Sunday, June 12, 2011
As the Norwegian title suggests, our time has been totally "relaxing" so far. I'm not entirely sure why my ancestors ever left this beautiful place.
Since arrival, we have relaxed much, eaten well, and been graciously hosted and welcomed. My Aunt Berit, her sister Ingun, her brother Terje, and his wife Cecilie all met us at the Bergen airport. Additionally, we were able to meet up with Eva Mathisen in the Oslo airport. Eva was an exchange student to Watertown High School in 1978 and stayed with my Mom and her family for a few weeks in between host homes.
The four of us are staying with Ingun and her family while in Bergen. We arrived late on Thursday and stayed up and talked for quite a while despite severe jet lag. The house has a typical scandinavian look to it inside and out (pictures to come). We'll explore Bergen more when we are out in the city on Monday and Tuesday.
Since Friday afternoon we have been enjoying cabin life at Terje's cabin in the mountains and Ingun's cabin on the fjords near the North Sea. Terje and Cecilie's "hytte" in the mountains lies between the small towns of Dale and Voss. The rainy drive to the cabin took us on narrow, windy roads lined with small farms, waterfalls, and lakes surrounded by mountains. Their hytte (pictured above) is in a quiet and secluded area with stunning views. The cabin is built to fit both the historic Nordic style as well as blend with the landscape and other small cabins nearby. The white-washed pine walls, ceilings, and floors as well as the simple design and wood-burning stove make it a perfect mountain retreat.
Saturday we hiked to a nearby waterfall and saw many of the other cabins in the area. A farmer owns all of the common land that surrounds the cabins. We encountered many of his sheep who roam the land surrounding the cabins and near the water. All of the mothers have bells around their neck creating a chorus harmonized by the nearby stream. The lambs follow their mothers closely and are a favorite of my Mom. I think they oddly remind her of our schnauzer...
The rest of the time at the cabin was spent reading and talking. There seems to be endless conversation with family and friends from different corners of the globe.
This morning we drove down from the mountains and had another two hour drive that passed quickly. The entire route was lined with calm water in the fjords and mountains speckled with small groups of cabins and homes. Their way of life looks modern, yet entirely simple and enjoyable. I would contend the state of Nebraska is in trouble when they claim the title "the good life."
Our destination was the seaside just outside of Bergen. Ingun's husband, Ivar, picked us up from shore in his boat and brought us out to their cabin. The cabin has been in Ivar's family for four generations. It was the first of its kind in the area when Ivar's grandfather purchased the land from a local farmer. In the last 60+ years Ivar and his family have continued to enhance the cabin - adding electricity a mere 3 years ago and building various wooden decks molded to their rock foundations on different sides of the small peninsula to capture the sun's rays at all times of the day. My Mom caught her first fish at their cabin when she visited in 1982 and we found her entry in their Cabin Book. Ivar took us on a boat tour of the labyrinth of channels in the fjords to show us various cabins and islands. To the west we could get a clear view of the North Sea.
It has been a completely relaxing and picturesque journey so far. Thank you to those who have taken us to their favorite places!