As we traveled through the countryside of Sweden we kept seeing lots of 'Dala' horses and wonderfully painted telephone booths. We toured the Nusnas factory where the horses are made. We were allowed to try our hand at carving a horse. Jim immediatly cut his finger. I choose to buy mine. Blocks of wood with the design drawn on are then commissioned out to many top wood carvers throughout Sweden to be carved. They are then brought back to the factory, dipped in the bright shellac colors and the design is hand painted on to the horse.
I have found that the Scandinavian people have a true respect for and love of nature.
"I love these mystical dusk days of mid-winter, the silent forest in the back of our house covered with soft new fallen snow. The long evenings when darkness is embracing our little farm yard of log houses; it is as though time stands still for a moment, not much disturbs our thoughts, dreams and memories." -Sigmond Aarseth Master Rosemaler, Volbu, Valdres, Norway
2002 we had the opportunity to experience the wonder and beauty of Norway, the land of my ancestors.
We first toured the eastern shores of Denmark where we visited the beautiful Tivoli Gardens, the Queens Palace, The Rosenborg Palace, the Amalienborg Palace as well as the home of Hans Christian Andersen.
After two days we traveled by Ferry to Sweden and on to the city of Stockholm
where we spent two days enjoying the city of 14 islands between Lake Malaren & the
Baltic Sea. We toured the Stockholm City Hall where Nobel Prize banquets are held, the Royal Palace and the unique Wasa Galleon,a naval vessel of the 17th Century. While in Stockholm we enjoyed a typical Swedish Christmas dinner of meatballs, carmelized potatoes, red cabbage and rice pudding. We stayed overnight in the little ski resort town of Falun. Many of the Hotels that we stayed in had wonderful Rosemaled furniture which I very much enjoyed.
Crossing into Norway we first stayed in Hamar and visited Lillehammer, host of the 1994 Olympics. Here we viewed the site Olympic Stadium and toured the Maihaugen Museum, where there is a complete set up of a typical old Norwegian Farm with sod roof buildings. We saw how life would have been in the 1700-1800 centuries. Here we also saw one of the 22 remaining Stave Churches in Norway. They are beautiful sturdy buildings of the 1100 and 1200 Centuries.
We followed Peer Gynt's Valley northwest out of Lillehammer, passing magnificent waterfalls, lakes and snow capped peaks, en route to the remote village of Geirganger where we spent two nights. A beautiful setting overlooking the fjords and mountains.
On our day of relaxation we choose to go on an excursion along the "Troll Highay' where we observed many Kodak moments. The Road is named Troll Road,as the legand goes, because the people said that the only people stupid enough to build a road of this nature had to be Trolls. It was built during WW2 for a shorter route to the other side of the mountain. Look at the picture and you will see why the people said this.
Norway. Land of many magical wonders
Upon leaving Geiranger, we sailed on the Geiranger Fjord cruising below the towering Sisters waterfall and into the beautiful Fjordland country. There we crossed through Glacier Country and back down into the valley where we came to the little town of Styrn, which sits on Loen Lake where our Great Grandfather Lars Sunde lived on the estate of a sea captain. We were astonished to see as we came into town, on the side of a building 'R.A.Sunde'. We found that there were many Sunde's in a small 'berg' outside of town. This was so exciting to us. Just a few miles down the road we came to the village of Loen, the tour guide was so kind as to ask the driver to stop for a 'photo opportunity' but only for the 2 sisters'. This village is the birthplace of our great grandmother Sigrid Jensdatter Saeten.
Loen- Home of Great Grandma, Sigurd Saeten
Copenhagen Town Square
Looking down into Valley from the Troll Road
Three Lost Trolls
This part of Norway is especially beautiful. We felt so blessed to connect with the homeland of our Ancestors and to experience the beauty. It was sad to leave this beautiful Nordland area.
Leaving the Nordfjord area, we traveled South by way of bus, train and ferry. We drove along on the beartiful waters of the Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest Fjord. We then sailed on the Fjord. From there we took a spectacular journey on the Flam Railway which took us from sealevel to 3000 Ft. We saw many waterfalls (fossen) along the way including the famous 'Troll Fossen', where the train stopped and we spotted a troll maiden singing under the waterfall.
Waterfalls seen from the Flam Train
The weather was quite cool and rainy as we sailed down the Sognefjord. Too windy to stay out on deck. The surrounding mountains were simply majestic.
After riding the Flam train, we continued on to the ancient Hanseatic port of Bergen. The quaint houses of the 13th century still stand at the waterfront. We spent the day in their very modern Mall and shopping on the waterfront where the many vendors continue to sell their wares in spite of the rain, unlike we Americans who run for cover at the mere sign of rain. We stayed in the suburb of 'Os' in the most elegant of all the hotels on the trip. While there we were pleasantly surprised to see several women in their 'bunads', the costume of their local fylkes (county)
Hanseatic Port in Bergen
We left Bergen traveling east, passing the Hardanger Fjord, and crossing the high plateau where we met up with a very unseasonable snow storm. For this Californian it seemed pretty strong, but to those midwesterners it was quite mild.
Quality Hotel Evard Greig
Hardanger Fjord, photo taken on previous trip by Marley in 1992. Island in the foreground is where I spent 8 days painting
The little village of Sunde on the Hardanger Fjord. Postcard from a previous trip
After a days drive across the high plateau where we experience rain, snow and beautiful mountains, hills and valleys, we reached Oslo, the Capitol of Norway. We visited the famous Frogner Park, home of the controversial statues of Gustof Vigland. Vigland created thousands of life size statues portraying life at all of it's stages from birth to old age, from romance to death .We also toured the Viking ship Museum and the Norsk Folkemuseum.
The 'Monolith', 60' high, this sculpture is made of 1 single stone, it took 3 men over 3 years to sculpt it. 121 figures, (3 times life size) are intertwined. The figures at the bottom are lifeless, they become more antimated towards the top. The 'Angry Child' is the most photographed sculpture in the park.
We wondered the streets of Oslo on our last full day in Norway. We found that people are pretty much the same as in the good old USA. The Norwegian people truly appreciate the outdoors and the long days of summer. The flowers are everywhere and they are so lush because of the long summer days..
Downtown street of Oslo
All together now, showing off those new Norwegian Sweaters.
All good things must come to an end. After 14 days of travel through Denmark, Sweden and Norway we board the airplane for an 11 hour flight back to USA, landing in Newark, NJ with a 2 hour wait and then on for another 5 hour flight to San Francisco.
It was a marvelous trip through the country of our Ancesters. I would go back again and again if possible.
I hope you enjoyed this tour through Scandinavia with us. Visit again, there may be additions in time. It has been a pleasure sharing this trip with you. Please visit the other links on this site.
Welcome to our Scandinavian trip. We will attempt to show you the Splendor of Scandinavia through photo's of our trip. There are many so you may wish to come back several times in order to see it all. Enjoy.