Tag Archives: Museum

DENMARK: Samsø to Lyø


Wednesday – Saturday, July 19 – 22

As we continued our cruise south from Ebeltoft we aimed for Samso Island.  We hoped to rendezvous with our cruiser friends from Oslo, Ingunn and Snorre, who had met up with Snorre’s parents then sailed s/y EQUINOX to Germany. They emailed saying they’d be at Samso during the week with some friends joining them. Since weather plays havoc with most sailing plans, nothing was certain regarding a meet-up.

But, we did! When we entered the bay some folks began waving heartily. Not recogniznig the boat, Max and I thought ‘wow, this is a friendly island!’ only to realize it was Snorre and Ingunn. We dropped anchor then motored over where we met their friends along with their friends’ two young daughters.

Snorre used his drone to snap some photos of JUANONA from various heights,

which is why you’re looking down at the top of the mast in this one…

(Snorre’s photo)

and why there’s a great aerial view in this photo.

(Snorre’s photo)

Snorre and Ingunn’s website (http://www.sy-spinnvill.com) is proof of how well they capture cruising.

Hoping to see them later, we headed for shore where we walked to the local church,

purchased some strawberries (it seems every other house had some sort of items for sale refreshingly using the honor system),

and on the walk back made the acquaintance of two more cruisers anchored in the bay, Sophia and Pascal aboard s/y WATERAAP.

Meanwhile, Max took advantage of the relatively warmer water and little to no jellyfish to change the zincs. He donned the wetsuit our nephew Iain kindly gave him

and jumped overboard while I spotted an occasional limb flailing under the stern.

Later that evening we managed to have Snorre, Ingunn, Pascal and Sophia aboard JUANONA where we shared stories of crusing the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Too soon the party had to break up but, again, not before we expressed hopes to see everyone again.

During our time on Samso we discovered more about this island’s history by touring the Samso Museum (also the Velkomstcenter/Welcome Center) located in the inland town of Tranebjerg.

With its central location to both interior Danish waters and the Baltic Sea, Samso served as an important maritime harbor for the Vikings as well as others before and after.

A short video whizzed through two centuries while a stroll through two rooms, one with displays on the Viking era and the other with photographs of the 20th century.

I found out the area had a Bede-type scribe (Saint Bede or Bede the Venerable who lived in Northumbria, England 672/3-735 C.E.) when I read that the German canon and historial Adam of Bremen documented the earliest known written reference to this island About 1080 C.E.

We also learned about the Kanhave Canal (500m long and 12m wide) consructed in 726 C.E. across the narrowest part of the island (Kanhave translates to flat-bottomed boat canal.) The canal enabled the Vikings to move their ships from one bay into another quickly. Surprisingly, It didn’t stay operational long, as it silted up in the 9th century.

You can actually stand in the hollow of this canal, which we did the next day.

The town offers another interesting museum, a wealthy farmer’s home. A guide told us how they used to make bread twice a year in this trough (righthand corner). Must have been a bit green by the fifth month…

Some locals demonstrate homecrafts including weaving on a centuries-old loom..

Getting hungy I spotted a sign where we ate one of our favorite lunches:  Turkish doners

(although I thought I’d be getting some dessert due to the sign…).

Back on JUANONA Max had noticed a small viking boat sailing into the bay (fun!),

and later rowing into the harbor (would rethink the ‘fun’ aspect).

And, that’s how we met Karina who grew up sailing summers with her father on their Viking boat. Now they take people along for a week or so of cruising and camping where all passengers test their skills at not only sailing but also rowing.

We told her of our next few destinations and she highly recommended one we were thinking of skipping since it was a bit to the east of our course. After hearing her praise of the island’s ice cream, I immediately lobbied for the diversion; and, Skaro got back on our island-hopping list :)

TORO RED (off the island of FYN)

Saturday night July 22

Taking advantage of excellent winds from the northeast we sailed 68 miles to an anchorage on the southwest coast of the large island of Fyn. An easy anchoring due to good protection from the wind and a seemingly good mud bottom we went to sleep only to discover in the morning that we had dragged several hundred feet (!). Fortunately, no harm done but never something one feels easy about! We have almost never dragged our oversized Rocna anchor, and in retrospect We were so overconfident in the situation that we didn’t even bother to back down to “set’ the anchor. Lesson learned.

With only 20 miles to our next destination it was an easy morning sail.  (Cammy, we could have stayed in Middlefart but continued on. Just thought you’d be interested in hearing that. :) )

We now were sailing in the Lille Baelt (“Little Belt”) off the west and south of Fyn Island, Denmark’s largest island. Noted as one of the loveliest areas to cruise in this country we anticipated more storybook villages, tranquil anchorages, and some crowded marinas, all of which we found during the next week…

DYVIG (on the island of ALS)

Sunday – Monday, July 23- 24

Again, a short sail took us to our next stop but not before we experienced heavy thunder, rain and lightening. I am frightened of lightning as I’ll never forget being on the beach when a young girl was struck and died back in 1968.

However, all was fine and a huge relief (to me) when it stopped.

Our next stop entailed a narrow passage rounding the tip of Als only to open up into two lovely coves.

Anchoring in the one with the two small marinas (one being in front of a lovely hotel), we thought we’d take the bus to town only to find out it’d be a long wait. No problem as we still wanted to check out the other cove, which we did by dinghy.

If we’d been here a second night JUANONA would have been floating here, although where we were was also pretty stunning.

Retracing our route out we followed a motor boat through the narrow channel then began our sail to the next island.


Monday – Thursday, July 24 – 27

I had mentioned storybook villages and our next island destination, Lyo, topped all to-date, primarily because it was such a tiny village that only traditional homes and farm buildings seemed to stand.

During our three-day stay we enjoyed lunch al fresco where I thought the menu was absolutely superb…

listened to an outdoor concert….

and, asked some locals about the thatched roofs we’d been seeing.

The owner, whose grandmother had been born on the island, said the roofs last about 30 years and were expensive due to the craftsmanship needed to construct and maintain them (the top of the roof line had recently been replaced) as well as the fire insurance (no kidding). Laughing she said and now the straw was imported from China!

She also told us why the aquamarine paint outlines the doors and windows:  to keep evil spirits out. She also mentioned when someone dies their body never, ever leaves by the front door, or any door, actually. Each house has a window without a divider so it is large enough to pass a casket through. Wow.

Like a lot of marinas we’ve visited Lyo was packed with families and friends and this one was no different.  Walking around the marina area we saw children dressed in life jackets crabbing (we still need to find out what they do with the poor crustaceans as I doubt they eat them).

