(4.9) (32 Votes) |
July 5th 2004
Pros: Very Friendly
Aquavit eh Kjell!
Well we finally made it over the border to Norway. We took the train
to Trondheim which is in the middle of Norway. Trondheim was the
capital of Norway before Oslo took over. There is tremendous history
in this city as it is was the centre of power for much of Scandanavia
and the northern part of the British Isles from about the 10th century
until the 19th century. It is the home of an amazing cathedral which
was originally constructed in about 1035 over the buriel spot of
King Olav after he became Saint Olav. King Olav was known for converting
all of Scandanavia from the worship of Norse Gods to Christianity.
He wasn't particularily loved for this as his method of conversion
was 'Convert or Die' Following his death at Stiklestad 1030 the
king's body was brought to Trondheim and buried. The coffin kept
rising to the surface and after a year of re-burying him they finally
opened the coffin and found him to be rosy cheeked and smelling
of fresh air, this being considered a miracle, King Olav became
We took a tour of the Cathedral which in its 1000 year history has
had a few fires (sounds like a Monty Python sketch)and had to be
rebuilt. The latest renovations was started in 1869 and finished
100 years later. The church is made almost entirely of soap stone
which was mined locally. The carvings are incredible. Even up close
the detail was amazing. We heard an organ recital on a pipe organ
that was installed in the church in the 1700's. The accoustics were
awe inspiring. Part of the tour was a climb up to the tower via
170 spiral stairs. The staircase was so narrow that I had to turn
sideways in places to fit through. Not for the claustrophobic. A
terrific view of the decorative carvings on the top of the church
and the surrounding city.
We stayed in a funky hostel called the Interrail which is a student
owned and run building (Trondheim is a University Town)and was originally
purchased by the students in 1910. Even the new stuff in this town
is really old. The weather was sunny and warm on the day we arrived
so we were able to dry out all of our backpacking stuff. We stayed
in a room that had about 30 beds in it but we both had pretty good
After Trondheim we headed North to visit my cousin Helen and her
Husband Kjell in Verdal. Had to go through Hell to get there though.
No really, the train went through the town of Hell. Its a small
station but there is a sign on the side of the train station building
that says, and I quote "Hell, Gods Expedition" Gods Expedition
is Norweigan for (loosely translated) Freight Expediting.
Anyway, having never met my cousin Helen, Jacquie and I were a bit
nervous about going to stay with them. Our concerns were gone the
moment that we steppped off of the train in Verdal and say Cousin
Helen waving a Canadian Flag on the platform. We spent three days
with Helen and Kjell and had a super time. It was like our home
away from home. It rained pretty much the whole time we were in
Verdal but we were toured around a bit and had lots of time to relax
and enjoy some traditional food and drink. Watch out for that Aquavit
From Verdal we headed off to Bergen which is on the west coast of
Norway. It is situated in amounst what seems like thousands of islands.
Jacquie and I stayed at a Christian Hostel just outside the train
station and met a number of students from Wheaton College in Chicago
who were in town doing mission work at the hostel and looking after
things while the normal hostel crew took holidays. A really good
bunch of young people. We enjoyed our stay and enjoyed the free
laundry. We did a couple of day hikes while in Bergen one to summit
one of the islets to the west of Bergen and the other was the Vidden
Traverse which is a 5 hour hike. It could have been a bit shorter
but Jacquie and I are cheap and hiked up the side of the mountain
rather than paying for the gondola. It was a really nice day (a
bit foggy) and we got some nice views of the city and the fjords.
The sheep that were grazing all over the mountain kept us company
with their bleating and bell ringing.
We are planning to head to Stavanger by Ferry and will report from
there. Thanks for tuning in.