Bespolka Home Page   Summer 2002
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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Norway  -   5-17 July, 2002



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation


Start Oslo (Tante Berit's) N59º55.542' E010º43.059' 61 m .
-  Oslo Fjord . . . .
-  Nord-Marka . . . .
Jotunheimen Mountains . . . .
-  Gjendesheim hut N61º29.735' E008º48.629' 1,022 m .
-  Bessegen summit N61º30.326' E008º45.156' 1,746 m .
-  Memurubu hut N61º29.436' E008º37.757' 1,021 m 18 km (on foot)
-  Gjendebu hut N61º27.083' E008º29.281' 998 m 15 km (on foot)
-  Gjendesheim hut N61º29.735' E008º48.629' 1,022 m 25 km (by boat)
Oslo (Tante Berit's) N59º55.542' E010º43.059' 61 m .
Tante Berit's cabin N60º17.841' E010º40.539' 418 m .
Hönefoss . . . .
Finish Oslo (Tante Berit's) N59º55.542' E010º43.059' 61 m .


Weather: Very mixed.  Some clear and sunny days, others cloudy and stormy with heavy rain.  Ranged from cool to hot.



5 July, 2002 - Oslo

We land in Oslo just on 3 PM after having transited in Copenhagen.  This is our first time in the new airport and it is quite nice - simple and keeping with the Nordic theme.  Well done.  The only problem is the distance from the city.  So we take the airport train into the main train station and then grab a taxi from there to take us to Tante Berit's place.  This is also new, so it is our first time staying here.  A very nice place she has found and very near to her old place.


Her son and good friend Jorgen comes by and we head out for dinner at a nearby Thai restaurant - actually very good (just, as with everything in Norway, a bit expensive).  While it is already 9 PM, it is still bright out, so we go for coffee at the Frogner Park.  Another wonderful place - a beautiful park just filled with those awesome sculptures of naked people.  And the best part - it is not even erotic. Some times people just get too excited about the naked body.


6 July, 2002 - Oslo: Oslo Fjord

Today is Saturday and Jorgen has invited to go sailing with his fiancé (now wife) Lise in the Oslo Fjord.  What a great thing to do. And the weather is cooperating.  Partly cloudy, sunny and a nice breeze.  A couple of light rain showers came through, but no problem.  Jorgen picks us up in his electric car (real cool) and takes us out to his boat.  She is a wonderful old wooden boat - a real classic.  She is called IBI and is a Danish 30m2 canoe stern classic yacht built in 1933 at Kastrup in Denmark (where the Copenhagen airport is now)


We board the boat and head out into the fjord.  We spend a few hours sailing around here and there,  It is such a beautiful place, with the deep blue water water, the gray rocks, the dark cliffs, the green trees and the blue sky.


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For lunch head into a narrow sound called Middags bukta (dinner bay) and we pull up to a small island called Langåra (the long rowing ore - don't you just love these names), tie up at a natural rock dock and then unload all the goodies that we have brought with us.  And we are well stocked.  But first the crazy men with their Viking blood decide to go for a swim in the ocean.  While this is summer, it is Norway, so it is bracing to say the least.  But very refreshing.  The warm rays of the sun feel great on the wet, cool skin.


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After eating our lunch, consisting of bread, meats, cheese, salad and øl (beer), we go for a short walk to the other side of the island to have a look at the Oslo Fjord.  It is a bit windy, but a beautiful spot.


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We finish off our stay on the island back at the boat with some tea and single malt.  Then back onto the boat for a slow cruise back to the pier, getting back just before 8 PM.  What a great time.  Then back to the apartment for a quick wash and out again for a quick bite to eat.  While it is 10 PM, there is still light in the sky.  Summer's in Norway can be so great (only if it was not so cold on some days - like today).  We get back to the apartment after midnight, where we meet up with Tante Berit and Lars' mom.  She has come over for a few days to meet with a long lost relative.


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7 July, 2002 - Oslo: Nord-Marka

Today we are off for a hiking expedition into the forests surrounding Oslo, in an area known as the Nord-Marka.  After a very filling and nourishing brunch, we are collected by Jorgen and Lise and catch the train up to the Holmenkollen - that huge ski jump hanging above Oslo where all those crazy Norwegians, who get frost of the brain in winter, go put on skis, ride down the near-vertical jump and fly through the air to land hundred or so meters below on frozen water.


