Monday, July 29, 2013

To Norway and Beyond!

It's been a week now in Norway, a place I'd never traveled to before. We flew into Oslo to meet and travel with Danish friends. Together we trained our way from Oslo to Bergen to spend a night there before we left the next day via first a fast boat then a smaller slower one heading to the largest glacier left in Europe.

One of the hardest things to get used to is telling time. It never really gets dark now and midnight is like around late twilight at home. Good thing the curtains are thick. The sun, I swear, greets you at about 4 am.

Norway is horrendously expensive compared to California but you KNOW it's expensive when the Danes complain too! My friend says oil changed everything. Probably. Everyone looks well fed, they have lovely homes and drive nice cars. Gone, at least till the oil runs dry, are those famously frugal Norwegians that settled the upper great plains. A lot came too.  Over 800,000!

The weather until Sunday was straight out of the California play book. One day was 90°! Luckily I checked the weather the day before we left, added short sleeve shirts and a pair of shorts. To see the fjords in shimmering sunlight was breathtaking. To see two parts of the huge glacier, the blue ice creeping down the hillside left you stunned. We were told it rained everyday the week before.

I decided since I wouldn't have time to paint I would photograph. I wanted to record scenes that were breathtaking and rarely painted. The view from our 1894 hotel in Myrdal was stunning. Perched on a hill we could see houses, the fjord and the glaciers beyond. Don't you think it might rival Provence or the Italian coast? I definitely do.

Myrdal is known as book town. Sellers have over 300,000 books for sale. To narrow my Rosemaling search (found out maling means painting in Norse) we asked tourist information and they pointed us to the stores with the most used craft books. Sure enough I found a spiral bound beauty in Norwegian AND English. Can't wait to try it.

I hoped to see more Rosemaling but have noticed the Norwegians are very proud of their past and things are often decorated. The chairs on a hotel balcony, a fireplace, a wall. So the quest continues! Today at a 1250 AD stave church we saw some in the church with more examples in the museum and modern pieces for sale in the gift shop. Items were not cheap selling for hundreds of dollars. I need to hone my skills!

Tomorrow we board a boat in Skein going up and down the locks. Then the ferry to Skagen where our Danish adventure begins.

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