rapture in the lonely shore

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5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is rapture in the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet can not all conceal.
~ George Gordon Byron
(The Complete Works of Lord Byron)

different kinds of good weather

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“Sandviken, Norway” by Claude Monet

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
~ John Ruskin
(Words of Wisdom: John Ruskin)

laconic noons and sterner sundowns

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10.30.16 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

It is also November. The noons are more laconic and the sundowns sterner, and Gibraltar lights make the village foreign. November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.
~ Emily Dickinson
(Letter to Elizabeth Chapin Holland, November 1865)

Autumn wins you best by this its mute
Appeal to sympathy for its decay!
~ Robert Browning
(Paracelsus)

Hæreid Iron Age Burial Site

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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.26.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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. 🙂

stillness becoming alive

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“Glorious Illumination” by Ane Lisbet Smedås

Was it light?
Was it light within?
Was it light within light?
Stillness becoming alive,
Yet still?
~ Theodore Roethke
(The Quiet Room)

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Katie got a little bit of snow…

So… We finally got a snowstorm on Saturday, seven inches of snow here. Washington, DC and New York City got much more snow than we did. Record breaking amounts, in fact.

After eleven days of misery it was determined that I had a particularly nasty virus and that it wasn’t necessarily food-borne. I could have caught it the same way one catches a cold or the flu. Sobering thought.

I did not recover in time to go to North Carolina. Very disappointed, but we were given credit from our cancelled flight to apply to a new flight. Thank you so much, Jet Blue.

Yesterday I was dazzled by a photo my Norwegian friend Ane Lisbet posted on Facebook. It was from a walk she took in the afternoon, and I’m grateful she gave me permission to use it here. 🙂 The light is returning to Norway and my longing to go back there in a different season is getting stronger.

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1.24.16 ~ Dima and Katie

I hope we can schedule a new trip to see Katie and her parents very soon!

Vøringfossen II

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Fossli Hotel ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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Dan, Fran and Barbara at Fossli Hotel ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

The company was great, the view amazing, and the food delectable! The other family and we had the place to ourselves!

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dining room mural ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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no need to warn me to stay behind the fence at Vøringfossen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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Vøringfossen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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twilight, sort of, at Vøringfossen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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Dan, Fran and Barbara looking down at Vøringfossen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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Vøringfossen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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food storage house (stabbur) near the Fossli Hotel ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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view from our balcony at Fossli Hotel ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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…

Vøringfossen I

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Vøringfossen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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Fossli Hotel ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

Apparently Edvard Grieg lived in Fossli Hotel during the summer of 1896, where he composed Norwegian Folk Songs, Opus 66.

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Måbødalen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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)

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Vøringfossen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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Fossli Hotel ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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…

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Måbødalen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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close-up of the rocks for my sister the geologist ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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Måbødalen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway
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Vøringfossen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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Dan at the viewing area Vøringfossen ~ 5.25.15 ~ Eidfjord, Hordaland, Norway

Next: dinner and more scenery…

Steindalsfossen

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5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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a troll welcomes us ~ 5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway

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!

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5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway
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along the path we saw plenty of sheep and lambs ~ 5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway
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5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway
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about halfway up, looking down ~ 5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway
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5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway
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yours truly, trying to give some perspective ~ 5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway
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me again, under the waterfall ~ 5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway
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Dan & Fran ~ 5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway
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Fran – it was a great place for contemplation ~ 5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway
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looking back down ~ 5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway
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5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway

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.

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5.25.15 ~ Steine, Hordaland, Norway