since there was a cruise ship parked on the water in front of the town.  After shopping for some dinner, we headed back to the cabin to cook it.  The plan was to rent a boat after dinner, but, unfortunately, the sun gave in to rain clouds, and by the time it passed, it was too late.  But my son and I went and played ping pong for a while before observing a beautiful sunset and turning in for the night.
Sunset view from our Cabin... circa 11:00 pm

The cabin...
The next day, we had to say goodbye to Geiranger and take the route toward Oslo and our return to the United States.  Again, the scenery was lovely -- waterfalls, rivers, lakes, mountains.  I was particularly enthralled by the glacier blue color of the rivers.  The water everywhere looked like a child had picked out a turquoise crayon out of the box and colored it into the landscape, which had somehow magically turned into reality.  

The blue color of the water looked like it came from a crayon box

From the moment we arrived in Norway, striking scenery played before our eyes.  But I have to say, the two days I spent in Western Norway, taking in the aqua-blue color of the fjords and rivers, rocky cliffs with spouting waterfalls, and the dark green vegetation surrounding primary-colored houses dotting the landscape were simply stunning.  And when you have a family history belonging here, it is even more special.
Thanks for taking the journey with me through my blog!  Unfortunately, I could not post all my adventures in Norway, but I plan to sprinkle my blog every so often with a lovely picture from this trip -- perhaps Treasure Chest Thursday would work.  This trip was truly a treasure to me.


  1. Astrid

    I have followed along for the entire journey and enjoyed it so much. The photos from today's post are amazing!

  2. Hi Astrid, I have also followed your journey and and I can imagine what an amazing journey it has been! It is a very special feeling to travel in their ancestors' footsteps!

  3. Thanks to both of you. Yes, it was amazing to follow in the footsteps of the ancestors. And I took so many nice pictures that it is a miracle I was able to just pick a few for these posts. It is hard to take an ugly picture in Norway. Thanks for following. Astrid.

  4. I will miss this series...I've really enjoyed the visit to Norway. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  5. Hi Astrid,
    These photos are absolutely stunning! Was the Borgund Stave Church as cool on the inside as it looks on the outside?