The scene felt like a carnival at times with so much activity. I particularly loved the five guys on a very small boat. Where they all slept, I don’t know, but they were out enjoying the water.

With the ferry easily in reach (as it is on most islands around here) we went across to Fyn (pronounced ‘Fern’) to tour the town of Faaborg.

In Faaborg we discovered a museum that was art itself. Thanks to a Mads Rasmussen, whose money from producing tinned goods (such as butter), he and a group of local artists founded the museum in 1910 and it opened in 1915. Designed by the architect Carl Petersen, the museum is considered an example of Danish classicist architecture.

Below is the front and back of the provided map. I couldn’t upload it with the marina’s wifi so please excuse the rough look; but, I wanted you to see how the museum presents itself.

The map outlines a route for visitors while pointing out the art that isn’t necessarily hanging on the walls, such as the floor mosaics (in one of the seven, small alcove rooms the pattern is a labyrinth)

As we read about the building and its components the museum, itself,  became the piece of art I enjoyed vs. the Funen painters who helped found the museum; yet, I liked how those artists painted what they deemed was the ‘good life’:  Sharing time with family and friends, countryside visits, traveling, and eating and drinking well. Thanks to Mads these artists were able to enjoy the good life, including traveling to Italy. Nice guy to have as your patron.

And, the good life is what was painted by these artists:  Fritz Syberg, Johanned Larsen, Peger Hansen, Anna Syberg, Alhed Larsen, Christine Swane, Jens Birkholm, Poul S. Christiansen and Karl Schou. Many of them attended the painter Kristian Zahrtmann’s school in Copenhagen. But, of course, no women were allowed to study there.

And, I had to include the following. It’s another appearance of another big-headed-baby. We seem to find quite a few of these in the museums we’ve visited.

One golden-painted room serves as the archive for the museum’s collection of graphic art as well as a reference library and common room for visitors. Today it’s roped off but you still can appreciate the images by Johannes Larsen.

A special exhibit displays Japanese art and paper books and the influence it had on Johannes Larsen’ (1867-1961) woodcuts.

Another special exhibit focused on Johannes Larsen’s illustrations for Steen Steensen Blicher’s book of poetry comprised of 30 poems about birds.

Larsen was a good candidate for this work since he studied birds with the mind of a scientist. Looking at his studies of the birds it’s easy to see why his work complimented the poet’s.

The museum possesses a large collection of a local sculptor’s work, Kai Nielsen (1882-1924). He came to prominence with “The Marble Girl”,

and later was selected to sculpt the museum’s benefactor, Mads Rasmusseen,

and a piece for the town square. The latter was based on a Norse myth of the god Ynmer feeding from a cow’s udder. He called it “Ymer’s Well” and, well, it is rather startling and caused quite vehement reactions from some of the town’s citizens.

But, it still stands in the town center (a copy due to the original deteriorating over the years).

Nielsen’s work portrays strong, healthy bodies. As one painter stated, his work is best described as life. The description is an appropriate one.

The piece of resistance–for me–comes from the museum’s goal of providing a ‘place of presence’. Described as “…a temporary state of being lost in focused intensity. We forget ourselves and the purpose of what we are doing. This does not necessarily make us any wiser or better. Still, we seem to long for places that make room for presence.

Although presence is fleeting and unpredictable the experiencing of it is as an individual and, thus, can occur wherever you find yourself in that focused intensity.

The map noted some places where we might find presence, and we took advantage of it…

in the Winter Garden Room

and the garden itself.

I could live in this museum. And, yes, it does have a cafe with coffee…

We returned by ferry and were back aboard JUANONA only to realize I had dropped my wallet at the grocery store when repacking my bags to carry. FYI: (you have to be a juggler to catch the items rolling down the belt as the cashier continues checking out the next customer’s goods whose items are also rolling down on the other side of a divider; so, I usually grab and stuff then scurry over to a table/chair/floor to reorganize our groceries for carrying back to JUANONA. And, that’s when my wallet fell out and onto the floor as we hurried to catch the next ferry back..)

Fortunately, we’re in a country who prides itself on honesty; so, when we contacted the store with the help of a young Dane whose family’s boat had just docked next to ours, the store said they had it and would keep it for me to pick up the next day. Which I did and thanked them profusely!

Back to Lyr where later that day we saw some Tall Ships arrive. They were circling the island of Fyn with a planned entrance the next morning into Faaborg. And, where there are boats there is my husband :)

Tomorrow? Another island to hop onto and around :)






Monday & Tuesday, July 17 & 18

With Denmark’s second-largest city within reach via public transport, we decided to use Ebeltoft as our base. For two days we hopped the bus to and fro using the hour+ ride to check out the local landscape while deciding which sites to explore in Aarhus.

[And, just so you know we continue to botch the pronounciation of these Scandinavian places. When telling a local our destination for today they first tilt their head to one side with a puzzled expression, which only makes us try harder to state where we’re headed. Finally, after at least two to three attempts and ending with our spelling the port/town/museum, their neck straigtens, a smile appears and they say, ‘Oh, Aarhus!’. Which, by the way, is pronounced ‘Oar-hoose’, or thereabouts!]

We discovered the European Commission had selected Aarhus the 2017 European Capital of Culture (along with Pafos, Cyprus), and the city ensures visitors understand why. Special exhibits inside and out caught our attention, beginning with DOKK1, the large arts center (built 2015) housing the main library (the largest public library in Scandinavia), government service offices and a multi-purpose hall.

With the Tourist Information located here, non-locals as well as locals take the angled steps up to the huge lobby area.

Once inside you have your choice of information, books, computer stations (including 3-D printing), cafe or simply a peaceful place to sit.

A huge vertical gong hangs at the top of the stairs overlooking the harbor. The night before with Steve, David and Ken we heard that the gong is rung whenever parents of a newborn press an alarm at Aarhus University Hospital. And, with so many areas devoted to children it must ring many, many times.

Speaking of kids, the Dokk1 ensure they expend their energy on a bear slide

or geometric trampolines. Wish they came in adult sizes.

Before we left we explored another modern facility:  the underground parking garage using robotics to park and stow cars.

With spaces for 1,000 vehicles, the garage is the largest automatic car park in Europe. You could tell not just we were curious as a brochure, video and a helpful attendant explained how it worked. For anyone interested, check out www.dokk1-parkering.dk.

We located the Aarhus Cathedral where construction, begun in the12th century, was completed in 1350 in the Romanesque style. One hundred years later the influence of the Hanseatic towns led to a redesign using Gothic features. As the longest church in Denmark approximately 1200 worshipers can fill the pews.