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From that spot, we head off on foot into the forests that have been remarkably well preserved around the metropolis of Oslo.  There are numerous trails running amongst the trees - in the summer they are foot paths and in the winter they turn into cross country skiing paths.  Some of the paths are not passable in summer on foot as they lead over swamps or lakes that in the winter are frozen over.


Besides being out to have a good time, the main purpose of the walk is to help Jorgen and Lise scout out routes and ideas for their wedding that will be taking place in a cabin deep in the woods.  Except for the elderly and infirm, most of the guests will be expected to walk into the wedding location (private cars are not allowed at the cabin).  So, we need to find out what route makes the most sense and some of the timings involved.  It is a wonderful walk in as we pass by meadows, lakes and vistas of wooded rolling hills.  Along the way we pass the Tryvannstårnet TV tower, but do sot stop to go to the top of it.


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We arrive at the cabin - Kobberhaughytta - where the wedding will take place.  A magical place.  It is a typical Norwegian mountain cabin - lots of wood, warm, huge fire places and very cozy.  Outside, we checked out the lake, where on the edge they will get married.


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We find a small boat, that is determined would be perfect for the bride to use to be rowed from around an outcropping to the wedding spot.  We were told that it worked out very well at the wedding.  As Jorgen stood at the lake's edge, all the guests were wondering where the bride was - and then she suddenly appeared in the small boat, crossing the lake to meet her husband to be.  We are so sorry that we were not able to be there.


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After a quick beak in the cabin - we had a few too many sweet rolls and coffee, it was time to head back.  This time, we decided that we should take a shorter and quicker way back.  Some people were waiting for us at the other end.  Well, the usual intrepid back country way of Norway, we decided to take a shortcut - a Lise shortcut.  While we can never be sure if it was faster or not, it certainly was a fun route through the back woods, past some small cabins and over some small streams back to our starting point.


Just before 6 PM we made it back to the starting point - Frognerseteren restaurant, where some of our friends and relatives were waiting for us.  It was very nice of them - the weather had turned cold and the wind had come up, so they were glad when we finally showed up.  But then again, they should all be tough Vikings!!!


The rest of the evening was spent back at Tante Berit's place where we made rommegrot.  This is a typical Norwegian dish that is yummy, but very filling and very fattening.  It takes quite a bit of work to prepare, so one does not come across it every where.  It is also a winter and mountain dish.  It warms you up from the inside and provides plenty of energy to beat off the cold.  Jorgen had looked up on the internet for some recipes - one was found on a Norwegian website and one on the Son's of Norway website (an organisation in the US).


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We got to work.  The ingredients are simple and the process is simple - but you have to get it right.  It all escapes us now, but basically it involved heating up some special cream in such a way that you are able to scrap off some liquid (like butter) that forms on the surface.  To get the cream to separate like this is the challenge.


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After lots of discussion and questioning of the recipe, we get it right and we are ready for dinner.  It is great feast.  Along with the rommegrot, which one eats with lots of sugar and cinnamon, we have other traditional Norwegian dishes.  This is all washed down with aquavit.  After all that and our stuffed bellies, all we can do is just hang out for the rest of the evening and chat and catch up on old times.


8 July, 2002 - Oslo and enroute to Jotunheimen

Today is a transition day - from city to mountains.  After breakfast in the apartment, we repack our bags for a trip up into the mountains of Jotunheimen.  We finish our preparations around 1 PM and head downtown to meet up with Tante Berit and mom for a quick lunch.  The weather is lousy.  It is cool, cloudy and raining.  Not a good start to our trip into the mountains.


After our quick bite of lunch, we head over to the DNT (Den Norske Turistforening) office to get our membership, buy some maps and ask about the buses.  The only bad news is that we find out that the connecting bus we want is not running today.  But we decide to head up anyway and see what we can do.  We get to the bus stop, after picking up some food for dinner, and board our bus.  After about three hours of driving through the scenic Norwegian countryside, we arrive in Fagernes.  We have to wait a bit over an hour for our connecting bus, so we have dinner it the cafe and wait.  The next bus leg is about an hour and seems more like a mail service.  It stops frequently dropping off and picking up passengers.  But it is still very light, despite being after 9 PM, so we can watch the scenery roll by.  We arrive in Beitostölen around 9:30 PM - a wonderful country resort town, but not where we want to be tonight.


