Brevik is the place in Norway I most wanted to see. My grandmother’s sea-captain great-grandfather, Ingebrigt Martinus Hansen, was born there in 1818 and emigrated to America by himself in 1836. As far as I can tell, his parents, five brothers and two sisters remained in Norway. Was he a rebellious teen? Or simply restless, adventurous? His grandfather was a ship’s carpenter, his father and four uncles, all sailors. According to Wikipedia, Brevik is thought to be one of the best preserved towns from the sailing ship era.
Brevik is now part of Porsgrunn in the county of Telemark. The Brevik Bridge (Breviksbrua) in the background (above) goes over the mouth of Frierfjord to Stathelle, which is part of Bamble. It was opened in 1962.
We arrived in the evening, much later than planned because our plane was delayed and it took forever to pick up the rental car. But the two-hour ride from Oslo was beautiful, the scenery lovely. Because the sun sets so late we were still able to stop for dinner and explore the town afterwards.
The restaurant we found was Sjøloftet (above). Brevik isn’t a tourist destination per se, but we found that our server spoke English and was even able to find and dust off 4 menus translated into English. The place was naturally full of talkative locals and it was nice to just sit back and absorb the sound of the language and imagine, while looking out the window over the water, what life was like here 200 years ago.
The roads going up and down the sides of the fjord in town were very steep!
There were sailboats and motorboats tucked into every possible mooring.
A switchback road can be seen to the left of and behind this building.
Sleepy little seaside village…
The asymmetrical Grenland Bridge (Grenlandsbrua) (above) is new, opened in 1996. According to Wikipedia, it “is Norway’s highest cable-stayed bridge with a tower height of 168 metres (551 ft) … when built, it replaced Brevik Bridge as the primary route across the fjord … the 608-metre (1,995 ft) long bridge uses cable stayed construction to provide clearance for vessels up to 50 metres (164 ft) in height.”
Inadvertently we wound up going across the bridge! We were going through a tunnel and it came out right onto the bridge! I suppose it was inevitable as we were exploring the higher elevations of the town. But we made a u-turn and crossed back to Brevik. We actually got pretty confused exploring the town. Some of the streets were very steep and had surprise dead-ends!
This little part of town is tucked under the older Brevik Bridge.
One of the dead-ends we came upon. It was fun (and a little embarrassing) having to do a 20-point turn with the rental car to back out of there…
When we found the correct tunnel to leave Brevik we had to wait and then follow a leader car through it because only one lane was open. We didn’t see any flagmen in Norway where there was roadwork being done. Everyone just waited patiently until the leader car was done leading the opposing line of traffic through and then turned around and signaled for them to follow.
Satisfied to have seen the place where my ancestor started his journey, we headed for Skien to spend our first night in Norway.
8 thoughts on “Brevik”
How exotic ! Not scenery or landscapes that I know. Marvellous to find your ancestors old hometown. Did you connect with family that stayed back there ? Did you visit any fjords ?
For this whirlwind trip I had three traveling companions so I wasn’t expecting to spend time looking for relatives or doing research. I’ve previously done some hunting online and through Ancestry.com – maybe some day I will connect with someone over there… We visited many spectacular fjords in the days ahead, stay tuned, my friend!
I was thinking what Sybil wrote in her comment. It looks so exotic. And beautiful. The boats remind me of where I’m living now, but the scenery and buildings are so different.
It seemed like I was in a dream when we visited, Robin – it was different and yet somehow familiar. The light gave it an otherworldly feel – I’m pretty sure these pictures were taken after 10 o’clock at night.
So glad you were able to get to Brevik. What a charming place. You waited a long time to go there – it was almost as if your grandmother’s sea-captain great-grandfather, Ingebrigt Martinus Hansen was nudging you to go back for him.
It’s often puzzled me, Rosie, why I find myself fixated on this particular ancestor and the country of his origin. Maybe he is nudging me. If I ever go back to Brevik and Norway it won’t be on a whirlwind tour but on a slow-paced research trip…
SO nice to explore Brevik through your eyes, Barbara.. Last time i saw it, was at last 50 years ago – and we just drove through it.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Leelah. I’m thinking of all the towns we drive through in our lives, on our way to other places…