Frescoes created between 1470 and 1520 adorn the walls

complimented by the stunning wrought-iron portals made by the German master smith Caspar Fincke

and, the Votive Ship UNITY from 1720. One restorer said it was built in Holland for Tsar Peter the Great as a model for his fleet of warships (models were used in lieu of drawings). This one  floated almost unharmed to shore when the ship it was being transported to Russia on floundered off the Danish coast. The UNITY is the largest votive ship in Denmark. The reason for a votive ship is to represent man’s voyage from cradle to grave.

Another treasure is the altarpiece created 1479 by master-craftsman Bernt Notke in Lubeck, Germany. It would be worth attending church during one of the religous holidays when the panels are unfolded.

Time to keep moving…

Walking towards one of the three museums we’d chosen for our two-day exploration we spotted a long row of outdoor billboards covered in magnificent photography. To showcase the flora and fauna located within this city’s environs the Natural History Museum held a contest soliciting individuals’ shots of nature found in Aarhus. From approximately 2,500 photographs judges chose 100.

As we slowly walked down the line of photos, first gazing at the images then gorging on the explanations,

both Max and I commented on how poetic and informative the writing is. For example (Colleen, this is for you :):

I could easily have spent over two hours being spellbound by this exhibit, but by now it was early afternoon and we needed to reach Den Gamle By, Aarhus’ open-air museum. Showcasing three periods of history–from before the Industrial Revolution to the 1900s via architecture, artifacts, and special exhibits, this museum requires a good amount of strolling time to absorb the sights. With the sun out and being not too-mobbed with other tourists we began our visit with an introductory exhibit on Aarhus’ history.

The years rolled back as we visited 20th-century stores, 19th-century shops and houses, and 17th/18th-century homes and tradesmen’s buildings. The museum presents an eclectic mix with the earlier periods being of most interest to us, such as:

The Mintmaster’s Mansion with its elaborately painted ceilings and walls,

furnished rooms,

and view of the outside square…

A dyer’s shop (identified by the black flag, one of the two most difficult colors to achieve with blue being the other)…

A row of workshops built in 1741 known as ‘hire shops’ rented out by wealthy merchants to small-scale craftsmen…

And, the Eilschou Almshouses, which stood opposite Hans Christian Anderson’s childhood home in Odense. Built in 177 by Peter Eilschou, this building provided free housing to middle-class widows and spinsters. Two women played the role of being such. They didn’t have a problem with my taking their photo, especially with Max in the middle :)

As we continued our touring we caught sight of another re-enactor, this time a young woman and her playful goose.

Our last stroll took us through a peaceful cottage garden

with its homemade bird-scarer twirling away.

Leaving this living history behind we returned to the 21st-century. We climbed a short hill to the Botanical Gardens where we purchased a rubber dinosaur and snake from the shop for keeping gulls at bay (supposedly) from JUANONA. Just for fun we put one in my backpack with its head poking out as we walked through the various greenhouse climates.

Unfortunately, no one noticed but, hey, it was worth a try.

By now it was time to catch the bus back to Ebeltoft where we finally found the type of citrus popsicle Max had been hankering for. A young woman kindly let us snap a shot so he could show it to the shopkeeper.

Meanwhile, I met Pineapple, a guinea pig being reunited with its owner.

For Tuesday our list had two museums, the ARoS Aahrus Art Museum and the Mosegaard Museum. We had walked by the former the day before, capturing the permanent installation mounted approximately 12 ffeet above the roof. Called “Your rainbow panorama” visitors have a 360º view of the city.

We managed to spot a window-cleaner ensuring that view sparkled.

We hoped to return to this museum but for now we needed to catch a bus to the Mosegaard located about 20 minutes from the city.

And, what a location and site.

The grass-covered building offers an inviting tableau for outdoor refreshments as well as log-rolling down its slopes.

The interior resembeles a terraced landscape featuring a mind-blowing display of early humans’ history,  from Bronze Age (1700-500 B.C.E.) to the Vikings (800-1066 C.E.).

As opposed to immediately becoming immersed in prehistoric times, the museum provides a wonderful introductory film  titled “The Journey”.

The film asks us to consider our commonalities, not our differences. The movie accomplishes this with exquisite cinematography accompanied only by music as seven life events, both major and minor, unfold before the viewer’s eyes. You actually witness the miracle of life as one enters this world and leaves it… :

  1. BIRTH:  a son being born to a Danish couple in a pool
  2. LOVE:  the day and the life of two South African brothers encased in the love of their mother and father
  3. FEAR:  the painful initiation rite for a Papua New Guinean going from boyhood to manhood
  4. LOSS:  a mother memoralizing the loss of her young daughter in Nevada
  5. FAITH:  a Catholic priest celebrating Mass in the jungle of Argentinia
  6. RATIONALITY:  the accomplishments of a polar researcher and mountaineer in Antarctica
  7. DEATH:  a son attending his father’s death and cremation in Nepal

Displays both before and after the film explain the different scenes with glimpses of nature via virtual reality.

A bonus came from reading the filmographers’ stories of how they managed to capture these seven events.

From there we took the stairs to the lower level, encountering some wonderful statues of human evolution beginning with “Lucy”, our early humanoid ancestor,

and ending up with Homo Sapiens.

We entered the Bronze Age exhibit, then the Iron Age. The latter featured the Grauballe Man, the world’s best preserved bog body (Denmark has several of these in various museums around the country). The museum highlights a specific battle from 205 C.E.–the Battle of Illerup Adal–and exhibits the discovered weaponery offered as thanks for the victory.

The last permanent exhibit covers the Vikings, which added to the information we’ve picked up from previous museum visits.

With flash not allowed the photos didn’t come out too well but we managed to document a few parts of the exhibits such as the Bronze Age socceress’ fetishes from her grave:

The museum does a wonderful job of immersing visitors in the day-to-day living of these early humans.

So much so one realizes we have more in common with them than we may have originally thought. In short, our tour through the museum circles directly back to the introductory film. A nice way to end our day’s exploring.

We ran out of time to see “The Life of the Dead”, an anthropology exhibit, and, by then our brains were mush anyhow.

But, trust me, seeing the movie “The Journey” and experiencing the outdoor roof are worth the admission to this museum.

Some fresh air

and a walk back to the bus stop began our triip back to Aarhus then Ebeltoft and JUANONA. The art museum we’ve saved for another time, most likely a road trip sometime in our future.

Next, more island hopping :)

DENMARK: Læsø to Ebeltoft


Monday-Thursday, July 10-13

Leaving Styrso we sailed into new waters. Max performed the rite of lowering our Swedish courtesy flag

and replacing it with the Danish one making it official.

Six hours later we arrived in Laeso, an island with stretches of sandy beach and a packed marina. And, I mean packed. We took the free bus to the other side of the island where we gorged on free wifi at a local restaurant.

