PART III: Man-made & Nature-made Beauties


Tuesday, June 28

We left Moster the next morning to continue our cruising north; but first, we walked up the short hill with coffee and digital items in hand where we could check weather and email using the amphitheater’s wifi. All clear for sailing to Rosendal, a town noted for both a barony–the only one in Norway–and being an easy port to visit Norway’s third largest glacier.

Another easy water crossing to the mainland while passing a humorous head left by a creative soul.

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And, another hammerhead (end of a pontoon) made it easy to dock (we love those types of docking). Soon we were in the local tourist office. The woman there gave us loads of information beginning with the must-see site–Baroniet Rosendal–and ending with the bus timetable for the glacier.

Since the Baroniet was only a 15-minute walk we opted to explore that site before it closed. Under a sprinkly sky we headed up the road eventually following a beautiful winding drive surrounded by well-tended gardens, the most spectacular being the Renaissance one laden with roses perfuming the air. The estate (and subsequent town) was called Rosendal, which made perfect sense considering the choice of floral cultivation.

I stuck my nose into a lot of them where, fortunately, no bumblebee was gathering its daily nectar. I tend to do that often, inhaling wonderful scents; and, if you live/lived on a boat, you would appreciate something other than ‘boat smell’ as well.

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Being a bit early for the guided tour we wandered around the grounds, all very green (the beneficial aspect of lots of rain, something we’ve gotten fairly use to this summer), and circumnavigated this gem of a home.

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Constructed in 1665, this Renaissance Palace was the home of a power couple: Danish aristocrat Ludvig Rosenkrantz, the highest-ranking administrator in the fiefdom of Stavanger and Norway’s war commissioner; and, Karen Mowatt, one of Norway’s wealthiest heiress. They married in 1658 and were given the farm Hatteberg, then proceeded to build a house out of stone due to Rosenkrantz’s preference for that over the traditional wooden structures.

The King made Rosenkrantz a baron in 1678, hence the name Baroniet Rosendal, which is displayed over the gate guarding the small courtyard and entrance. You can see a pretend lord of the manor below. Alas, he didn’t actually have the title (or keys) of ownership…

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The tour lasted roughly 25 minutes and was given by a young man who led a group of us, both Norwegians and non-Norwegians, into the stairwell and up to the second floor.

During his walk-and-talk he’d provide a long-winded description in Norwegian then a short, staccato explanation in English (by the way, his English, like so many Norwegians we’ve met, is almost better than ours).

After 15 minutes of trying to gleam what he was saying so spectacularly in his native tongue, one of the non-Norwegians diplomatically asked him to give us the same amount of information in English. This amounted to at least five more words tacked on to the two-sentences.

To be fair this was close to the last tour of the day, and he must have been quite tired of giving the same spiel over and over. It just would have been nice to hear more descriptions, not only about the few rooms we saw and the decor but also about the families who inhabited this lovely dwelling.

One interesting tidbit we did receive was the Londeman family, who purchased this in 1743, appeared to be aware of the social strata separating the wealthy from the not-so-wealthy. They treated their servants well and even had portraits made of them, which lined the walls outside one of the main rooms. This family lived here until 1927 when they donated the estate to Oslo University.

One of the elements that made this house so unique was the family respected the history enclosed in these walls, thus keeping certain rooms ‘as is’. No photos were allowed but we did remember some key components such as pictures of Napoleon Bonaparte of whom at least one family member was enamored and one room decorated with Roman statues due to another’s fascination with Pompeii.

Ushering us quickly outside to end his tour we took a few moments to snap more photos of the greenery

IMG 8480and to pose for photos with a friendly Dutch couple we had met while waiting to go into the house (the wife was the one who graciously asked our guide to give us non-Norwegians equal time on the descriptions).

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The barony was a lovely destination and one definitely worth visiting. With a wistful last glance at this fairy tale setting and a final sniff or two of the roses, we strolled back down the driveway towards the town.

On the way back to the marina we decided to take the high road to pass by another of Norway’s spectacular stone churches, Kevinherad Kirke. This Gothic church from 1250 could have been the wedding site of the original Rosendal owners. It was certainly large enough and probably splendid inside (no, we didn’t get in but did try a few doors).

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And, just look at the view! Makes one just want to sit on a rock and gaze upwards.

IMG 8487Looking down we could spot JUANONA (last boat on the left)IMG 8483

and realized if we had only looked up from JUANONA we could have spotted this church (which we did before we left for another port).

