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Ecstatic

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The word ecstatic means: Feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement, and that is what I’m doing here today.

I haven’t posted in a very long time. I’m not sure anyone out there remembers this site or will even read this post, but that doesn’t matter.

Let me explain… I do not consider myself a writer.

I am a reader.

I wrote a book that did not come from talent or imagination. It was just me telling my life story, punctuation, spelling errors and all. I started this blog to publicise that book, but soon found myself happier reading other blogs than writing one myself. So I stopped.

Now why am I sitting here today?…  Writing. Good question!

The only answer I can think of is excitement. I’m so excited, I can’t sit still and I want to shout from the roof top.

I’m going to England!

I’ve been there before. Many times actually, but this time is different. This time I’m going on a ‘literary pilgrimage’.

My parents are coming to Norway (where I live) for a visit, this Spring. My mother suggested that maybe her and I could take a little trip, an excursion while they are here. My first thought was Paris but then a friend soon put another idea into my head. Her and her daughter had just purchased cheap tickets to London and asked if we would like to travel with them.

Except for seeing a show and afternoon tea, London didn’t tempt me. Knowing however, that my mother didn’t care where we went, a thought crossed my mind. The same thought that crosses my mind whenever I think of England. Jane Austen.

Jane Austen has long been my favorite author. I’ve read all her books and although pleasurable, not an easy task. At least not for an American like myself. It’s like reading in another language, new and romantic. I love everything about them. While there is plenty of plot and adventure, they are genteelly written and domestically structured around marriage. They are about women.

If you have never attempted to read one of Jane Austen’s novels, you should, or at least see one of the many films based on them. I’ve seen both the Hollywood and BBC versions, (many times over) neither of which disappoint.

For me it’s not just her writing, but the author herself that entices. I want to walk where she has walked. And that is exactly what I am going to do come June, with a trip to Bath and Chawton cottage.

We will be taking a bus trip from London to Bath, stopping off at Stonehenge. Jane Austen lived several years in Bath. Here we will see the Roman Baths, take afternoon tea and of course visit the Jane Austen Centre.

We will also visit Chawton. I have a friend living near London named Claire, who has kindly offered to drive us. We will visit the village and cottage where Jane Austen spent the last eight years of her life. The literary shrine where six of our greatest novels were first written or given their final form.

I can already hear the birds singing and I’m ecstatic…

A list of my favorite Austen books, in order:

  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Persuasion (surprise)
  • Pride and Prejudice (usually the most popular)
  • Emma
  • Mansfield Park
  • Northanger Abbey

Start reading, Mom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer 2014

The American flag flying in Norway on the 4th of July. Pups in the yard. Grandkids on the trampoline.

Here’s to the summer of twenty-fourteen!

Kråkefjellet

Kråkefjellet

Magical evenings

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Evening is almost always the best part of the day here…

No matter how windy or rainy the day has been, it always seems to settle down in the evening.

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Most of the pictures I take are in the evening, right before the sun goes down.

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It’s a magical time…

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Time for a nightcap.

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Somewhere above the Arctic Circle

 

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Every year it’s the same story… Where should we go this summer for a suntan?

The reason is simple, we live in Norway.

Here in Norway, you can never-ever count on good weather.

Not even in summer!

Most Norwegians head south but not us. We go west, towards New Jersey. The Jersey Shore is a great place to spend summer.

This year, with my granddaughter coming over from the States we decided to stay right here in Norway. We were invited to a friends place, way, way up in the top of Norway and so while everyone else was flying south, we flew north…

I promised the locals I wouldn’t give our exact location, because they don’t like tourists wandering around while they’re trying to skinny dip ;)

I will tell you this… We were above the Arctic Circle and no one was more surprised than me at how beautiful it was.

It was a perfect, Norwegian summer!

Flyers

flyers

tea-time

tea-time

This was towards the end of  july and even though the sun set, it didn't get dark

The sun would set behind the mountains but that didn’t mean it would get dark

This picture was taken after the sun set, around midnight

This picture was taken after the sun set, around midnight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace and tranquility

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Norway at its best!

A love story

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Imagine if you will –the most perfect summer day. A warm sun, a gentle breeze and a clear blue sky.

Now try to visualize –the ultimate outdoor theater. Hundreds of people sitting on a grassy hillside overlooking a natural stage set in Viking times. Behind the stage, magnificent mountains and a sparkling Norwegian fjord.

A perfect setting for the timeless and tragic legend of, Viking Hagbard and Princess Signe.

Hagbard and Signe were from the same village, played together as children and fell deeply in love as teenagers. Hagbard is sent off to war and Signe promises to wait for him. Three years later thinking Hagbard is dead, Signe’s father has arranged for his daughter to marry a Russian prince. Hagbard comes back and Signe who is still very much in love with him, refuses to marry the prince. Her father is enraged and insists she honor her commitment, for the good of the village and to protect his reputation as a leader, and man of his word.

He bans Hagbard from the village and locks Signe up. Hagbard disguises himself as a woman and sneaks into the cabin where Signe is being held. The reunited lovers make plans to escape and runaway together, but are caught in the process. A fight breaks out and many people are killed.

Hagbard is captured, tried and sentenced to hanging. A distraught and desperate Signe begs for his life, but to no avail. On the day of Hagbard’s hanging a brokenhearted Signe sets her cabin on fire and also dies.

Singne’s father is grief stricken over the death of his daughter. Her mother, who had also begged for the lovers freedom leaves him.

He is left broken and alone.

Although sad and tragic, the play was also filled with music, dance and sword fighting. There were horses and a witch. They also carried in what looked like a real lamb (my husband assures me it was not) and slit its throat as a sacrifice to the Viking God, Odin. I found myself totally seduced by the surroundings and captivated by the Norwegian history. This production, bringing both tears and smiles, was absolutely mesmerizing!