Lots of rafting, both alongside and perpendicular to us (JUANONA is second boat back on the right; you can just make out the bow with anchor. The boats on the left are rafted seven deep);

but, we’ve found the manuvering not so bad due to the boaters’ attitudes.  They’re so nonchalant around here about having a stranger’s vessel tied up to theirs–even when they’re not aboard to say ‘it’s okay to raft with me’. We’ve learned you just leave fenders out to make it easy for another boat to come alongside and tie off, thus using JUANONA as a floating pontoon.

By being part of a flotilla we feel a part of the local boating culture.Rafting etiquette means you always cross over the bow/front of the neighbor’s boat to reach the land dock. You get use to it, and we rather enjoy it as long as they’re not loud or late partiers. Most folk are tender-footed except children who seem to have the heavier feet in spite of their lighter weights; yet, it’s fun to see so many kids on boats; and, at this marina, it’s like an exuberant summer camp for kids and adults.

We left the next morning after unpacking five other boats before we could exit.

Our next port was Grenaa, another marina further south, where we breathed a sigh of relief: virtually uncrowded with easy docking alongside with no hassle. My type of docking.

A surprise came when walking down the quay we recognized a boat we last saw in Oslo. It’s home berth lay across the pontoon from ours at the KNS marina. The owner and wife invited us aboard where I noticed some large, squishy dinosaurs stationed on their cockpit table. I thought they had a grandchild or two visiting, but, no:  they told us they use the rubber critters to keep the gulls away (the previous owner had told them about this technique). I guess gulls have good eyes. At the very least I hope it doesn’t frighten the s___ out of ‘em.


Friday-Wednesday, July 14-19

Finally, the picturesque village we’d hankered for ever since landing in Denmark, and Ebletolft fit the bill to a “T”.

Another easy landing alongside a hammerhead (the top of the “T” of a pontoon where we can dock at the end without having to go into a box berth perpendicular to the stalk of the “T”). Ahh, life is good.

Hopping off we strolled the short walk into town and along one of the old cobblestone streets during our several days of marina-living here.

Two museums beckoned us:  one, not as fulfilling but definitely worth seeing and definitely heavily promoted; the other, a delightful surpise, all the more so due to not being mentioned in most guidebooks.

The Glasmuseet Ebeltoft (Glass Museum) featured the fourth, 2017 Youth Exhibition. This competition began in 1987 and occurs every ten years. This year 57 artists from 18 countries exhibited their creations.

The artistic displays stretched my knowledge of how diverse blowing and fabricating glass items has become. We viewed a large variety of work, encompassing:


“Curve or Straightness?”

“One Hundred and Two x 0”


(I’ll just call this ‘styrofoam’)


“When Kingdom was Lowered down to Earth from Heaven”

Startling simplicity…

(again, I didn’t get the title of this one but call it ‘profiles’)

and, Industrial Creativity, “My Chemical Romance”

Although I wouldn’t want to showcase most of these pieces, I appreciated the opportunity to learn from the artists. Trully, I can’t imagine the difficulty and skill and imagination needed to create these works of art.

I must say the video of breaking glass as one of the exhibited pieces seemed a bit over the top; but, hey, if a red coat propped like a scarecrow on a coat hanger can be in a top-notch museum, a movie showing a guy smashing glass can certainly be shown in a youth exhibit.

The museum so understated by all brochures is the Farvergarden Museum, something Max just happened upon thanks to some cruiser’s notes. The museum documents an old dyeworks on the location serving as such since the 1770s.

A black flag indicated we’d arrived at the correct address (A black or blue flag, the two most difficult colors to produce, hung from dyeworkers’ places throughout Denmark back then). When we ducked through the door we found ourselves in the actual dye worker’s home. The last dyer’s family living here were the Petersens, with Andreas Gotlieb (1841-1917) and his son Johan being the master dyers. Andreas ran the dyeworks until 1905 when Johan took over.

The property was sold to the government in 1974 by Johan’s heirs, two nieces. Since the nieces inherited the content of the house, the municipality collected pieces representing a 1900 home. Fortunately, the dyeworks buildings hold the original machinery and tools.

The impression of being in a dollhouse immediately began with the first room off the street:  the tiny shop where customers dropped off cloth (charged by the length) or yarns (paid for by the weight) for dyeing. Still a shop but now selling wares not dyed here.

We continued into the parlor

and the kitchen,

the pantry,

poked our heads into the bedroom,

then exited down a hallway

to the backyard where we accessed a room in the attic. Here we found the maid’s room. Even though the dyer wasn’t particularly wealthy, young girls hired themselves out and lived on the premises.

Excellent signage and displays provide detailed information on the history of dyes (a timeline begins with professional dyeworks in China 3000 B.C.E.)… samples of the raw materials (such as the indigo imported from India)… when Farvergarden began (Emanuel Randlef received the royal privilege as a dyer in 1773)… and exactly how the cloth and yarn were dyed. Understanding the dyeing process is covered in the dye works building.

A 1948 video commissioned by the government and featuring Johan Petersen demonstrates the art of indigo dyeing. We watched the screen then turned to look at the actual machinery:

The balls were used to crush the indigo. This mineral is so precious the rinse water used to wash off the metal balls is reused in the dye process.

The indigo is then added to the vat of lukewarm water along with soda, bran, red dye, and madder (a Eurasian herb used for red-purple dye). Lime is added turning the dye a yellowish-green. The dyer knows the color is ready by smell and then it sits for several days. The cloth is placed on the screens (hanging on the wall) while ensuring the liquid mixture covers the cloth/yarn completely.

The dyed cloth is yellowish-green when first removed, turning blue after hanging for some time. A final rinse in water with blue clay is done, and then pressing by the mangle below, powered by a horse mill in the next room (a cable runs underground to this room).

Before the dyeing process begins the cloth is sent to another mill to be ‘stamped’ or ‘filled’ at an outside mill to produce a wadmal (cloth that’s been pounded into a dense and thick layer). After the dyeing, again to raise the cloth fibers or nap, the material is run through the machine below, a teasel gig (love the name), which makes the cloth even denser.

And, here are the nap-raising instruments:  teasel heads! Generally imported from southwest Europe.

Drying took place outdoors in good weather or indoors in a small, heated room.

To press it using the machine below they’d layer the cloth with heated iron sheets and cardboard.

No question about it, dyeing required the mind of a chemist (creating the dye), the deft eye of an artist (ensuring the dye set properly), and the muscles of a steveadore (manhandling the tools of the trade).