As the connecting bus we need is not running tonight, we have to stay here overnight.  It is drizzling and we do not want to wander too far from the bus stop (we have an early bus tomorrow), so we check out the nearest hotel - the local SAS hotel.  The receptionist is kind enough to answer all our questions (including how much a taxi would cost to get us to our final destination - too expensive for us) and he is even willing to negotiate on the room.  It seems pretty quiet at this time, so when he realises we are willing to go next door, he gives us an offer we cannot refuse, even throwing in breakfast!  Then it is off to our room and to bed.


9 July, 2002 - Jotunheimen Mountains:  Gjendesheim to Memurubu via Bessegen

We are up shortly after 6 AM to get ready for our day of hiking.  We head to the hotel dining room for the usual huge Norwegian buffet breakfast.  They have everything from bread to cheese to meats to eggs to all kinds of pickled fish and sardines (not Lars' favorites).  We are certainly able to fill ourselves up and the best part is that we are able to pre-pack a lunch for the trail - that saves the headache of trying to find food along the way somewhere.


We pack up our bags, check out and head out to catch the bus.  Punctual to the minute, as usual, and we are on our way to Gjendesheim.  But not without some apprehension - the weather has been mixed with low laying clouds and the occasional rain.  It is windy and cold.  We are not sure what our plan is going to be - if the weather turns real bad, we do not want to be stuck in one of the huts with no access to the outside world other than by foot.  One of our main goals, in addition to possibly climbing the highest mountains in Northern Europe - Galdhöpiggen and Glittertind - is to traverse the famous razor-edge Bessegen high above Lake Gjende.


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We arrive at Gjendesheim, a DNT hut on the eastern edge of Lake Gjende, at 9:30 AM and need to make a quick decision on which route to take.  There appears to be a break in the weather - the clouds have opened up and the full length of Bessegen appears before us stretched along the northern edge of the thin lake.  We decide to go for it - in any case, if the weather closes in again, we can take a boat back or walk the easier route along the water's edge.  We waste no time and within five minutes we are on our way up.


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And with Bessegen, there is no in between.  It is either straight up and down or pretty level.  And we go what seems straight up.  We make our way up a tightly wound switch back trail that allows us to quickly gain elevation.  Soon we are looking down on the beautiful Lake Gjende below us, as it stretches out westerly in a narrow torquise band with a slight kink half way along it's length.


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Lake Gjende was formed many years ago by the forces of slowly moving glaciers that carved the great gash in the mountains - resulting in cliffs that drop almost vertically down to the lake surface about three-quarters of a kilometer below.  The beautiful color of the water comes from the fine rock powder that results from the glaciers grinding on the rocks above and being washed down into the lake.  The powder is so fine that it lays suspended in the water - neither sinking nor floating - giving the water it's unique color.


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The climb up at first is steep and tough, but then it levels off and we slowly make our way along the top of the ridge the forms Bessegen - Lake Gjende far below on one side and Lake Bessvatnet not as far below on the other side.  It takes us a bit over an hour to reach the highest point, where we stop for lunch.  We enjoy the lunch we packed at breakfast, along with some of the chocolate bars that we stockpiled in Oslo.  We take longer than we should, just sitting there taking in the view all around us.


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The clouds have stayed up high, with the occasional blue sky showing itself.  The jagged mountains stretch out all around us, except to the east, at the mouth of Lake Gjende, where it is a more rolling hills.  The mountains are gray, spotted with bright, white snow.  It is the middle of summer, and we are actually not that high up (just below 2,000 meters), but due to our northerly latitude, the snow hangs around.


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After our enjoyable break, we head on following the trail formed by the many cairns painted with the red "T" that mark our way in the Norwegian countryside.  Despite this, up in these beautiful, but harsh,  mountains you need to take care not to get lost.  On the one hand, it may seem hard to get lost with such well marked and worn trails, but as we shall see tomorrow, if the conditions are poor, that can happen.  And with vertical cliffs nearby ...


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Soon we reach the point where Bessegen turns into a true knife edge.  Here things get a bit more exciting.  The trail, which is really not a trail in the true sense - just red markings on the boulders that cover this area, is narrow and heads down the top of the ridge.  The knife edge at points is just a few meters wide, with cliffs on both sides falling down to the lakes below.  It is steep and we are climbing, often on all fours, on the rocks and boulders trying to find the easiest (and safest) way down. It is, as usual, harder to go down than up such a trail.


