What we overlook is that underneath the ground of our beliefs, opinions, and concepts is a boundless sea of uncertainty. The concepts we cling to are like tiny boats tossed about in the middle of a vast ocean. We stand on our beliefs and ideas thinking they’re solid, but in fact, they (and we) are on shifting seas. Any ideas or beliefs we hold in our minds are necessarily set against other ideas and beliefs. Thus we cannot help but experience doubt. ~ Steve Hagen (Buddhism: Plain & Simple)
Hæreid Iron Age Burial Site, also in Eidfjord, is the largest collection of ancient burial sites in western Norway, with 350 Iron Age and Viking graves dating from 400 – 1000 AD., located on the Hæreid plateau in Eidfjord. This is where we spent the morning of our last day in Norway, after our enchanting overnight at the top of Vøringfossen falls.
It’s been about six months since I posted the last set of pictures from our trip to Norway. Too much going on! Right now I am in North Carolina visiting Katherine and her parents while our bathroom is being renovated back home. Katie seems to be going by Katherine these days. Poor little thing came home from daycare Friday with a fat lip and Saturday morning she woke up with a runny nose and a fever. But we’re managing to have a little fun between bouts of understandable fussiness.
Friday Larisa and I went into Raleigh to attend a Bernie Sanders rally. Sadly, we were among the 1,000 people who did not get into the 2,300 seat venue, after waiting in line for 2 hours. But it was exciting seeing all the support there is for Sanders here. And Larisa definitely “felt the Bern” (one of Bernie’s campaign slogans) by getting a sunburn.
The energy at the Hæreid burial site felt ancient, peaceful and earthy. The graves were large mounds of rocks with meadow, moss and trees growing all around them. Grazing sheep kept the grass trimmed, and the majestic mountains surrounded the plateau where the burial ground is situated.
It’s entirely possible one of my unknown and very distant ancestors lies buried here. I left with that same feeling of connection and continuity I get when I visit the graves of my known ancestors in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Thanks to Ancestry, I have traced my Norwegian ancestors back a few generations, the earliest known so far is my 6th-great-grandmother, Kristi Hendriksdatter, who was born in 1710 in Hovland in Vestfold. So far I’ve found ancestors who were born or who died in four counties, Telemark, Vest-Agder, Aust-Agder and Vestfold, of southern Norway. All located by the sea.
At Hæreid we can follow traces of human activity all the way back to the Iron Age, i.e. to between 1,000 and 2,500 years ago. The oldest traces are mainly in the form of graves situated on a terrace and divided into two burial grounds: Sjohaug at the northern end and Hæreidsmoen in the south. The whole terrace contains almost 400 preserved graves. Hæreidsmoen, with around 350 graves, is the largest Iron Age burial ground in West Norway. We know from old descriptions of the area that the burial ground extended further north than it does today. The entire terrace was probably covered in graves at some point. Some of the finds are from the Early Iron Age (500 BC – 575 AD), but most can be dated to the Late Iron Age (575-1050 AD). Some of the objects are from the Viking Age (800-1050 AD): weapons, implements and jewellery. Nowhere else in Hardanger can boast so many finds from the Iron Age as this particular site.
Although visiting Norway was the highlight of our trip to Europe for me, we did also go to Venice and several places in Germany. I will try to share those pictures as well, as time allows. 🙂
Dinner is served from 7-9 p.m. at the Fossli Hotel and we were treated like royalty – my goodness everything was so fancy! I had reindeer for the first time in my life and it was delicious. And the distinctive cool water in that pitcher was straight from a nearby glacier.
The company was great, the view amazing, and the food delectable! The other family and we had the place to ourselves!
After dinner we went back outside, amazed that it was still light out. It was still quite cold up there in the mountains in May.
It was time for bed. It was still light out when we went to bed and already light out when we woke up the next morning. We could hear the waterfall lulling us to sleep. Sweet dreams…
Back in May, after a long day of traveling up the north side of Hardangerfjord we ventured inland a little, up a steep valley, Måbødalen (more like a canyon!), to breathtaking Vøringfossen, a waterfall in Eidfjord. The road was full of hairpin turns and tunnels. We arrived at the Fossli Hotel just in time to take a quick peek at the falls before dinner.
Apparently Edvard Grieg lived in Fossli Hotel during the summer of 1896, where he composed Norwegian Folk Songs, Opus 66.