The process for blue dyeing took eight days:  fulling (making it dense); dyeing; carding; cropping (trimming the woolen cloth’s nap leaving the cloth even and smooth); steaming (reinforcing the blue color and made it more water resistant); and pressing. The cropping and steaming were extra costs.

In addition to the expensive blue dye, black, brown, yellow and red were the the typical colors produced in another room.

A stable wing and extended garden beyond with a pond and grotto completed the tour.

Under the Petersen’s ownership this dyworks represented the height of modernity in 1851; but, with the Industrial Age and mass-production operations, Favergarden’s equipment was way outdated by the time it closed in 1925. Yet, thanks to the foresight of the town and its investment, we had walked back through time when dyeing was an artisan’s craft.

We continued perusing Ebeltoft’s other treasures as we exited into glorious sunshine, checking sites along the way with a self-guided Town Walk map.

Speaking of delightful, when we landed at the Ebeltoft Marina we met some locals, some speaking with a British accent. Come to find out Steve and David are Brits, only recently transplanted to Denmark for David’s job expanding the local airport’s routes.

The next day they invited us for dinner where we met Ken, Steve’s uncle who moved with them. As well as Shawn the Sheep, their robotic mower,

and, Khai, their black lab, who’s trained to get a carrot before they sit down at dinner and then leave the humans undisturbed.

Another magical evening occurred filled with excellent food, including a traditional Danish cake baked by David,

wonderful conversation, and lots of laughter.

Plus, a lovely surprise awaited us the day before we left… some of Steve’s precious cheese scones sent all the way from Mullion in Cornish by his mom. Folks line up to buy her scones weekly when they’re sold to raise funds for a local non-profit. And, believe me, they’d be worth any wait!


Another amazing social occasion occurred the night before we left Ebeltoft. Two people asked where our home in Maine was. From there we discovered they’d sailed there in the 1990s. Then, they asked if we knew Dick and Ginger on ALCHEMY?

My god, we had just checked Marine Traffic to see where ALCHEMY was on their crossing back to the states!  (which they’re doing, by the way, via the northern route, including Iceland and Greenland…).

We invited Inge and Wolfgang aboard

only to end up on their boat, one in which they’d completed a circumnavigation 2000-05.

The next morning we waved as STELLA MARIS left to continue their summer on the water before returning to their land home in Germany.

How fortunate to have met Steve, David and Ken followed by Inge and Wolfgang. New friends in new places. We love it!



Saturday, July 8

As the second largest city in Sweden, Goteborg offers a more relaxed atmosphere than Stockholm. The founding fathers established the city in 1621 to rid themselves of the Danes’ taxing Swedish ships. Then to protect themselves they hired Dutch engineers and workers to build a defensive canal system.

Foreign trade followed by ship building boomed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries but crashed in the 1980s. Today commerce and industry (such as Volvo) generate the income for the residents.

The Avenyn, a long boulevard, stretches to a lovely art museum, the Kontsmuseet. We joined others walking around (it was a lovely day), passing “The reincarnation”, an interesting green sculpture by the Japanese Installation artist Tetsunori Kawana.

His words describe it best:

Michael had given us directions saying all we needed to do was mention we wanted to go to the Poisiden. No wonder as this statue stood arrogantly gazing down the Avenue as it guarded the museum’s doors behind hit.

The museum offered art ranging from the Old Masters (1450-1750) including works by Lucas Cranach the Younger and special exhibit on Rembrant (whose techniques were documented in an informative video)

to contemporary sculpture with a twirling fashionista modeled in styrofoam and covered in plaster. Bizaare and a bit mesmerizing to watch.

Of course, what’s modern art without something, well, some thing such as this piece by Lenke Rothman (1929-2008) called “Dedication. To El Greco and his Benefactors in the 1500s”.

You figure it out. I moved on.

We also saw some well-known French Impressionists (Degas, Monet, Van Gogh, for instance).

But, my attention focused on the Nordic artists. Different rooms featured either a period of art or a solo artist. Some were familiar after seeing them in other museums:

Erik Werenskiold (1855-1938)
His later paintings here seemed rougher, such as “Ray of Sunlight” (1891)

than ones I’d seen previously until I spotted this one, “On the Plain” (1883)

which is a sister painting to one I saw and loved in Oslo.

Edvard Munch (1863-1944)
We’ve actually stood where he painted this gentleman in Kragero.



I was exposed to other art thanks to a collection of Pontus and Gothilda Furstenberg who have a gallery dedicated to artists at the turn of the century in 1900:

Carl Larsson (1853-1919) who worked in a variety of media, painting daily-life scenes

and light-hearted ones.

He even painted this gallery in 1885. It was easy to recognize some of the work hanging both in his picture and in the actual room.

Richard Bergh (1858-1919)
I loved the romantic atmosphere in his “Nordic Summer Evening” (1899-1900),

and his “Girl picking flowers” (1884)

Bruno Liljefors (1860-1939)
Look at the detail in this painting of a birds (1888). This artist represents the Opponents’ Movement, members of the Artist’s Union who opposed the Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm. Luckily for them, Pontus Furstenberg supported them.

Ernest Josephson (1851-1906)
His portrait of “Nennie al Geijerstam” (1885) perfectly captures someone who appears relaxed and resigned to have her likeness immortalized in oil. Can’t you just see her saying “What? Again?!” ?

Alfred Wahlberg (1834-1906)
Since we’d recently docked in this harbor the title caught my eye:  “Moonlight, Fjallbacka” (1881)

As did his “A May Day, Nice” (1878).


Peder Severin Kroyer (1851-1909)
Speaking of catching my eye, this artist’s “Hip, Hip, hurrah! Artists’ Pary, Skagen” (another town we almost visited this summer) (1888) features the painter himself an other artists/friends– standing, starting from the left: Martha Johansen, her husband Viggo Johansen, Christian Krohg, the parinter himself P.S. Kroyer, Degn Brondum, Michael Ancher, Oscar Bjorck and Thorvald Niss; Sitting, Helene Christiansen and Anna Ancher with her little daughter.

Viggo Johansen (1851-1935)
His “At Sunset” (1895) captures a stillness in spite of what must have been filled with a lot of quacking when he painted it.

Johan Krouthen (1858-1932)
I love the radiance in this “Haystacks, Summer Scene from Skagen” (1884).


Gustaf Fjaestad (1868-1948)
My photo doesn’t do this justice but it certainly brought winter into summer with his “Snow” (1900).


One room spoke of Matisse’s strong influence of Swedish painters, two of them being:

Isaac Grunewald (1889-1946)
“Jules Pascin, Artist” (1921)

and his wife Sigrid Hjerten (1885-1948)
“Figures on the Beach” (1917) whose depiction is exactly how I’d want to be captured if painted in my bathing suit…


More rooms and more artists continued to draw my eyes.