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But, that was two days after our tour so let me go back to the day after the Baroniet Rosendal.

Wednesday, June 29

Another bus stop–only this time we made sure we knew its location–where we caught the bus to a small town an hour north.

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From there we’d be able to take the 1.5-hour walk up to a lake where the Folgefonna glacier offered a view of its icy magnificence. If you look up from the center of the National Park to where it says “Sunndahl” on one arm of the fjord, that’s where we started, ending up a the lake just below a wee bit of the glacier.

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As promised it was an non-challenging stroll up a well-marked road, wide enough to walk side-by-side. As we climbed up rushing water boiled down, accompanying us most of the way up

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with Max testing out the temperature.

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With sheep mowing the grass all around us there were signs on gates with instructions for visitors. I had to take a snapshot of one of them for the illustration is from the British, clay-animation comedy series, WALLACE AND GROMIT, which is a great show our friend Robbie introduced me to a long time ago.

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Pretty soon we were at Lake Bondhus (Bondhusvatnet) located at the edge of Folgefonna National Park, inaugurated in May 2005 by Queen Sonja. Looking across and up the mountains we saw where the glacier was sticking out its icy tongue.

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It reminded us of the one we saw last summer, the Svartisen glacier, only this time we didn’t get that close except with the zoom lens.

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The road up to the lake was known as the “ice road”. In the mid-1800s locals use to carry ice from the glacier down to be exported. It was then exported to parts of Europe, the first time in 1822 when the ice was carried down on the harvesters’ backs (!) before the road existed. At that time the glacier extended almost all the way to the lake.

In the late 1800s the glacier attracted tourists and, since then, this trek up to the lake has been a popular way to see one of Mother Nature’s magnificent creations. And, what a view.

A sign documented some history with photos of some ice-gatherers and tourists

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as well as the retreat of the ice (top taken in 1997, bottom in 2004).

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Scary to realize how quickly the ice is melting.

We pulled out our packed lunch at one of the convenient granite picnic table and benches,

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while ensuring Dolly Doughnut (for Gracie :), also enjoyed the view.

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As we were munching away (I always perk up around food) a mother and her daugther strode by. A conversation was started about the glacier and other sites; and the mom shared some information about the dangers of getting too close to glaciers. Evidently it’s fairly common for people unfamiliar with ice behavior to not heed the warnings resulting in horrible endings. Such as falling ice crushing two parents in 2014 with their children nearby.

They then showed us a picture on the mother’s phone from their hike yesterday with the daughter posing with a friend at Keragsbolten, a famous rock suspended between two cliffs. They mentioned another famous landmark, Pulpit Rock (Prekestolen). Tragically, a young Australian woman fell off last summer when trying to step around some posing tourists.

Holy moly. Stuff from horror stories.

Both are located along Lysefjorden, one of the prettiest in Norway and one where we’re planning on going. Now, all I can think about are the poor souls who lost their lives up there and if I’ll be able to tamp down my fear of heights to claw my way up to those famous landmarks.

However, all were good reminders of giving Mother Nature and Norway’s beauty full respect, and I appreciated the woman’s advice, which we fully intended to heed.

We did go part way around the lake but then turned around to make sure we caught one of the very few buses back to Rosendal.

Which we finally did after waiting for an hour or so entertaining ourselves with crossword puzzles.

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Well, somewhat entertaining ourselves.

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And, yes, he’s alive. I poked him.

On the ride back we were treated to the careful maneuverability of sharing the roads around here with the bus backing up to give a tractor-trailer space enough to pass (there’s a good reason why seatbelts are supplied on these buses for most times you are jerked to upright due to sudden braking; no fault of the driver, just necessary when navigating one-lane roads for two-way traffic).

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IMG 8542We The bus also passed a company that produces those bullet-shaped life boats we see on ships.

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IMG 8546Testing them must be exhilarating. I don’t know if I’d have my eyes open or closed. But, I do know I’d be hollering all the way down. At an extremely loud volume.

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Thursday-Friday, June 30-July 1

With Thursday being a rain day with wind in the wrong direction we stayed for another 24 hours and were rewarded with an arching rainbow that evening.

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as we prepared the next morning for leaving.

I said goodbye to Marit, who with her husband Even shared with us local information. We’re only sorry we weren’t able to spend more time with them but they had friends aboard, one who was launching a book at a local gallery.

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We untied, pushed off,

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then looked back at Rosendal,

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yet another lovely port for exploring more of this beautiful country.

Next, a magical Os.

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