A Travellerspoint blog

Day Seven

Telemark Region

sunny 65 °F
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Today we traveled to the the Resistance Museum at Vemork. This is where the Norwegians fought off the Nazi during WWII. We won't go into detail but I hear it is a good book and movie about it.

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Then we had another long bus ride to Morgedal near Kviteseid. We visit the Kviteseid Church and nearby preserved traditional buildings and staburrs, the traditional food storehouse.

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This is the sister church to one in Milan, near Montevideo. There was a picture and plaque of the Milan church inside the Kviteseid church, small world huh?
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We are now at the Morgedal Hotel, catching up on all the posts we have missed, as the manager keeps strolling back looking at us (since we are using her personal office computer). So I think we must close this for the evening.

Please keep looking at old posts because we are adding photos whenever we can find the time.

Skoal!

Posted by GabeGirls 14:54 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Day Six

Sauda

sunny 63 °F
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We left the city early at 730AM and drove across the Kvamskogen mountain region to Norheimsund.

We made a short stop at the Steinsdalsfossen waterfall where only Sara was daring enough to walk behind the cascading water. She got lots of good pictures to share with those of us who were either busy shopping (guess who) or sleeping on the bus (guess who).

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We got back on the bus again and enjoyed views of the beautiful Hardangerfjord with snow-clad mountains at a distance. Finally we arrive at the ferry point at Kvanndal and boarded the car ferry and cross the Hardangerfjord.

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We stopped quick at the waterfalls just outside of Odda.
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As many of you may know this trip included a very special visit with relatives in Sauda. We were all very excited when a few days ago Laura received an email from Lars saying that he got Virginia's letters and pictures and would like to meet us! What we didn't know was the adventure waiting for us on the way to Sauda.

Our travel agent mapped a route for the bus driver to take and it was only supposed to take one hour, it looked like a logical route to take. The bus driver was not familiar with this route as he usually came in from the South and we were coming in from the North. We noticed quickly that the road was narrow and did not have guard rails like the roads we were used to. We also noticed the strange looks we were getting from the goats (as they were mostly the only souls around) just kidding, there were lots of campers and snowboarders who were also giving us funny looks! It was beautiful up there.

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It was at this time Lars, our relative in Sauda, called the driver to see what was taking so long. The driver informed him of where we were and how much farther we still had to go. He also expressed unhappiness that Lars did not tell him about this road. Lars, told him sorry he did not know we were coming in the "back roads" and said he wished us a safe rest of the trip ... as we could not turn around at that point.

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So we continued on the trail (I can't call it a road) along the cliff edge and sharp turns that were getting shrieks and moans out of everyone on the bus. Laura nearly fainted and was hiding her face in her backpack. Sara was calm and collected as usual and mom and grandma were praying ... haha.

We thought maybe it was all over til we heard "Iey, Iey, Iey" from the driver and a few people in front. Mom and Grandma looked up from their praying positions, Sara's jaw dropped and Laura took her head out of her backpack long enough to see a very narrow bridge ahead. It was a dam crossing over part of the lake. We found out later the dam (bridge) was narrowed recently to accommodate a walking lane. The entire bus sat in total silence for a while as everyone was in shock. If we could not make it across the bridge we were stuck on the mountain because we could not turn around in the narrow steep trail.

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View off the bridge:
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So the driver (took a deep breath) started very, very slowly onto the bridge. Some people on the back of the bus, who were brave enough to have their eyes open, said they looked on both sides and we only had one inch on either side for clearance. After what seemed like an eternity, we made it safely to the other side. We all cheered and clapped for our brave bus driver, he was a hero! We continued on narrow passes and along cliff edges with no guard rails for another half hour before we made it to Sauda. The 47Km trip took one hour forty minutes, so it was very slow and go. We were all very grateful to those fellow Nokelby travelers who were so great to endure that trip for us. We are also so grateful to the bus driver for taking us safely across what the locals call "the Goat Trail". Apparently a tour bus had never made that trip before and probably will not be trying it again as I am sure our driver will be famous for making that trip safety and spread the word to other drivers to never go that way again.

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Just a little background on Sauda, Sauda is an industrial area with a very large steel mining facility much like the one near Cook, MN. It is a very nice quiet town with a large heated swimming pool and many hiking areas. They are hoping that tourism picks up in the area, because the mining industry is very slow right now.

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It was a very nice visit with our relative Lars, we won't go into detail but we will be keeping in touch with him and we are so very glad to have met him and his mother. We got to see the house where our great, great grandmother was born. It was a house my grandmother, Virginia, hadn't seen in thirty five years.