Some I liked…

Alf Lindberg (1905-1990)
“Death of the Dryads” (1965)

Some, not so much…  Yet, any background information helps understand a painter’s work such as:

Ake Goransson (1902-42) was a hairdresser by training but pursued art studies as well. In the early ‘30s he isolated himself and his mom in a small, one-room flat and proceded to paint still lifes, interiors (no kidding), and street scenes viewed from his window. He was admitted to a hospital in 1937, and his mother burnt thousands of his drawings yet kept some paintings hidden in the kitchen sofa. They were discovered in the 1940s.

“Cat in the Basket” (1930-32)
Not necessarily something I’d hang on my wall but a pretty unique way to nurture one’s art…


In the 1930s the Gothenburg colorists became known for, what else, their bright colors. Ragnar Sandberg’s (1902-1972) work below demonstrates this:

“Card Players” (1938)

and his “Self Portrait” (1937)



Ivar Arosenius (1878-1909), an artist who also created a storybook illustrator and whose work was honored by hanging in a room of its own:

“Self Portrait” (1908)
He appears rather intense…

But his watercolor of “Self Portrait with Poultry and Pigs” places him in a friendlier scene but doesn’t appease his broodiness.

And, his “The Knight and the Six Maidens at the Table” (1905) takes one to an entirely playful world. Although, I have to say, his boxum ‘maidens’ would look just as comfortable sitting at a Hugh Hefner or Donald Trump feast…

Moving onto a much more innocent-looking scene:   August Malmstrom’s (1829-1901) “The Little Girl’s Birthday” made me want to create a similar surprise birthday morning.

Sofie Ribbing’s (1835-1894) “Boys drawing” (1864) produces a a pin-drop quietude. I found myself almost tiptoeing past so as not to disturb their concentration.

And, of course, I couldn’t go past some marble figures without taking photos of two of them:

Per Hasselberg’s (1850-1894) “Grandfather”; no explanation needed.

and Monika Larsen Dennis’ (1963- ) shows what Auguste Rodin’s statue “The Kiss” could be if the man and woman just left their impressions.


After two hours we left for another part of the city, the Haga, where the Dutch workers (mentioned at the beginning of this post) lived. Now it’s a happening place, thrumming on this beautiful summer day with strollers, shoppers, and al fresco diners.

Which reminded us of wanting to get back to Syrso to continue our Swedish summer weekend :)

SWEDEN: West Coast – Fjallbacka


Monday-Tuesday, June 26-27

Another gorgeous day found us sailing further south. CANTY, Paul and Marty’s boat with Doug and Dale aboard as we both neared Dannholmen,

the unassuming island home of Ingrid Bergman from 1958 until her death 25 years later.

CANTY headed for the next NAS cruise destination while we turned into a lovely town harbor just around the corner.

The town where we were headed for the night, Fjallbacka, honors this famous actress with a small square named after her and billboards documenting her time here.

You may have noticed the huge, looming wall of stone backing the Ingrid Bergman memorial. Well, you can climb this piece of rock to capture a view out to the sea. Swallowing my trepidation of scrambling over some stones then ascending a steep stairway, we set out to do so.

First, though, you walk under the threat of being crushed to death, which I pointed out to my husband.

Only to find that on the other side a paved road brought you to the stairway.

However one gets there, it was definitely worth the view from the top as mentioned by our friends the Bruces and Rogers who’d been there. We snapped portraits while I ensured neither of us got too close to the edge.

In addition to being a storybook-looking town nestled against a protective stone wall, Fjallbacka offered us the opportunity to visit the Vitlycke Museum and its Bronze Age rock carvings 10 miles inland.

The small Tourist Information (TI) office’s posted hours indicated it was closed, but when we walked back along the sidewalk we found it open. A bustling but smiling local greeted us saying the regular person had retired and now the local historical society had taken on the TI job. They must have offered hospitality training for this lovely woman couldn’t have been more helpful.

Our primary purpose for being in Fjallbacka was to visit the museum and its Bronze Age Cave Carvings (or Cave “Chiselings” as the guides told us). With the regular tourist bus not starting until July 1 we could either hitch or take a cab. Our previous attempts at hitchhiking this summer hadn’t produced a single ride so we kept our thumbs tucked in and opted for a cab. Within 15 minutes we arrived at the museum, a site on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994.

With four rock carving sites spread throughout 45 km2 we managed to reach two of them on foot and the museum. Our timing allowed us to join a guided tour in English to the main site, the Vitlycke Panel.

Here we learned that where now we looked out, a green meadow use to be water. The sea level was 15 m (about 50 ft) higher 3,000 years ago and the climate akin to southern France.

With no written language archaeologists are mainly guessing at exactly what these drawings mean. And, they have a lot to guess at, although boats are pretty straightforward:

as are the images of guys…
Very few females are depicted but they believe this scene called ‘The Grieving Woman’ (females have a ponytail and/or wear a long robe) cradles a man lying with his head between her knees.

Another famous image is the ‘Lovers’. They surmise this represents a sacred marriage promoting fertility in humans, animals and crops:  where a man or god dies and is reborn once a year to marry a goddess.

Being located in Nordic lands archaeologists tie many of these chiseled images to myths associated with the Vikings, such as the symbolic use of the hammer or axe, held by the figure next to the lovers. This pairing occurs often so maybe this  figure is blessing the coupling?

Many researchers believe the Bronze Age is the start of the Nordic gods, Odin, Thor and Freya. Based on that this scene of the man with a horned helmet in a horse/goat-drawn, two-wheeled cart could be Odin, and the squiggly snake right in front of him, a lightening bolt.

I don’t know. Give me a few G&Ts and I bet I could come up with some other explanation…

What I definitely agree on are the boats; and, that there’re lots of them. Over 10,000 of them are found in this area of Sweden. The short ‘crew-strokes’ are the men rowing the vessels,

Thankfully, boats are one of the few ways archaeologists can date some of these images. They match them to drawings found on Bronze Age artifacts.

At the Aspeberg site, aka “The Holy Mountain” due to the number of rock carvings in the area, we saw the famous sun symbol. Held by two females and two undetermined gender figures this image is considered the best sun symbol in this Bohuslan Province.

Below you see bulls or cattle representing the importance of livestock (and farming) to the Bronze Age people. 

You can make out in the middle, righthand side a man plowing. Since archaeologists say all of the carvings during the Bronze Age are never of everyday life this guy must be performing a religious rite for regrowth of crops.

The chiseled images weren’t painted this brick red.

