Monday, October 2, 2017

Norway: Upward and Onward!

I’m leaving Balestrand, Norway refreshed, renewed and totally bewildered as to the next part of my Norway month. 

I thought it was oh so planned. First two weeks with Rebecca in the garden (but bailed with her consent after one week due to midges, ticks and slugs.) 

Then two days on a fjord. Which turned into four because Balestrand is so delightful. (Lesson learned – when a place says, “Stay for awhile, “ stay for awhile.) 

Then I was to end up south of Oslo at another home/farm. 

Somehow in between for some duration I was to stay somewhere with my high school friend Oystein and his wife Liv. But they have various cabins on two sides of Norway and I got totally confused. Especially when Charlotte had to cancel the second farm experience due to her bummed shoulder.

Oh well, upward and onward! But first to say good-bye to Balestrand. 

Here is a lovely bicycle ride one day. 

A church yard along the way where live flowers by each grave are actually tended!

Here are artists’ houses with dragon peaked roofs.

And the Viking Burial Tombs, with statue of King Bele donated by Kaiser Wilhelm.

Here is the Cider Hurst, ie. Cider House, that grows its own apples and serves a lovely dinner and view.

And here is St. Olaf’s Church, a 1897 rendition of the old stave churches. 

Marie, the minister who serves here two weeks each summer, relates – “It is a result of a love story between an English mountain- climber and her local hotel-owner husband. She made him promise before she died  two years after the wedding  to build an Anglican Church here, in a Lutheran country.” It is so lovely, in fact, that Marie claims Disney came here and fashioned parts of there movie “Frozen” from the church and dragon features in town! I told you Balestrand is magical! (And isn’t there an Olaf in the movie?)

And here is the evening light, which will stay with me no matter how the rest of the month progresses.

Where to Next?

First a boat ride to Flam, then the special train-ride up the mountain to Myrdal, then a regular train ride to Bergen. If you visit Norway you may sign up for the easy “Norway in a Nutshell” tour.These last two train rides are a part of the circuit. 

“Upward and onward” can certainly describe the initial steep ascent called the Flam Railway, touted as the world’s most beautiful train journey. 

Wild, magnificent, with mountains, rivers, waterfalls ,.. a marvel of Norwegian engineering etc… See the switchbacks from the train window? 20 km, height difference of 866 meters (for you engineers) with a horseshoe tunnel spiraling in and out of the mountain.  Just 17 years to construct! (See the sign for the workmen who used horses in the construction!)

As an aside, we were told over the loud-speaker of some mythological woman who tries to enchant you into the mountain. Tourist hype? Here she is…

And then? Not at all sure of where this journey will lead me. But for now it’s “upward and onward” to rainy lovely Bergen… 

Stay tuned.

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