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Having crossed Bessegen, we arrive at the edge of Lake Bessvatnet, still way above Lake Gjende to the south.  While we have some ups and downs, it is a pretty straight forward walk until we reach the point where we have to make our way down to Memurubu - the hut located half way along the length of the lake where we will spend the night.  And from here it is pretty much straight down the narrow switchback trail.


This can be quite a strain on the knees and we take our time heading down, enjoying the view on the way.  But luckily we do not take too long.  Just as we are approaching the hut, the rain starts to fall.  At first it is light, but then it begins to pick up.  We have made a reservation for the night, so we are fortunate to have our own room ready and waiting for us.  And it is in the main cabin - with the heavy rain it would not be nice to have to run back and forth to the dorms.


We arrived just before 5 PM and spend the next hour or so settling into our room and washing off all the grime and sweat from the day.  Then it is off to the lounge to relax and read while we wait for dinner.  And we are hungry.  Dinner is served in a large dining room filled with tables, all occupied.  We just manage to find a table with two seats free.  The food is simple, but warm and filling.  We can pretty much have as much as we want.  After dinner we spend some time in the lounge relaxing, then head off to bed - early.  The way in the mountains.


10 July, 2002 - Jotunheimen Mountains:  Memurubu to Gjendebu via Bukkelegret

We wake up this morning not quite sure what are plans are for the day and the rest of our stay on the mountains.  It is still raining and we are not sure which way we want to go.  The weather forecast for the next few days does not look good.  So we decide to have breakfast in the hut and then, for a while at least, wait and see what happens with the rain.  We have a couple of options, including turning back, taking the boat to the next hut or to our starting point, or hiking up towards the mountains that we want to climb.


The rain stops at 11AM and we decide to make our way to the next hut on foot.  From there, we can decide what to do - we still have a safe exit via the boat back to Gjendesheim (our starting point).  The route that we plan on taking looks pretty straightforward on the map - not rated too long, with some steep up and down at the start and finish and level in between (like yesterday).  In the end, we shall see how deceptive maps can be and how wrong we can be in our judgments.


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It does not take us long to get ready, and we are away by 11:15 AM.  We cross the river and a short way after that, the steep climb up the ridge begins.  It is one of the steepest climbs of any of the walks that we have ever done.  It seems straight up - but the biggest difficulty is that the trails have been turned into mini-rivers.  We need to be careful not to slip.


We eventually make it to the top of the ridge, at which time the weather has closed in once again.  We are soon walking in fog and cannot see far ahead of us.  It also begins to lightly rain - we put on our rain jackets.  We now need to be more careful to make sure that we are following the trail.  There are a number of paths, some of which slowly head off to the left or right and we would lose sight of the red paint marks.


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Soon after 1 PM we come upon a nice, small lake where we decide to stop for lunch.  We dig into the lunch packs that we had prepared at the breakfast buffet this morning.  We also fortify ourselves with some Gatorade and candy bars.  While we would love to sit by the lake for longer, we decide it is better to push on.  We are not sure if the weather will get worse or not.  It takes us about one and a half hours (including a short candy bar break) to reach the point at which we need to begin our descent back down to the lake.


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The signs at this point do not give us any encouragement.  This stretch of the trail is called Bukkelegret - mountain goat trail - and they sternly warn us to stick to the trail or risk death.  Well, we are fortunate that it has stopped raining and, in any case, we do not have much choice, so we begin the descent and down we go.  And what a descent it was - we truly felt like mountain goats.


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It seems like we are walking on a vertical cliff face - which it is.  The wall comes straight down, there is a narrow trail (less than a meter wide), then a straight drop off to the lake below.  One slip and ....  Well, the trail is wet and slippery.  It has turned into a mini-stream with the rain.  At certain points (and you know it must  now be very dangerous), they have installed wires along the cliff face so that you can hold on as you walk.  So far, so good.


Then we come upon a section that seems impassable - the trail drops straight down the cliff.  We look down in disbelief, only to finally notice the iron chains that have been fixed to the rock face.  That is literally our life line down.  Well, we grab onto the chain and then, in effect, repel down the cliff for about 30 meters.  We made it and congratulate each other - a little prematurely.


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We take a couple of more water-drenched switchbacks only to come upon another fixed the chain.  The only problem is that the chain is out of our reach - with time and erosion, the trail must have shifted over.  We look at it and slowly develop a plan of attack.  We are not heading back up, so we need to find a way.  Lars slowly works out a way to climb over to the chain by hanging onto tree roots and various rocks.  Once there, he makes his way down the chain to the first anchor point - where he now needs to swing the chain over towards Jacqui so that she can grab onto it.  After a few attempts and plenty of scrapped skin, Jacqui is able to grab onto the chain and make her way down.  This is a long section and we make some good progress.