The archaeologists did it for easier viewing  (see above non-red chiseled image) and to ensure tourists didn’t attempt filling in the stone troughs in order to take better pictures.

What I also found interesting was the museum’s displays connecting this site with others around the world. For example, researchers find a strong similarity between these carvings in Bohuslan and those found from the Greek Minoan and Mycenaean cultures during the Bronze Age.

Behind the museum we toured a typical Bronze Age farm or household. Since communities didn’t really start until later, generally a family of 12 or so would live in one area and in one big structure. Towards the end of the Bronze Age when the climate became colder, the livestock would be in one side and people in the other.

As someone mentioned in their description these people didn’t live as primitive of a life as he had originally thought. I’d have to add my nod to that. Although I’m not so sure about the hygiene.

We spotted a young fellow dressed in clothes from the Bronze Age (not too, too bad of an outfit) offering visitors the opportunity to use a bow and arrow. With a last name of Fletcher derived from fletching the bow’s feathers, you know who couldn’t resist.

Being asked if I liked to, I said sure and stepped up.

I won’t say whose arrow hit the closest to the bulls-eye (on the first try at that). However, I will say if it’d been chiseled out, the figure would have had a ponytail…

Coming up:  connecting  36º 51′ 47″ N, 76º 0′ 56″ W  to  58º 10′ 59″ N, 11º 24’00” E

OSLO: Grand Finale!

Tuesday-Tuesday, June 6-13


NORSKE FOLKEMUSEUM (Norwegian Folk Museum)

Our last day in Oslo we spent roaming the Norwegian Folk Museum located on the Bygdoynes Peninsula. Established in 1894 to preserve historic structures, the museum’s collection increased substantially under King Oscar II. Now numbering 161 (to be exact) structures from the 1500s to current times, this museum provides an easy stroll through history.

Within ten minutes from stepping off JUANONA we arrived at the entrance on a lovely summery day. Being a bit museumed-out we decided to hit just the highlights, then head back to Juanona to prep for leaving the next morning.

Armed with a pamphlet we opted to visit the oldest buildings with their roof meadows

and wooden interiors with simple decor.

The Stave Church sitting on top of a small knoll dominated the oldest sections of the museum; a third of its original framework dates back to the 1200s.

Paintings from the 1600s post-reformation decorate the altar and walls.

And, it was here where we first encountered two wonderful people whom we soon discovered hail from the Boston area. Of course, that ended with us asking them aboard JUANONA for drinks.

Our tour complete an hour later we exited and headed back to JUANONA.



Before I continue to our last evening in Oslo I wanted to mention some incidentals from our week there. They may provide a  fuller picture of our time touring, and living on a boat. In spite of planning a day’s excursion we never know what will pop up, which is how we enjoyed the “Dissimilar Festival”.

Staged in the main square next to the harbor and the Nobel Peace Center we watched as exuberant children and adults celebrated those who are different due to disabilities. I have to say you couldn’t help but join in when one of the performers started his act:

Pretty wonderful.

Next to the festival Max took on the challenge of trying his balance, which, of course, I wanted to document…

as well as his questionable culinary selection at an outdoor food vendor selling a dense white sponge composed of fish meat? slapped between two buns.

I declined his offer of a bite as I knew why he was offering…

On this day we also watched as the Norwegian rescue service, Redningsskelskapet (RS), shared information on safety at sea while thrilling little kids with rides in miniature RS boats.

Our days weren’t only spent touring but also with urgently needed necessities such as laundry. The effort to keep (and stay) clean requires finding a washing machine I can stuff to maximum capacity (and then some) – a search akin to hunting a rare, if not extinct, species.

At KNS, our marina, they offer free use of a washer and dryer, which is great; however, finding it empty of others’ salty attire meant constantly checking early morning and late afternoon/night. Finally, it happened on one of our last days and I zipped in, loaded the machine, tried the dryer (didn’t work too well) and then decorated JUANONA the usual way: above deck when the sun is out…

and below when the sprinkles start.

There’s nothing like fresh clothes and bedding to make both the boat and us smell sweeter :)

But, back to the best part of traveling…



At 6 PM Melanie and Anthony came aboard and all we can say is what a spectacular end to our time in this fair city.

She’s a professor at Massasoit Community College; he’s the president and artistic director of Boston’s Children’ Choir, and together they’re an amazing team of living life to the fullest while managing to save for future travels.

For five hours we talked and laughed and talked some more. Their adventures are truly inspiring. They’ve seen more countries at their age than most folks would get to in three lifetimes, and their adventures could easily fill a book – one I’d definitely enjoy reading.

Hopefully, they’ll be starting to share their discovery of places and travel tips via some posting on sites; and, when they do, we’ll be checking them out. Already we’re using one of their ideas for future planning.

Suddenly it was 11:30pm in spite of a sky usually related to a much earlier hour. Time to say our good-byes, not something I wanted to do.

As they ran to catch one of the last buses off the peninsula back to Oslo center, Max and I realized just how extremely fortunate we’ve been to have met them. And, not only Melanie and Anthony but the other young people who have inspired us this summer:  Thomas, Camilla and Michael with whom we shared a pontoon in Farsund (our first Norwegian port this spring)* ;

and, Snorre and Ingunn who invited us for dinner our first night in Oslo)**.

Our week in Oslo had come to a close. It began and ended with shared evenings, the most memorable of our time in Oslo, for sure, with hopes to continue our conversations in the future.

Cruising is amazing.


*       S/y Equinox on FaceBook

**     http://www.sy-spinnvill.com

OSLO: Even their outdoors is artistic…

Tuesday-Tuesday, June 6-13


HOLMENKOLLEN (Norway’s Ski Jump)

A 30-minute train ride took us to a station where we could visit Norway’s Olympic ski jump. It appeared part of the experience was hiking the steep road to reach this massive vertical slide, which we did under a cloudy and drizzly sky.

But, climb we did where we paid our entrance fee and circled through a history of Norway’s national past-time of playing on the snow.

As we wandered through on our way to view the top of the ski jump, I discovered that one pole, not two, was the norm until 1890. Besides balance and braking, some poles could be used for other purposes, such as finding reindeer fodder, for drinking, even for hunting bears.

I also learned how skiing morphed from a sport for the well-to-do (those who had free time) into a national activity beginning in 1883 with the founding of the Association for the Promotion of Skiing. Kristiania (Oslo) purchased the recreational area, Marka, where we now stood, in 1899 so all could enjoy nature and skiing. People would take to the slopes with their skis and a picnic of oranges and chocolate.

Fridtjof Nansen’s name popped up several times during our visit. First in the displays covering some polar explorations, which is where we saw the jury-rigged dinghy, “The Turtle Shell”, that he and Sverdup used on their self-rescue ordeal in the Arctic.

