Thursday, June 14, 2018

Beautiful Eidfjord, Norway

Eidfjord was our second port of call.
We started our our morning on the yellow trail down the
 Eidfjordvatnet  to the lake. It was partly cloudy and in the high
60's. The outlet from the lake is a torrent of rapids.

Looking across the lake This is a rural area with a population
of 941, but it is a major cruise ship destination.

I loved this charming cottage on the trail with it's elk head
and wooden shoes.

Waterfalls are everywhere is Norway,
especially as the snow melts after the winter.

Steep cliffs form the sides of the fjords and overhang the towns. The morning was mostly cloudy but it cleared away in the
afternoon.

The outlet from the lake to the fjord is all downhill.

Scott and I on the trail

The trail is also used for bicycles and
horses

This is a lovely beach but the water is pretty cold.
Hopefully in mid summer it warms up enough.

Scott and I pose at the edge of the lake

Another view of the steep hills.

And so do Walt & Honoree


Small farms surround the town. The hay had just been brought in.

Looking into the forest

Detail of a typical roof here - slate. There is a
ladder on every one - probably to clear the chimneys

Roses were blooming every where we went in
Norway. Even above the Arctic Circle!

Here's a look at our Konningsdam ship at the dock. Most of
these towns could only bring one ship into a dock. There was
often a second one that had to ferry passengers in. This
happened to us twice.



After lunch the clouds cleared off and it was spectacular.
Here's a view up the fjord.
Our dark blue trail in the afternoon started
along the fjord
And then started up into the valley.
It opened up into farmlands surrounding the small church.
Tall pines predominated.
Burial grounds surround most churches.
This was a first for us - tree sweaters! There
were about 8 of them.
Sometimes the scenery here reminds us of New Hampshire. The hills are too steep for Vermont.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Haugesund Port: Skudeneshavn, St. Olav's Church and Nordvegan History Center


Heather on our balcony before we left Amsterdam

Here's a view of our balcony as we came into the Haugesend,
our first port of call early in the morning.

Moving back so you can see our "living room area". The
king sized bed is briefly in the foreground. We had a "Spa
Veranda" room on the 10th floor. 
In line for the public bus in Haugesund. - they had a day
Senior Pass and frequent times.

The historic and charming town of Skudeneshavn and our only glimpse of blue sky that day. But thankfully it never rained.

A variety of boats were docked throughout the
town but strangely we saw very few residents.

These lovely wooden boats were a delight to see.
A Viking long house at the Viking History Museum at
Nordvegen. We took another bus here and then had a lovely
20 minute walk through some pretty countryside.
King Hjor and his wife Ljufvina with their
two sons. She was a Mongolian princess he
brought back to rule with him at this site.All
of this history is related in Sagas and both
this story and that of Harald Fairhair lack
contemporary evidence.
St. Olaf's Church built in 1250 and resotred
in 1929. The Germans in WWII wanted to
tear it down as it was a landmark for Allied
planes but the townspeople camouflaged it by
covering it with wooden posts and nets in only
two days to save it.
The view from the fjord. The Royal palace and seat of government for Noway was here at Alvaldsnes. This point over
looked the narrowest part of the fjord and controlled traffic into a great part of Norway.
A burial ground surrounds the church and dates back to pre
Christian times. An earlier wooden church was probably
built here as early as 1,000 AD when Christianity first came
to this area.
The first King of Norway, Harald Fairhair was the narrator
for the excellent film on the early history of Norway.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Muderslot Castle

Muiderslot's New Yorker cover!

Scott, Honoree and Walt chat with our Captain
We booked a trip on the Amsterdam Tourist Ferry days ahead but despite drizzly cool weather, we had a great time. It took most of the day with an hour and a half cruise each way to the castle in Muiden, about 15 km southeast of Amsterdam. Muiderslot dates back to 1280.
It was built by Count Floris V when he gained command over an area that used to be part of the Sea of Utrecht, one of the most important trade towns of that age. One of the most famous owners of the castle was PC. Hooft, a 16th century poet and historian. For 40 years he spent his summers there and invited friends, scholars, poets and painters, known as the Muiderkring.
It is currently a national museum and restored to looking like the 17th century. The gardens and grounds are lovely as well.
Our ship was beautiful and dated to 1899 - wonderfully restored. The Captain and Bartender were fun and informative as were the staff at the castle. Great trip!


Walt takes a turn at the beer tap!

We passed these two wrecks on the way down the river to
the castle, seen in the distance.

This pristine beautiful sailing vessel was a gift from the
country to Princess Beatrix. 

Here's the entrance from the river.

You can see the moat which surrounds the castle and the
bridge entrance.

The interiors were furnished to look like they would have in
the 17th Century - surprisingly comfortable and even, cozy.
I thought this beautiful painting of two women kissing was
ahead of it's time but our guide explained that the woman
on the right was really a disguised man, from a folk tale.

Big fireplaces dominated each room and beautiful
paintings and rugs.

A view from the castle across the bridge towards the herb
gardens.

The gardens were very formal with fields and farms beyond in one direction and the small town and marina in the other.

Raptors were used for hunting by both
men and women in the 17th Century.
Honoree would have been great!

I'm including this stock photo so you can see the castle, gardens and the
river all together.