There are a few more of these fixed chain sections, but after those first two, the rest are pretty straight forward.  As we near the bottom, the path slowly levels out and we reach the edge of the lake.  But we are not home free yet.  We still have about another half an hour to get to the hut.  The trail here is straight forward, except that it has turned into a river.  It is totally flooded and it slows us down.


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We finally arrive at Gjendebu hut at 5:30 PM.  We check in and get our two bunk room in the annex building.  The first job is to get out of our soaking wet clothes and boots and try to dry them out.  As usual, the Norwegian huts are well prepared, and they have a drying room.  We carry all our stuff into there and hang and lay it out as best as we can in the over-crowded room.  There are clothes, boots and gear hanging and laying everywhere.


By this time, we are starving and are ready for dinner.  The dining room is not too full - it is the middle of the week and many people were probably deterred by the weather.  Another simple, but filling and tasty, meal.  It is all we can eat, and we take advantage of it.  Over dinner we get to know some of the people at our table.  They had just come in from Spiterstulen - the hut that we were thinking of going to tomorrow.  Well, they had some stories.  The rivers are all swollen and the crossings flooded.  Rather than just rock hopping to get across, they were wading in water up to their waist.  This made us think about our plans - we are not really well prepared for this type of hiking.  We shall check out the conditions in the morning.  But in the evening light we can see the rushing river, well past its banks, pouring into the lake.  Water was falling in beautiful water cascades off of the cliff faces around us.


After an hour of relaxing in the lounge, we head back to our room.  We check out, and re-arrange, our gear that is drying.  It takes constant rotation to ensure that all parts of each item dries.  We sort out the rest of our gear and then head off to sleep.  Nothing like some hiking and fresh mountain air to give you a great nights sleep.


11 July, 2002 - Jotunheimen Mountains:  Gjendebu to Gjendesheim via boat then to Oslo

We are awake around 7 AM, but laze around in bed for a while as it is raining (it started sometime in the middle of the night).  At 8 AM we head over to the main building for breakfast.  We take our time over breakfast, enjoying the full range of the buffet.  After breakfast, we need to make some decisions.  We check out the weather forecast - more rain.  Our options are to hang out here for a day or two and see what happens with the weather, carry on to the next hut (we can take a shorter hike) or take the boat across the lake to Gjendesheim, where we will catch the bus to Oslo.  We decide that it is either carry on or head back.  As the boat does not come until mid-afternoon and the hike to the next hut is relatively short, we decide to hang out here for the morning and see what happens.


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We enjoy the warm lounge with its fire places and views over the lake.  We chat with some of the other visitors - many are also deciding what to do.  It rains all morning, slowing down only around noon.  We have our pack lunch in the hut.  Lars then goes out for an exploratory look at the trail.  Only a short distance from the hut, the trail is flooded.  Hopping over rocks and on the edge of the trail, he makes his way to the first major test - the bridge that crosses Storåa River which flows into the lake.  Well - this makes our decision for us - the bridge is flooded and is under water.  While we could safely cross the secure bridge, it is a sign of things further up on the trail, where we would have to cross swollen rivers without the aid of bridges.  We are turning around and heading back to Oslo.  We are here to have fun - not too put ourselves at risk.  Our boots are light weight and we do not have any tent or sleeping bag in case we are stuck outdoors between swollen rivers.


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We hang around at the hut until shortly before 4 PM, when we slowly make our way down to the boat dock.  As we walk along the edge of the lake, we are amazed by the height of the water. Objects that we could see yesterday when we arrived, are now submerged.  The boat arrives on time, we board and begin the slow cruise back to where we started this adventure on Lake Gjende.  Braving the wind and cold, we stand outside and look up at Bukkelegret and really marvel at what we did.  It is shrouded in wisps of fog and looks drenched.


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On our way back to Gjendesheim, the boat stops off at Memurubu, the half way point and where we were yesterday, to pick up more passengers there.  And what an amazing sight.  It has rained so much that the entire water level of the lake has risen enough to flood the pier.  The passengers had to walk in shin deep water to board the boat.  It looked like a number of other people were cutting their walking trip short.