Hagbard and Signe

Hagbard and Signe

the orchestra

the orchestra, and the small cabin where Signe dies in the fire

the witch

the witch, and Hagbard dressing as a woman so he can sneak in to see Signe

the sacrifice

the sacrifice

children singing and dancing

the village singing and dancing, in happier times

Hagbards trial

Hagbards trial

Hagbard and Signe's last goodbye

Hagbard and Signe’s last goodbye

the stage

the stage

the view was as dramatic as the play

and the view, which was every bit as dramatic as the play

Saying Good-bye

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My heart broke today…

Twenty-five years ago I made the monumental decision to take my children, leave America and live the rest of my life as an expatriate, in Norway.

When my children were small I had to send them back to the US every summer to visit their father. Putting three young children on an Airplane heading for the other side of the Atlantic was never easy for neither him, nor me. Those children are now grown with children of their own, our grandchildren. As fate would have it, three of them live in Norway and two in the US.

Three weeks ago their grandfather put the oldest one, Maren (eight years-old) on an airplane, to visit me here in Norway. Today, I sent her back to him.

While waiting at the gate this morning Maren fell asleep and before I knew it, someone from the airline had come to collect her for boarding. I woke her, took her in my arms and started to cry. I could see a line of people waiting for her to go, so they too could board (unaccompanied minors are always boarded first). I had no choice but to let her go…

I watched the beast intensely through a nearby window until every piece of luggage and passenger was onboard. Then lost sight as it was taxied away. But in my heart I could hear its mighty roar, as it whisked down the runway carrying my grandchild farther and farther away from me.

I stood there a while groping with my emotions before leaving.

Such is the life of an expat.

Finding treasure

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Did you know…?

Northern Norway lies above the Arctic Circle and is a wonderland of treasure…

The Northern lights illuminate the dark skies of winter, and the midnight sun provides endless days of summer.

The midnight sun also gives extra energy making it very easy to forget to go to bed at night.

A landscape of skerries, boat-houses, lapping waves and the cries of gulls ease away tension.

Would you like to see the treasures I found on my recent trip north…

boat-houses

boat-houses

sea-cabins

sea-cabins

crabs

crabs

sea urchins

sea urchins

starfish

starfish

shells

shells

coral

coral

cloudberries (moltebær)

cloudberries (multebær)

wildflowers

wildflowers

reindeer moss

reindeer moss

Nobel prize winner Knut Hamsun's childhood home

The childhood home of 1920 Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Knut Hamsun

relaxation

relaxation

and the midnight sun

and the midnight sun

A little visitor

Maren

Maren

I’m taking a summer, blogging break.

My eight-year-old granddaughter, Maren is flying, by herself (with assistance) from America to Norway. I was eleven the first time I flew to Norway without my parents, and her mother was twelve the first time she did it. That makes Maren the third generation of adventurous little girls. She is staying for three weeks and I can’t wait!

Pop Pop Harry and I are taking her on a trip to Hamarøy, which is an island up in the north of Norway. Friends of ours own land there and we will be staying with them, in a two hundred-year-old farm house. They have a daughter the same age as Maren, so it should be fun… the only problem is Maren doesn’t speak Norwegian and my friend’s daughter, Hannah doesn’t speak English! I guess I’ll be doing a lot of translating :)

Hamarøy is a place where where the sun shines twenty-four hours a day in the summer. Maren can play all night and sleep during the day, because it really doesn’t matter. She can go fishing, crabbing and has a good chance at spotting a whale. She’ll climb mountains, run through fields, pick berries and wild flowers. She’ll sleep in a lavvu, eat dinner in a lighthouse and cook hotdogs on the end of a stick, over an open campfire. She will also be able to explore the ocean floor when the tide goes out. It doesn’t matter how wet or dirty she gets, for this week, she will be one with Norwegian nature.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer too!

A Sunday trip

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Magma Geopark is an area of unique geology. The geopark is located in southwest Norway and is a member of the European and Global Geopark Networks. These networks are under auspices of UNESCO. I live in this area.

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Yesterday my husband and I met up with friends in the next town over, called Sokndal. Our goal was to find the abandoned titanic, iron/ore mines at Blåfjell (Blue Mountain), which were mined between 1863 to 1876 and where a total of 90,000 tons of ore was exported. We followed an old railway trail, which was once used to move the ore from 106 m above sea level to the coast about 8 km away.

 The nature was breathtakingly beautiful, too beautiful not to share…

Me and my friend Benthe

Before reaching the mines we passed Ruggesteinen, which is a large “rocking stone”. It is a huge block of anorthosite that fell from a steep slope. When it came to a halt it was balanced on small rocks, which makes it possible to move slightly -if you push on the right place.

I was able to rock it, but I needed a little help to get started.

I was able to rock it, but I needed a little help to get it started.

We found some other interesting things along the way as well…

The work of a beaver

The work of a beaver

The remains of an elg

The remains of an elk

We saw many different types of moss on the mountains.

And all different types of moss on the mountains

We also came across an abandoned movie-set used in the filming of a Norwegian historical murder mystery called, Skumringslandet. The English title is The Veil of Twilight and is set in 1349. The production ran into problems when two of its men were swept out to sea and drowned while filming scenes along the coast, during a storm. The film has yet to be released.

The abandoned movie set of Skumringslandet

The abandoned movie set of Skumringslandet

Finally we came to the mines, which had chains across the entrances and signs saying, Enter at your own risk. We of course entered but didn’t stay long. It was dark, damp and I was suddenly afraid there may be bats lurking…

The mines at Blåfjell

The mines 

On my way out

The cave entrance at Blåfjell 

it was a nice Sunday!

 

 

 

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