Once again, I have fallen terribly behind on my blogging! (Trying to keep up with homework while traveling throws me off, and then I can’t seem to catch up when we get home!) However, I am determined to blog about our summer trip to Norway, so please bear with me as I try to remember our experiences from July.
Thursday, 8 JUL 2010
Brandon and I arrived in Norway tonight. We flew from Nürnberg at 18:30, had a brief layover in Amsterdam, and landed in Oslo around 22:30. Mom and Dad were there waiting for us and we just had to walk a short distance to the hotel, Radisson Blu. Since it was so late, we basically just got there and went to bed. Our Norwegian adventure would truly start in the morning!
Friday, 9 JUL 2010
Our first full day in Norway was a certainly a full one! We were up early to eat breakfast at the hotel before catching the train to Oppdal by 08:33. The train station was right below the airport, so at least we didn’t have far to walk to the platform. Thankfully, we had reserved seats and easily found space for our luggage. Overall, the trip was pretty uneventful. I worked on my homework, and the others dozed, read or looked at the scenery. We also bought a light lunch on the train. I had a salad with lots of crunchy tuber-like things that had little flavor and we couldn’t identify!
We arrived in Oppdal around 13:05. My mom’s cousins, Oddrun Bjørndal and Anne Kari Knutsen, and Anne Kari’s husband, Egil, were there to meet us. Appropriate enough for visiting my family, the first place we went was a nursing home! Oddrun’s mother, Klara, was not doing well and we wanted to see her as soon as possible. Already there were Oddrun’s husband, Olav, and four of their five children: Ola, Kari, Stein, and Lars. After visiting Klara’s room, we all went into the dining room of the nursing home to have some delicious sandwiches and cake.
Norwegian Family: Ola, Kari, Lars, Anna Kari, Egil, Stein, Oddrun, Olav, Mom, Dad, Me, & Brandon. (Hanne is missing because she was still working in Lillehammer and wouldn’t arrive until that evening.)
From the nursing home, we drove about five minutes to the Hovden Express, a ski lift that is turned into a gondola during the summer. The views of the valleys and Oppdal below were beautiful and it was a great location to get oriented to the area.
Oppdal valley from the Hovden Express.
We were finally on our way to Utem, the Bjørndals’ farm, where we would be staying for the weekend. Mom and Dad stayed in the main house, while Brandon and I stayed in the “guest house.” Actually, it is an old house that some friends are fixing up to live in. They have a bedroom upstairs sorta finished and a toilet installed downstairs, but we had to go to the main house to shower. The friends were on holiday, so they were nice enough to let us stay there while they were gone.
The “Guest House” where Brandon and I slept at the Bjørndals’ farm.
Saturday, 10 JUL 2010
Today was a lot of “family heritage.” We visited the Oppdal Church where we were able to get inside between two weddings. It was fun to be able to see the traditional Oppdal dresses.
Oppdal Church and the traditional Oppdal dress.
Then we went to Losvold Farm, where my great-grandfather, Erik Loe, lived before he went to South Dakota. No one lives there now, but the house and other buildings are still standing. Actually seeing the small size of the farms and the rough terrain, it was obvious why so many people left to try to find a “better” life in the U.S. However, it must have been hard to leave such a beautiful place!!
Mom, Dad, Me, and Brandon at Losvold Farm and the View.
Our next stop was the Viking burial grounds (Gravfeltet på Vang). Vang contains Norway’s most extensive pagan burial site. Archeologists have registered as many as 800 burial mounds, many of which date back to the Viking Age. It was a gorgeous day to walk around the area and contemplate how the site was might have been used in ancient times.
Viking burial grounds – You can kinda see the mounds.
Our last stop for the day was the Hindseth Farm, where more of my relatives came from. We were even able to meet another distant cousin, Oddvar Hindseth.
Finally, we headed back to the Bjørndals’ farm, but days are incredibly long in Norway during the summer! Around 10pm, we started to smell something delicious coming from the kitchen. Kari, Hanne, and Oddrun were making svela, a traditional pancake-type food. We assumed they would be breakfast the next morning, but we were very wrong. We ate our second dinner of svela with sweet butter and raspberry jam around 11pm and it was still light outside!
Kari making svela. Delicious!!