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As we carried on the rest of the way to Gjendesheim, we looked up to the left and took in the impressive knife-edge of Bessegen.  We did not envy anyone crossing that ridge today.  As we pulled into Gjendesheim, once again the pier was flooded.  The water must not be able to exit the lake quickly enough.  A number of cars were in water up to their axle.  They had laid some planks out for us to walk on to get to dry land.  The bus was waiting for us - we loaded up our gear, boarded and were on our way to Oslo.  We once again stopped along the way in Beitostölen (no need to stay over night this time) and in Fagernes (where we had a quick bite to eat), arriving in Oslo just before 10 PM.  The beauty of Norway in the summer is that it is still light out.  We were able to find the correct tram and made our way back to Tante Berit's place.  Glad to be back in Oslo.  And glad that we cut our mountain trip short - the weather report was talking about heavy rain and thunder and lightning storms.


12 July, 2002 - Oslo

Today is a relaxing day in Oslo.  We sleep in and have a late breakfast and then head out to stroll around the city.  Oslo is a nice compact city with lots of parks, water and open spaces.  We wander around, do some shopping and get some of the famous soft ice cream.  Back at the apartment, we have a later afternoon nap and then get ready to head out for dinner.


We make our way down to the harbor where we meet Jorgen and Lise.  We decide to go see a movie - Monster's Ball.  Then it is back down to the harbor, where we check out the open air exhibit on the aerial photos taken from all around the world.  It is very well done, with huge copies of the photos scattered around and a world map on the ground to show where the photos were taken.  It was fun to see some of the many places that we have traveled to, along with other places that we want to travel to.  Then we have a drink at one of the many bars on the waterfront - it never seems late in the summer as there is so much light.  We decide to take advantage of the nice night to walk back to the apartment.


13 July, 2002 - A Cabin in the Country

Today we are heading outside Oslo with Jørgen and Tante Berit to stay at their cabin the countryside.  But first off to the supermarket to stock up on supplies.  We have to make sure we have enough food to survive!!!  After packing up our bags and loading up the car, we are ready to leave shortly before 1 PM.  It is about an hour's drive north of the city, but we have an important stop to make along the way - at the rest stop half way.  We want to get a warme pølse and a soft ice cream as a snack - yummy.  The weather is great today - warm and sunny.  We bask in the sun while enjoying our treats.


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We arrive at the cabin, called Bjørklia (the birch hillside - and the name suits the place) at Roa in Hadeland (Goodbye Land) in the mid-afternoon and carry all the supplies and luggage inside.  Lars used to come here when he was a young child during summer holiday visits to Norway - what a great place.  First order of business - relax on the verandah and take in the view.  Then it is to work.  In order to earn our keep, we need to do some repair work.  One have two tasks assigned to us - today we will attempt to repair the long outdoor dining table that is in severe danger of collapse.


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Lots of discussion and thought went into the best possible way to repair and restore it.  We went with the removable concept, where the top could be taken down during the winter.  The repair work took almost four hours (including some sun and drink breaks) and the boys had fun with all kinds of tools until the table was once again back in business.  While the men were outside working on the table, the women had a more important task - they were preparing dinner.  But before we inaugurate the table, we hang out on the verandah and, over a drink, enjoy the view once again.  The beauty of the view is that it always seems to be a bit different - the colors change and the mood shifts as the day passes.


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We have a fantastic meatball dinner sitting outside at the newly repaired dining table.  It was wonderful - the weather had cooperated, there were no bugs and, best of all, the food was fantastic.  What to do after dinner and cleaning the dishes - hang out in the living room with a fire going, a hang drink in your hand and some great company.


14 July, 2002 - A Cabin in the Country

A full day of relaxing up in the country.  We have a nice, slow morning.  After struggling out of bed, we head off and use the facilities.  Oh, yes - the facilities.  This is an old Norwegian country cabin, so the facilities are pretty basic - an outhouse.  But what a nice outhouse.  This one is stocked with magazines and comes with three seats.  The whole family can come and attend to their business as a group.  Well, we never took advantage of that option.


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Then breakfast.  Where else to have it, but on the verandah.  And, as usual, a feast with cheeses, meats, bread, jam, cereal, juice, herrings and pickled fish, etc.  After breakfast, we head out with Jørgen to go and pick up Lise (who is visiting her grandparents nearby) and to check out the glass factory Randsfjord in Hadeland.  We went on the usual tour, where it is always interesting to see people working with glass.  It is amazing to watch as some skilled craftspeople take a glob of molten sand and through some blowing, spinning, cutting and molding form beautiful glass crystal works.  After a quick snack, we check out the shop.  What catches our eye are the special shot glasses on offer.  They are called tomling and are small glasses with no stands.  In other words, once the glass is filled, it has to be finished before it can be out down.  Wonderful stuff.


