Monday, September 6, 2010

Norwegian Experience: Day 6

Another great communique from Bruce, the latest winner of the Norwegian Experience Recruitment Contest, sponsored by Borton Overseas and Sons of Norway. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Today we arrived in Molde which is known as the town of jazz and roses because of the international jazz festival that takes place every year in the middle two weeks of July. The town has beautiful roses growing everywhere including the roof of city hall. Molde is a new modern city unlike most of the small villages we have seen on this trip. 2/3 of the town was destroyed when the Germans bombed the city in 1940. It now has a new football stadium, Aker Stadium that 2 wealthy men who were born in Molde paid for. It opened in 1998 and is said to be the grandest stadium in Europe. It has a beautiful Church with a separate bell tower. It houses modern shops. Norway has 19 counties and Molde is the capital of this county and has 25,000 people. In front of city hall is a nice statue of a Rose Maiden.

We took a bus tour to see the Norwegian countryside and fjords. We got on a ferry to cross the Romsdalfjord. We continued by bus across the Orskog Mountain Plateau to the Storfjord and passed the village of Stordal and stopped to visit the Rose church which we found really interesting. Rose-Kyrkja, The Rose Church was built in 1789. The entire Church is painted using a Rosemaling technique which was described as a baroque style. Several artifacts from the medieval stave church are now in the Rose Church. The walls are decorated with scenes from the Bible. The crucifix of Jesus from the Stave Church depicts Jesus with 4 nails holding him to the cross and he has a crown showing him as a King. The crucifix on the alter is a later style showing the suffering Jesus and he only has three nails holding him to the cross. The church is only used for special services and on May 17th and July 29th, which is flag day and the day the famed King Olaf, who introduced Christianity to Norway, died.

The tour guides are always relating facts about Norway that many of you may already know such as Norway is 2nd longest country after Chile. The coast never freezes thanks to the warm Gulf stream from Mexico and the weather is milder than most think along the coast. In summer the Oslo area has 22 hours of sunlight. There are still 28 Stave churches in Norway. 98% of electricity is from hydropower and we saw new hydroelectrical plants recently build in the mountains. All that is visible is a big door in the mountain. Norway is also leading the world in alternative sources of energy form tidal energy, thermal energy and converting salt water into fresh water producing energy.

From there our bus took us to Valldal where many strawberries and grown and harvested and we ate at a small Norwegian restaurant and the buffet was Norwegian foods such as salmon, reindeer, meatballs, flat bread, boiled potatoes and all the fixings plus much more food and deserts.

Back on the bus we stopped at Gudbrandsjuvet, s steep gorge with a foaming river at the bottom. We then traveled to the Trollstigen Mountain Plateau. The drive down the Troll Road has eleven hairpin bends where Bruce held on for life. The waterfalls in this region are beyond description. We stopped at the Troll Wall for pictures and then traveled through tunnels and ferries back to our ship. The Troll Road was built by hand in 1936. Some people do base jumping here but it is illegal due to the many injuries and death but some still jump. Base jumping is not illegal in any other place in Norway. On the way back we passed the town of Afarnes with about 2000 people and they manufacture lots of uniforms.

We have had a very memorable cruise. We have met the best people from all walks of life and we will never forget our journey. We feel so lucky to have won this trip and it was not just a cruise, we really fell in love with Norway.

Ok, that's all for now. Be sure to check back for more from our Norwegian Experience winner!


Andrew Holden said...

King Olaf was not executed for introducing Christianity.

He died at the Battle of Stiklestad, as described by Snorri (Snorri Sturluson) in his famous work Heimskringla.

At Stiklestad, Olaf met the peasant army of more than 7,000 men according to Snorri. He states that the battle cry of Olaf's men was Forward, forward, Christ's men, Cross men, king's men.

During the battle, Olaf received three severe wounds—in the knee, in the neck and the final mortal blow through the heart—and died leaning against a large stone.

Erik Evans said...

Thanks for the correction Andrew, I've made a change to the post.