Tuesday-Thursday, June 13-15
We looked forward to anchoring out for a few days before landing in our next port. The cruising guide we reference often (NORWEGIAN CRUISING GUIDE by Phyllis Nickel & John Harries) noted a well-protected anchorage in the Havler Archipelago on West Seloya Island that, translated, means “Friday Hole”.
In April 1940 thanks to canon blasts sinking the German warship BLUCHER headed for Oslo, the Norwegian government (including the king) escaped from the Nazi’s clutches.
Usually a name such as “Friday Hole’ makes for a busy weekend destination, but only a few small power boats appeared during our several days there, with two sharing this quiet cove.
As part of the Ytre Havler National Park (primarily focused on marine life)
which extends to Sweden’s Kosterhavet National Park, our anchorage felt remote as we climbed the sand-colored rocks tufted with low vegetation and wildflowers. Time for our typical JUANONA portrait
and checking out to the windward side of the island.
A floating pontoon provided trash and recycling bins
as well as the perfect place for our yoga mat and the day’s stretches.
And, we made sure when we did our yoga-ing we stayed hidden from others’ eyes by the large bins!
SKJAERHALDEN & FREDRIKSTAD
Thursday-Saturday, June 15-17
Two nights on the hook readied us for our last Norwegian destination of the summer on the island of Kirkeoy. The Skjaerhalden gjestehavn offered an easy docking (alongside vs. bow-in), showers, fuel, a few groceries and a chance to visit another historic town an easy bus-ride away.
Being one of the main towns within the Havler Park environs, this village definitely knew it had a good thing with the marina’s price being even higher than and offering less than KNS’s in Oslo; yet, the trip to Fredrikstad the next day made it worthwhile nonetheless.
Arriving in the city after a 30-minute ride with an eerie, but impressive, 2.3-mile under-sea tunnel passage
from Kirkoy island to the mainland, we walked from the bus stop to the river getting lost only once.
Fredrikstad’s old city sits at the mouth of Scandinavia’s longest river, the River Glomma. Crossing the canal with a bunch of cycling kids on the free ferry,
we entered Gamlebyen (the old city) through one of the King’s Gates.
A friendly woman in the tourist information office knew her town’s history backwards and forwards. We peppered her with questions, stopping only when we realized how much of her time we’d taken up.
Like most places around here, Frederikstad has a long history (FYI: it’s where the Viking Ship TUNE we saw in Oslo was unearthed). The town’s formal origins begin with the founding in 1016 by King Olaf the Holy; by the 1800s it became one of Norway’s largest timber ports, an industry that remains viable today.
Fredrikstad’s economy boomed in 1663 after Norway lost the Bohuslan Province (the coast along which we’d soon we’d be sailing) to Sweden in the 1658 Treaty of Roskilde. Within that province Norway gave up the Bohus fortress, so King Frederik III (1609-70) approved plans to fortify Fredrikstad. This harbor town blossomed as military spending fed the local coffers with construction such as the guards quarters seen below.
One of the most interesting buildings, the Infantry Barracks, based its design on a calendar. Why, I don’t know, but if you counted the elements you’d find: 12 chimneys; 52 rooms; 365 windows; 24 panes of glass per window; and, 60 doors for the minutes in an hour.
The Barracks formed part of the King’s Square along with the Old Town Hall (constructed in1784, and now an art gallery and private residence). In reading about the hall we discovered it served as a prison in 1797 for the lay preacher, Hans Nielsen Hauge, featured in one of Adolph Tidemand’s paintings we just saw in Oslo.
With a tree hovering over a wooden table we ate our picnic lunch… with Max finding an unwelcomed surprise in his lunch…
where I had managed to forget to pull a paper divider from the sliced cheese…
An impressive stone structure stood on one of the triangular projections of this moated island. As the town’s oldest building still remaining, the Stone Storehouse now features two reception rooms displaying art for sale.
A lazy walk along the ramparts brought us to the drawbridge, one that took 30 soldiers to raise at taps and lower at reveille.
Another entrance, the Rampart Gate from 1695, carried King Christian V’s (1645-99) monogram and motto “ Piety and Justice”.
Our town map listed 46 sites to visit, and we wandered by most in spite of the on-and-off drizzle.
A return trip to the mainand placed us next to a monument honoring a famous son of the area, Roald Amundsen. By now even I recognize the guy.
We also took a shot of what our Tourist Information told us had been the Gestapo Headquarters during WWII.
Her grandfather had served in the resistance, assisting refuges in crossing to neutral Sweden. When asked about his time during the war, she said he would become very quiet and tear up. No wonder from what one can gleam from the local history. Seeing this stone structure only made her relative’s experience all the more real.
Back in Skjaerhalden we noted another polar explorer about whom we read in the Oslo’s Fram Museum: Henry Larsen.
This area bred them hardy as that makes two polar explorers’ birthplaces within a few kilometers of one another.
We also found a stuffed stuffed with boats squeezed in all along the pontoons and partying starting to pick up.
Saved by earplugs and the V-berth fan on high, we survived a raucus night of extremley loud, thudding bass notes from the power boat across the narrow pontoon (something not unusual for those celebrating the long summer days in this part of the world). Unfortunately for others close by, what we thought had stopped by 2:00 am started up again at 3:00… especially since many at the marina were participating in a recreational sprint triatholon beginning that morning.
With careful manuvering, we waved our thanks to those helping pivot JUANONA out of our tight spot and left thankful we weren’t one of the hundreds lining up for swimming, cycling and running.
We were off to our first cruise in Swedish waters!