We return to the cabin just after 2 PM and have a quick bite to eat.  Then it is time to get to work on our second project - to fix a broken down bench.  The wooden bench is in a great spot in the garden to watch the countryside and the sunset.  It is in a bad way and lots of work is needed.


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This is what it looked like before we got to work ...


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... and here are the boys in action.  This took lots of thought.  We had to make sure that no one would hurt themselves by sitting on it (i.e., collapsing would be embarrassing for all) and we wanted to make it simple and elegant.  So lots of thought went in how to creatively re-build it with our limited supplies ...


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... including a test "fitting" to make sure the bench height and depth are most comfortable for the main user ...


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... and we feel that the finished product met all the requirements.  Best of all, while the boys were hard at work outside, the ladies were hard at work in the kitchen preparing a salmon dinner.  As this salmon had to bake in the oven for some time, we decided to take off for a walk in the woods.  Besides some exercise, we wanted to see if we could find some mushrooms.  Well, Jacqui was all excited about having some fresh mushrooms for dinner, so she was out in amongst the trees looking for the right kind.  In fact, she was so enthusiastic that she picked up the wrong one.  Jørgen  told her that this one is highly toxic and to drop it quickly.  We are told that all you have to do is touch you nose or mouth after touching one of these and you can die.  Well, Jacqui was under strict instructions, after wiping off her hands, to keep her arms and hands at her sides and away from her face while we walked back to the cabin where she could properly wash her hands.  A little excitement for the day.  Jacqui did not really believe that it was so toxic, so we went and looked it up in the book and found it - a very deadly variety.


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And then it was dinner time.  Another wonderful meal held outdoors at the recently restored dining table.  We had a delightful salmon that was stuffed with romme (a heavy cream) and herbs and slowly cooked.  Along with some salads and potatoes (what is a Norwegian meal without potatoes), it was magnificent.  After dinner, another relaxing evening by the fire.


15 July, 2002 - Chicken Falls and Oslo

Another lazy morning - slowly getting up and having brunch on the verandah.  The weather has been great and continues to cooperate.  The rest of the morning is spent hanging around and relaxing.  We are waiting for Lars' cousin Live to come and pick us up.  We are going to go and visit her family in Hönefoss (or chicken falls).  A small, but delightful, town outside Norway on the Storelva river.


Live drives us to her place - a beautiful house on a hillside with fantastic views over the surrounding areas.  As the weather is so fantastic, we spend the afternoon hanging out on the terrace.  We enjoy a few beers, followed by a light lunch.  We then decide to walk off a bit of the food.  We take some of the footpaths that wind their way on the side of the hill.  It is a great afternoon.  Before we head back to Oslo, Live and her husband Frode take us to see Nils and Brita and their new born child.


We take the bus back to Oslo and even figure out how to get off at a bus stop near Tante Berit's  place.  From the bus stop we wander through the streets, making our way back to the apartment.  The rest of the evening is quiet.  We go out for a bite to eat and spend the rest of the evening relaxing in the apartment.


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16 July, 2002 - Oslo

Nothing much happens today.  We sleep in and then head into town to wander a bit and to do some shopping.  The afternoon is then spent packing our bags - with some of our shopping it is a challenge to figure out how to make it all fit in.  This evening we are heading out for dinner at the home of some good friends - Sven and Brita.  They are a wonderful elderly couple that have been so kind and friendly to us.  In fact, they attended both of our wedding functions in Norway and Penang.  It is a great dinner.  The weather continues to cooperate and we are able to sit out on the balcony with the view towards Oslo.  Brita is a wonderful hostess and she cooks up a fantastic meal.  Sven, ever the great host, entertains us with his fantastic stories.


16 July, 2002 - Enroute to England

This morning we have to get up relatively early - we are catching a flight to London where we will spend the next few weeks.  We finish packing our bags and then head over to the airport bus stop.  All very convenient and well organised.  The bus ride takes about an hour to the new airport, where we quickly and efficiently check in and hang out in the lounge for our flight.  Our SAS flight leaves on time and we are on our way to our next destination - England.


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Bespolka Home Page   Summer 2002

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