Page 17 of 19

Catch of the Day

Our boys were thrilled they could fish as soon as we got to Laerdal.   Immediately, they were able to go fish on the fjord.  They started off their fishing adventure by walking through the cold water of the fjord on a narrow rock bar.  They had no luck in the shallow water.  We found a little inlet in the fjord where the water was calmer, deeper and closer to shore.  Here using only rooster tail lures both Goalielocks and the Mayor were able to catch their first sea trout.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Mayor’s was too small to keep, but Goalielocks’ fish was large enough to keep and also didn’t survive its re-entry to the water.  Since we had a nice fresh catch from the fjord, we cooked it up for dinner along with Norwegian meatballs with kjottkakesaus, jasmine rice, and corn.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My hats of to my hubby the chef as the meal was more than edible, it was delicious.  We bribed Goalielocks and the Mayor since they are picky eaters.  We bribed them with the promise of an after dinner fishing session.   Dinner went well and they were quickly back on the fjord fishing.   What’s cool here in Norway is that fishing on the fjord is free.  If we wanted to fish the rivers for salmon or trout, we would have to get a special license from the government and potentially from the owner of that particular section of river.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While the younger two and dad fished, Jake and I explored the town on foot.  We enjoyed a beautiful walk near the fjord and down the Laerdal River, where we’re hoping to run sometime tomorrow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Flamsbana

Last night we took the Flamsbana (Flam Railway) up to Myrdal and back down.   Myrdal is only accessible by train either the Flamsbana or the Bergen Line.  The quaint mountain station is 867 meters above sea level.  The round trip from Flam to Myrdal takes a little over two hours.  The views from the railway are second to none.

IMG_0870IMG_0864IMG_0863

We loved the view of the mountains, waterfalls, the Flam River and the Flam Valley from the tracks.  The highlight of the train ride is the stop at the Kjosfossen Waterfall at almost 2,200 feet above sea level.   This waterfall is fed by Reinunga Lake and is truly spectacular waterfall with a total fall of over 738 feet.  The only part viewable from the train and the nearby platform is the upper falls.  The falls continue under the platform and rail bridge plunging into the gorge.  Additionally, there is also a power plant on the Kjosfossen waterfall that powers the Flam Railway.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As part of the trip on the Flamsbana, there is a 5 minute stop ascending the tracks to Myrdal and a 5 minute stop on the descent to Flam.  Importantly, there is significant spray on the platform, so it isn’t a bad idea to have your camera and phone in a protective bag.    Additionally, during this stop there are three actresses, who appears as Huldra.   In Scandinavian folklore, Huldra is a seductive forest creature that lures men and takes them into the mountain to marry her.   The dance is performed to traditional music and adds to the ambiance.

This train trip has multiple departures daily and costs about $58 per adult ticket and $29 for a kid’s ticket.  It is absolutely worth the price and is a must do if you ever travel to Flam.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

The Fjord at Night

Before we prepared for bed this evening, I  took some pictures of the Aurlandsfjord with my new camera.  These photos of the fjord at night were all taken after midnight in natural light.  I will say that being in the land of the midnight sun throws off your internal clock.  You don’t want to sleep when it looks like it is 6:00 pm.  Worse than that, the kids don’t want to go to sleep when the sun is still up, but I digress.  I am happy with how they turned out and look forward to experimenting more with photography at night.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cousins Experiencing Norway Together

One of the best parts of this trip thus far is the time our boys are getting to spend with their cousins X, P and Kai. Since we live in Florida and X & P live in Minnesota and Kai in Seattle, the kids don’t get to see each other nearly as much as they would like to. This is a trip that they’ll savor because of the good times they shared with their cousins.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Connecting With Our Roots in Romskog

Though my grandfather passed away when I was a young girl, I will never forget the pride he felt for his Norwegian heritage. His family had immigrated to the US in the late 19th century.  At first they settled in Northfield, Minnesota and later Erskine, Minnesota. Today we had the opportunity to see the community and the farm from which our family came.

IMG_0484IMG_0442

The weather was sunny, bright and warm, a welcome change after Trondheim, as we headed west to Romskog this morning to meet our family. GPS and Waze work fairly well here, however, they’re never 100% in these old cities. Nonetheless, we made our way through the Norwegian countryside, which was growing increasingly wild with our drive. The landscape reminds me a lot of Northeastern Minnesota, so it really isn’t a surprise many Scandinavian settlers chose to settle in that region.

IMG_0522IMG_0519

We met our extended Trandem family at beautiful small, lakeside church in Romskog. As we walked into the church grounds we were greeted by our Norwegian family and shown where our ancestors were buried. It was crazy to see graves going back to the 18th century. The weather has worn their gravestones, so they’re a bit hard to read which you’ll notice on the pictures. Our family gave us a history of the church and the items in it, which was fascinating.  

 

The kids finding all of this boring had made their way down to the lake and were climbing on the rocks and gallivanting about the beach. Our kids were in heaven and would have been happy to stay at the beach all day, but our relatives had tailored a tour of the town, so we embarked on exploring the Romskog area by car.

With each stop on the tour, my boys became more enthralled with the area. The beautiful lakes, forests and hills were definitely calling their name. I’m pretty sure they want us to buy a cabin on Lake Romsjoen as soon as possible. For the adults, seeing the Trandem farm and houses was amazing. We got to see the home where my Grandfather’s grandfather Andreas, whom I was named after, was born.  In fact, he lived there until he immigrated to the US. The farm, which had once covered much of Romskog County and extended to the Norwegian-Swedish border has since been sold off. Our family now lives in a house above the farm and others now live in Sweden.