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Because the trip to Sauda took so long, we did not make it to our next scheduled stop and went straight to the hotel in Rjukan. They left the buffet open until 9 o'clock when we arrived so we could eat.
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Posted by GabeGirls 14:01 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Day Five

Bergen

sunny 54 °F
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We left early in the morning for Gudvangen at 745AM and (after lots of coffee) continued to the town of Flam.

We took the Flam Railway and saw the Flam valley and stopped at the Kjosfossen waterfall. There is an old Norwegian folk tale about woman in the mountains called Hooras. Hooras come out of the mountains and lure young men into the woods with their beautiful songs and enchanting looks! So they re-create this tale on the train trip. The best way to describe it is ... the train stops, we all get out to take pictures of the waterfall, and suddenly this loud folk music starts playing and a woman in traditional dress pops out from near the top of the waterfall and starts dancing to the music. Keep in mind this is at the top of a very active waterfall and it is very steep. If we were not warned about this it could be frightening because it looks at times as if she were going to fall and she was so close to the edge!

Video of the Hooras:

Lesson on the pronunciation of Hoora:

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Sara got a picture of all the Japanese tourists, they were in everyone's pictures ... funny.
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After the train experience we got back on the bus and headed for Bergen and the Clarion Admiral hotel. We had some free time before returning to our group so the four of us girls went to a local Pub. After a while we noticed we were the only Americans and the only woman, the old men were saying things to us in Norwegian and laughing and laughing. Anyway, the food was great and the beer was great too!
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We then headed for a three hour guided tour of Bergen. We saw some really old buildings and learned a lot of history.
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Apparently in Bergen the most popular thing for a Norwegian to eat is pizza, believe it or not. So we stopped and had pizza, just the four of us girls. We had a fun time sharing stories and laughing.
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Then we rode the tram up the hill. Here is a video looking out over Bergen at 10:30pm.

Posted by GabeGirls 13:29 Archived in Norway Comments (2)

Day Four

Stalheim Hotel

semi-overcast 55 °F
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We traveled along the shores of Nordfjord, across the Utvik Mountains to Skei. From here we drove along Lake Jolster to Forde and across the Gaular Mountain and arrived at the ferry point at Dragsvik a little late because we spent too much time at the gift shop. Again, Linda was on the prowel for some Norwegian sweaters and good deals in the clearance section of the store. She was very proud of her half price Norwegian sweaters, we had to pass them around the bus for a little show and tell.

Then, we boarded a ferry to cross the Sognefjord to Vangsnes.

Norwegian Lesson 3:

We visited the Hopperstad Stave Church. It was built in 1100 as a Catholic church with pagan dragons on top, apparently the Norwegians were still holding onto a bit of their pre-Christan faith. The wood was cured with thick black tar so you can imagine what it smelled like inside. They had a little tiny window in the side of the church for the people with leprosy and pregnant woman to look from the outside in because they were not allowed in the church.

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Then we crossed the Vik Mountain and arrived at Stalheim Hotel. Stalheim used to be a German Nazi headquarters in Norway during the war. We saw bunkers the Nazis used.

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Dinner at the hotel here was fabulous! Laura and Sara had caviar for the first time ... it was ok. This is a fancy hotel, they have a piano player in the lobby and polished silver and china with fresh coffee at all times!! The view from our rooms is breathtaking!

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Posted by GabeGirls 12:02 Archived in Norway Comments (1)

Day Three

Glacier Visit

rain 50 °F
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This morning we drove along Nordfjord to Kjenndalsbreen glacier. It was a beautiful 20 min hike up to the glacier where we took this shot .
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Kurt, Susan Nokelby is part of my tour group. Leave her a message (on the comments) if you want to say hi.
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There were lots of flowers along the way.
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There was an out-house with sod growing on the roof.
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We drove along Lake Olden, where the high mountains miror onto the surface of the lake, to Stryn. Here we ate lunch at a deli. Each of us had a cappacino, one piece of quiche and two pastries shared. The total cost for our lunch was between 60.00 and 70.00 US !!!

Sara at the deli (Grandma says they grow 'em big here):
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A beer is about 12.00 and a pop is 9.00 for a glass. A bottle of pop at a convenience store is about 2.50 still expensive.

Sara had a sore throat today so mom bought her "cough drops":

We also just visited a wood carving studio. It was amazing what he can do. www.norwegian-woodcarving.com go visit its kind of interesting.
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View today out our balcony at the hotel:
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Posted by GabeGirls 07:56 Archived in Norway Comments (3)

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