Friday, July 20, 2018


Have you ever gone to a place where your first impressions help you define the character of  that area? Maybe in the Southwest or Hawaii?

The western side of Norway, which is mountainous, separated by deep fjords, with farms clinging to the steep grades, conjures up stories of giants leaping across mountain tops, gnomes snuggling together for warmth in barns and offering protection to isolated farm families, and trolls hiding under waterfalls and bridges.  Stories aside, the images of gigantic stones, water, and cleanliness created an impression of the character of Norway.

Rugged Norway

Stone: Mountains of stone, walls, foundations, fences, roofs, sculptures.  
Timber: Heavy logs used for houses, buttresses to hold up slate roofs, neat stacks for fencing
Tunnels: To connect one side of a mountain to another, the Norwegians have bored tunnels as long as 10 miles through the mountains, including one with a roundabout separating two roads. In the middle of the tunnels are stops with colored lighting to give drivers a break.

Uredahl, a good source for brown goat cheese. Across the fjord is a farm on a steep hill.

Stones carved for implements

Stones supporting a house

log buttresses

logs cut to fit tightly together to keep out weather

Strong slate roof in Voss 

Stone sculpture by Gustav Vigeland.
Part of the Vigeland Scupture Park in Frogner Park, Oslo

One of the many long tunnels inside the Norway mountains.

Water-filled Norway

Surrounded by seven hills and seven fjords, Bergen, a seaport, is the gateway to the fjords. Look in the town for a long, low building where rope used to be made. If you think about the length of rope needed on sailing ships, you will understand how long the building needed to be.*

We saw waterfalls all along the way from Bergen to Flam. Near Mrydal, one of the ancient stories came to life as a spirit danced high above us beside the waterfall. Sounds hoky, but the performance was so unexpected and far away that it felt dream-like instead. The spirit is a member of the Norwegian national ballet company.

Clean, Colorful Norway

Clean: The outside of houses, the streets without trash, show an innate sense of design, organization, and orderliness (Maybe learned from stacking and sculpting all those rocks?)
Colorful: Many buildings are painted red, shades of green, mustard yellow or white. Because of moderate temperatures in the summer, flowers flourish everywhere.

Friendly Norway

"Hei, hei!" were the first words I heard from the Norwegian flight attendants as we boarded the plane to Oslo.  Everywhere we went, we were met with friendly smiles, even at the beginning of the tourist season as huge cruise ships anchored at stops along the fjords.

Brother and sister guides at Hallingdal Folke Museum

The Dozens of Cousins from the U.S. and Norway have dinner together

I came home full of stories about a visit to Norway and with a glimpse of how the character of Norwegians has developed from the land they live on.  Have you been to a place where the countryside shows you the spirit of its people?


If you are in Nesbyen, which is a ski resort town and a good place to reach hiking trails, check out Guesthouse Hagaled Gjestegard:

*If you are interested in how rope is made, watch this video:


  1. Wow, what a place! Your photos really capture the rugged beauty and color. My overall reaction would have to be "awe" (which by the way has just been scientifically proven to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression)

    1. Teresa, thanks so much. Yes, Awe is a good word to describe Norway.

  2. You brought me back to my first trip to Europe back in 1970 ! I traveled by train from Copenhagen to Oslo and then to Bergen and was awestruck at the stunning views and the stunning views as well as the sculpture gardens. I also remember the kindness of the people. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. You are welcome, Jan. Norway is beautiful, n'est-ce pas?


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