Post tour, they hosted us at their home for lunch, which was incredible. Their hospitality, their food, their garden and their home were incredible. They were so welcoming of all 16 of us, including our six kids. Our kids, meanwhile, had the time of their life playing in their yard and running and playing together. It was truly a magical day.  Moreover, it was a wonderful opportunity for us to connect with our past and our extended Norwegian family.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Exploring Oslo

After the long drive from Trondheim, we quickly settled into our AirBnB and headed out to meet our family.  We spent time along the waterfront and picked up some dinner at the food trucks on near the Nobel Center.  Jake, Goalielocks, Dad and I enjoyed a tasty fresh crepe while the Mayor had a spring roll.

We walked the waterfront heading up to Akershus Fortress to get a better viewpoint of the Oslofjord.  The vistas from the fortress are absolutely amazing. If you ever make your way to Oslo, you must make a stop as the Akershus Fortress.  The grounds of the fortress were equally impressive.

FullSizeRender 5

Most of the museum close by 18:00 and it was well after this, but the grounds of the fortress were still open or so we thought.  Never low on drama or shenanigans, we (along with some other tourists) did have a run in with the military police, who informed us the grounds were now closed.   The only problem was, of course, so too were all of the exits.

IMG_8444

Thank god my older brother speaks Norwegians and was able to speak to the guards, who were willing to let us out their guarded entrance.  The youngest kids made their way out of the turn-styles, which locked after each individual exited.  The MPs seeing this and understanding the struggle, opened the main gate so we could quickly exit the grounds.

IMG_8421

We ended our night at the magnificent Oslo Opera house where you can literally walk up and down the side and roof of the building.  The kids had a blast skipping rocks and running around on the building’s roof and near the water line.  We were crossing our fingers that they wouldn’t slip into Oslofjord, which at this point is shallow, but would have made for an incredibly chilly walk back to the hotel.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Little Side Trip

After a wonderful lunch and visit with our Norwegian relatives, we decided as a group to make a border run since we were so close.  We caravanned our way across the Norwegian-Swedish border and stopped to take a couple of pics. Since we were so close, it made sense to explore Norway’a neighbor.

IMG_8492IMG_8502IMG_8503IMG_8504

 

Journey Southward

After a couple days bumbling around in a fog courtesy of jet lag and a long travel schedule, we’re all starting to feel a bit normal. We started our day with a killer hotel breakfast at the Radisson Blu in Trondheim. More options than one could possibly imagine at a free breakfast buffet and all of high quality. I quite enjoyed the crepes and the petit pain au chocolat. While my boys enjoyed the eggs, fresh fruit and croissants. Post breakfast we hit the grocery store and made a quick Starbucks run where we met a nice barista from Brazil, who ended up in Trondheim after meeting a boy in California.

IMG_0331

The weather was cooler this morning, but drier so it felt warmer out than the thermometer suggested. We headed south through some light rain for a bit before we hit some sunny weather. We took a different route back to Oslo that had incredible vistas of mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and valleys. The beauty of the drive is impossible to describe adequately with words, so I’ll add some photos.

IMG_0365

The downfall of driving so far is that the kids get stir crazy and start to fight over things like who has more leg room proportionately and who should have more leg room based on their size. Needless to say the Mayor and Goalielocks were without their phones for much of the drive.

 

We stopped in Lillehammer to have a picnic lunch at Olympic Park, which looks almost abandoned although we did see a team come in for training. It was a nice break in the drive and the boys enjoyed the opportunity to see the ski jumps and the torch. We hit the road again for the final leg of our journey to Oslo, which included our first experience with an undersea tunnel and AirBNB. It took us awhile to find the key pick up place and navigate the city, but we made it and our apartment is fantastic. We’re looking forward to our stay in Oslo.

IMG_8390 2

Exploring Trondheim

We spent our morning exploring Trondheim with my parents, my grandma, my brother and his family, my cousin and her family and my aunt and uncle. Trondheim is a great walking town, so we haven’t needed the car once since we got here. The weather is quite a bit colder than Florida, a refreshing and rainy 55 degrees.

One of the coolest sites in Trondheim is Nidarosdomen, Nidaros Cathedral, which is the northernmost cathedral in Europe. The cathedral was built on the burial site of St. Olav and work started in 1070 as a tribute to the King and was completed in 1300. The church’s denomination (as with the rest of Europe) was originally Roman Catholic Church, but post reformation it’s denomination is the Church of Norway.  It is truly a saintly place.

We stayed for the organ meditation where many of us fell asleep courtesy of a long travel day and some jet lag. The kids were only hushed once, which was a complete miracle. My boys lit a candle to honor Debbie. Each of the kids lit a candle to say a prayer, threw coins into the wishing well, and left a note of gratitude with a stone on an alter. Only two of them burnt themselves on the candles, another small miracle.

 

After the brief nap, or the 1:00 pm organ meditation, we made our way down to the crypt. Its much different from the catacombs of Rome or Notre Dame in Paris. In Norway, the burial practices were much different. In medieval times, they did not embalm people and they reused graves. This means the headstone would change when they would bury someone else in the grave. These headstones, some of which were for knights and other dignitaries, were what was kept in the crypt.

In the Nidaros Complex there are several museums including the crown jewels, the Archbishops palace where you can see the actual excavation sites, and a military museum. We were able to go into all of them on our combined ticket. The boys favorite was the military museum while mine was the Archbishop’s Palace and the military museum.

IMG_0296IMG_0315IMG_0297

Post cathedral, we took a nice nap. For those that know me that will come as quite a shock as I am not a napper. Tomorrow I’ll grab some pictures of the free breakfast, which is absolutely incredible.