To have the ability to withdraw into oneself and forget everything around one when one is creating. That, I think is the only requirement for being able to bring forth something beautiful. The whole thing is a mystery. ~ Edvard Grieg (Edvard Grieg: 16 Lyric Pieces)
A couple of tourist buses stopped to let passengers get out to see the falls, but after that we had the place to ourselves. There was only one other family staying overnight at the hotel, a couple and their young son. It was wonderful hearing nothing but the roar of the waterfalls…
I had hoped to get all my pictures from this trip onto my blog by the end of the summer, but it didn’t happen. Perhaps by the end of autumn?
Last week we had another visit from Katie and nobody got sick this time, although the terrible humidity did spoil our plans to go apple-picking. But we managed to enjoy the great indoors with our granddaughter. The humidity finally vanished the day after she left – sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, as my mother used to say.
This week Nate & Shea are coming up from Georgia!!! It’s been way too long, although we did see them last year at Dima & Larisa’s in North Carolina when they came up to see the new baby. Hopefully we will get around to apple-picking while they are here, and we are all excited about the supermoon and lunar eclipse coming on Sunday night.
Fossen means waterfall in Norwegian. The attraction at Steindalsfossen is that one can walk under the waterfall, which was an amazing experience for me. I’m told this is one of the most visited tourist sites in Norway. The souvenir shop (above) was near the bottom of the waterfall, where the path started which led up to the waterfall.
Located in the village of Stein, along Hardangerfjord, we visited when melting snow made Steindalsfossen extra full of rushing water. The waterfall is 151′ (46m) high. We were impressed!
There was a platform at the top of the path, beyond the walk under the waterfall. From there the souvenir shop below and nearby village of Stein could be viewed.
We felt pretty lucky on this trip. We kept arriving places when almost no one else was there, and then as we were leaving, a tour bus (or cruise ship as happened in Flåm) would show up with loads of tourists. As we went back down the path we encountered a big group of people from that tour bus you can see down there in the parking lot. We were grateful we had Steindalsfossen to ourselves as long as we did.
On this day we woke up in Bergen, rented a car, and made our way out of the city to Hardangerfjord. We spent most of this day driving the length of the fjord (179 km or 111 miles) and enjoying the scenery, making a couple of stops. The first thing we spotted was this tiny island with a little building sitting on it. It was so picturesque we looked for a spot to pull over so we could take pictures of it. As we were waiting to cross the highway we heard shrieks of delight and turned to see two girls coming down the side road on a bicycle. I got this picture (above) as they were turning around and getting ready to head back up the hill. They were gone as quickly as they appeared!
So then we walked across the highway and took lots of pictures of the little island, wishing we could somehow see the other side of it! It might be a boathouse?
Dawn-awakening coves, hammer-blows of light against the sky and out there in the fjord mouth, birdsong, clamorous, crescendo as from a works yard, the strident assembly of a brand new day, a sun will soon be ready for launching! ~ Stein Mehren (Early)
This pretty scene (below) was also to be appreciated – I love how the mountains were reflected in the fjord.
Late in the afternoon we left Flåm, boarding a high-speed ferry which transported us to Bergen in 5½ hours via Aurlandsfjord and Sognefjord. When we left the rain clouds seemed to be surrounding the mountains in misty ribbons. Enchanting…
Again, I’m not sure exactly where we entered Sognefjord, but it is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. It was certainly very wide. We didn’t get many good pictures because of the rain and because the shores were so far away. Some of these pictures were taken from behind the ferry window and with the long lens.
Rain always comes from the clouds, clouds from mist and mist from moisture in the ground. ~ Carl von Linné (The Magic of Fjords)
No matter where I turn my eyes, great mountains over each other rise, flank to shoulder on they soar; to heaven’s rim and all between. We wail to hear the tumultuous roar: silence adds grandeur to the scene. ~ Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (The Magic of Fjords)
As we got closer to Bergen we saw more small houses tucked away on the banks of the fjord.
…turf roofs provided insulation and protection against winds and frost…
We arrived in Bergen very late, although it was still light out, and found our hotel, a short walk from the ferry. The next morning we picked up a rental car and began our exploration of Hardangerfjord. Having a car allowed us to park on the sides of the roads and hop out of the car to enjoy the scenery and hear the waterfalls!