SUMMER VACATION and we were off to Norway to visit two of our former exchange daughters, Gro and Elin, and Vern’s cousin, Ingvar.
Part I: The Scandinavian holiday began in Hamar, with Gro and husband, Kjetil, but this visit would be all about the mountains. We drove north to Gro’s family’s cabin which would be our cozy base for several days. What an idyllic setting…mountains, lakes, rivers, woods, and QUIET. We brought in supplies for home-cooked meals (including reindeer meat and salmon) and trail lunches. The BIG climb was the trek into Rondane, the oldest national park in Norway. We hiked into the central cabin where we stopped for lunch along the lake. While we kept our eyes open for wildlife (especially reindeer) there were no sightings. We did, however, enjoy the sight of the ten peaks, each above 6,000 feet! At several points along the walk I stopped to appreciate my hiking boots, my walking sticks, and my year of stamina-building walking/biking in Worcester!
The next day we climbed a bit closer to the cabin and took advantage of a nearby lake for a swim. Gro’s parents, Geir and Grete Fjerdumsmoen, invited us for a traditional Norwegian meal at their beautiful home in Lillehammer. They put on an amazing feast with special attention to presentation. The weather cooperated beautifully as you can see from the photos. Thank you Gro and Kjetil for another unforgettable visit to beautiful Norway!
Part II: We boarded a Norwegian Air flight from Oslo and within an hour were across Norway landing in Stavanger. Ingvar was there to meet us and brought us back to Kleppe. He invited Hanne, her mother Arnehild, Hanne’s daughter Kamille, and Hanne’s mother and father in law for lunch outside to christen the new deck!
The next day we were on the ferry on the Lysefjord heading to Ingvar’s summer house in Florli. Enjoying the view of Pulpit Rock from the deck actually cost Vern his sunglasses! Lovely summer weather and those extra hours of sunlight made it easier to get outside and explore. Vern and I felt we were up to the challenge of climbing a few steps, after all, how hard could that be? OMG…4,444 steps, all of them straight up the mountainside, and MANY of them were actually rungs on a ladder. STEEP, SLIPPERY, SCARY…I was just about paralyzed by the time we reached the 3,500th step and decided this was NOT a time to be boastful. People who passed us had committed to walking around the back side of the mountain via a lake path, but we did not have enough time (or energy) to think about adding on an extra few hours, so we turned around and walked ALLLLLLLLLL the way down the 3500 steps. My legs were wobbly for days! Thank you, Ingvar, for opening your “homes” to us and for showing us more of the beautiful Stavanger region.
Part III: From mountains, to fjords to the BIG CITY! A quick flight and a short train trip and we were greeted by Elin at the station near her lovely home in the Oslo area. How fortunate we were to schedule our trip while Elin’s mom, Pum and Bengt, were also in town. It was such fun to catch up with our Swedish “family” while lingering over long meals on the terrace. Vern contributed his gourmet grilling talents to the occasion…RIBS!
Elin was just at the end of her maternity leave, and she graciously donned her “Oslo Tour Director” cap. We began with the Red Hop On/Hop Off bus and then enjoyed a long walk along the waterfront and a visit to Vigeland Park, the largest single artist sculpture park in the world. We returned the next day to visit the Viking Ship Museum…a MUST SEE for those who love small museums with massive, authentic artifacts uncovered during excavations in 1913. Elin’s husband, Stig, took us to the more remote areas of Oslo where we toured the Olympic Ski Jump one afternoon and walked around the path along a nearby lake the next afternoon. Elin, Stig, and baby Emma were marvelous hosts and we so enjoyed getting to know their city!