The other was his influence in getting King Haakon VII on skis,

which the King took up along with his wife Queen Maud

and their son, Hartvig, whose photo below makes me want to reach out and hug this little being.

It’s not surprising Nansen was able to get the king on skis because it was Nansen’s urging of the Danish prince Carl to become Norway’s King. Another interesting tidbit picked up at this exhibit.

Now we had reached the elevator for the ride to the top. My fear of heights kept me hugging the railings. All I could think of was I could NOT imagine EVER going down this on anything knowing I’d be launched into space at speeds of up to 92 Kilometers per hour (57 mph).

Makes my palms sweat just thinking about it.

In spite of rain a magnificent panaramo presented itself as we looked towards the city and its harbor.

Our visit ended with the perfect portrait opportunity in which my good-natured husband participated. Whereas he brought some nobleness to the occasion…

I quickly countered it.

I’ve never been accused of taking myself too seriously. Which has its plusses… at times :)


VIGELANDSPARKEN and MUSEET (Vigeland Park and Museum)

Since my 20s sculptures have captivated me. Not that I’m a student of this art form because I can probably name only four famous sculptors off the top of my head. All I know is when I see one, I just want to be near it. So, when I read about this Norwegian sculptor, a visit to his museum and park was at the top of my list.

Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) was born in Mandal, a small town on Norways southeast coast. Must have been something in that small town’s water for multiple artists came from here:   Adolph Tideland (1814-1876) and Gustave’s friend Amuldus Nielsen (1838-1932), both of whose work we saw at the National Gallery. And Gustav’s youngest brother, Emanuel (1875-1948)  became known for his paintings, specifically frescoes, along with stained glass and sculptures .

During his childhood Gustav could be found whittling away in his father’s (a master carpenter) workshop. It became evident he had skill, which resulted in his apprenticeship to a master woodcarver in Kristiania (now Oslo). His interest migrated to sculpting, but with his father’s death in 1886, Gustave returned home to work the family farm. But, he continued his artistic endeavors by making sketches for future sculpting.

Two years later  he returned to the capital with hopes of fulfilling his dream of creating sculptures. After a few years of trying to earn his living as a wood carver Gustav showed his sketches to a famous sculptor, Brynhulf Bergslien. This led to the young artist’s years of working under renowned sculptors and traveling abroad as his skill as a sculptor grew.

At one point he and Edvard Munch shared the same Berlin hotel address. In spite of mutual artistic respect they weren’t friends, but were instead rivals, with both creating work around life’s passages:  Vineland’s “Circle of Life”; Munch’s “Frieze of Life”.

During his studies he held two exhibits, one in 1894 and the last in 1899. Both cemented his fame as a sculptor. By 1921 Gustav acquired an unheard of contract with the capital:  all of his works, both past and future, would belong to the city, in exchange for an annual salary and free studio space (converting to a museum upon his death).


(Note the statue in the forefront, which you’ll see again in this post)

To showcase his work, a segment of Oslo’s Frogner Park would be used.

We found ourselves heading to Gustav’s museum and park on a gray day of sprinkling rain; but, seeing his work made up for any ruing of the lack of sunshine.

The museum felt empty of people, which allowed us to easily roam the cavernous rooms filled with his models and explanations of the sculpting process.

I learned he began with biblical scenes, such as Cain fleeing with his family after killing his brother Abel (1891).

By the turn of the century Vigeland had moved beyond portraying religious events to the intimacy of relationships. Clothes dropped off, removing any distractions from the pure, naked emotions emanating from his stone figures. (Nude figures also ensured a timelessness since no attire meant no specific point in history.)

I mean, can’t you just feel the mother’s love for her child?

Or the powerful surge of lust in this kiss?

Gazing at his work found me standing open-mouth at its purity. How could a person imbue such power in such simple forms?

In addition to the above work he was commissioned for portraits of famous Norwegians, such as the mathematician Niels Henrik Abel (1902) (he’s the guy standing on top)…

feminist and novelist Camilla Collett (1909)…

and, inventor and philanthropist Alfred Nobel…


Vigeland employed fellow craftsmen to assist him in creating his monolithic statues. Stone masons, smiths (for the iron armatures inside the stone sculptures), and plasterers contributed to Gustav’s immense body of work.

Bronze also was used, one of his most famous pieces being the “Angry Boy”. An explanation on waste molding (so-called due to the modeling being chiseled away to reveal the master copy) explains the process. Although, I still need to see it done to really grasp the steps…

In 1913 granite became Gustav’s material of choice as he began sculpting in stone. With more and more pieces being created, he moved from carving the stone himself to assigning the best stone masons to recreate his plaster master copies. Under his intense scrutiny it could take up to two years to complete some of his stone groupings.

In a large room plaster models of trees formed of humans transitioning from birth to death eerily filled the room surrounding the fountain…

Full scale sculptures and a small one show the final layout.

After perusing the museum we walked the short distance to Vigeland Park. There we found others who, like us, were drawn to the magnificent forms created by this artist’s imagination.

The Circle of Life is the park’s main theme. Beginning in 1924 Gustav modeled all 212 pieces in clay at full-size. The final pieces were then carved in stone and cast in bronze by professional craftsmen, some completed after Gustave’s death in 1943.

To convey the extent of his work on display at Vigeland Park could take several posts, so I’ll just mention some of the most-noted sculptures we saw, many of which the original plasters we had just seen in the museum.

“Wheel of Life”, a symbol of eternity…

“Monolith”, easily seen from afar,

with 121 carved figures

and surrounded by 36 human groups of all ages…

The fountain …

One of his ironworks…

and, the bridge decorated with 58 statues, which you can just see.

Here we saw the “Angry Boy” in bronze. You can tell his popularity where folk held his hand for snapshots.

He stood on the bridge railing accompanied by other bronzes exhibiting wonder…



and, some, demonic behavior such as these babies tormenting this man.

At the time of his death of a heart infection Gustav Vigeland had produced 12,000 drawings, 420 wood carvings and approximately 1600 sculptures.

And, I could spend a lot more time gazing at every single one of them.



But, we didn’t have to go to Gustave’s park to realize Oslo’s abundance of sculpture. From stepping off the passenger ferry our first day I knew I was in sculpture heaven.

Some playful (or used for play)…

Some capturing history…

Norwegian Polar Explorers

Those who served in Norway’s Merchant Navy and Royal Navy during WWII

The tragic 1990 fire aboard the Scandinavian Star

And, some just poetic in their grace, such as this man sipping from his bowl of water.

But, Gustav’s human emotions remain my favorite.


Next, the grand finale!