Genie and I landed in Norway in time for the May 17 Constitution Day celebration. We stayed with our friends Morten Langoy and Marit Berling. They said it was the coldest May 17 in 70 years. It rained all day too. Then, the next morning the sky cleared and we had a wonderful week with our friends.
Over the weekend, we also went up to their mountain cabin at Aadnaram, in Sirdal. The weather was beautiful up there. Norwegians say, "If the snow can still hold a man's weight by the second week of June, it's going to be a late spring." After skiing two days up there, we came back down to the coast.
Enjoy the photos and video.
These dresses are quite an investment. Most women get one when they are confirmed. Marit can still fit in hers. I'm impressed. Getting ready for the Parade on May 17, Constitution Day.
First we went to the local neighborhood parade with all the children from the surrounding schools.
People said it was the coldest May 17 in 70 years. It was raining too. Good thing most had a wool cape to wear.
This is a day of great national pride and celebration.
Heading out to the parade
After lunch, we went downtown for the big citywide parade.
Celebrating all the local organizations from Scouts to Soccer Teams, even an American Football team.
The elegantly embroidered dresses were the highlight
Saw several umbrellas try to blow away in the wind. Hearty souls were just ignoring the rain. The national motto: We didn't suffer.
We saw a number of marching bands in the parade
Morten worked for hours preparing the red, white and blue cake for the after parade celebration
In the traditional party after the parade, we had dinner with a group of Morten and Marit's friends.
which is adjacent to an open space full of wildlife and trails.
Mixing the old and new, they salvaged an old slate roof off a barn, and incorporated it into an otherwise modern design
Roe deer are frequent visitors to their back yard, along with Magpies, Pheasants, and we even saw a Hedgehog, our first such sighting in the wild.
The day after the parade, we awoke to blue skies, and the weather was beautiful for the rest of our week there.
We walked for an hour or so in the open space next to their house. Stopping for a rest and a view.
Walking with our friends. Marit and Morten came to Atlanta for advanced degrees. Morten took a PhD at Georgia Tech, and Marit took an Executive MBA to improve her English. She was in my class and team for two years at Georgia State.
Stavanger itself is fairly flat, having been gouged by glaciers. The rest of Norway is pretty mountainous.
Stavanger is the home of the oil business in Norway, and is hence the most affluent of Norwegian cities.
Fingers of the sea jut deeply into Norway, allowing access to the mountainous interior
We went for a cruise out to a tropical island near Stavanger
arriving at the tropical island
was the name given to the tropical paradise off Stavanger's shore
Some 40 years ago, the tip of this island was purchased as a retreat by a man who spent his career creating gardens. He came here to get away from his flowers.
Apparently he could not help beginning a garden despite his desire to get away from his work.
When he arrived, this was a fairly barren landscape, with no trees and little growing.
After planting trees to protect the land from the fierce northern winds, he began planting annuals, and building ponds, streams and waterfalls.
Although these plants are taken into a greenhouse for the winter.
Something beautiful about a growing roof.
Each of the water features is man made. The water is pumped back up and recycled over and over again.
After our tour of the garden, we came in for a sumptuous meal prepared by a Dutch chef
for our ride back to Stavanger
It did not get fully dark until nearly midnight, and by four AM, it was light and the birds are singing
Their term for mountain cabin is Hytte.
the cabins are nestled closely together so they can share a sewer system and preserve the pristine nature of the area.
This stretch of road heading to Oslo was just opened the day before. You can still see a mountain of snow
We got to ski for two days at the hytte. Following Marit off trail
Marit and Morten came out to Colorado one winter and we skied together in Rocky Mountain National Park. Here we ski near their cabin.
People stack rocks at the very top of the hill
Overlooking the valley and Fjord
We sat atop the hill overlooking this valley. We saw a car go past with a camera attached to the hood. Soon after, we saw three guys on mountain boards screaming down this hill, spinning out on the curves. Now, this is skateboarding on steroids. The car with the camera was following them down the hill taking video.
You can catch a ferry from the edge of this fjord and go all the way back to Stavanger, which is two hours by car.
Marit looked at this picture, and suggested the title
This is an incongruous shot. We saw this frog hopping along the surface of the snow.
Much of it was frozen over. but Marit led us to a picnic spot where it had melted out.
testing the waters for trout
Only about this big
Morten packed in his fishing gear. Here you see our skis planted in the snow, as he goes off to fish
Morten dips a line into the still waters
The sky cleared, the sun on the clear water made for some incredible photo opportunities
Picnic lunch spot with our friends Marit and Morten when we visited them in Norway
Morten brought a backpacking stove and a tupperware of frozen vegetable beef soup, in case we didn't catch any trout. Here we cook the soup, since the trout weren't biting
It's 90+ degrees in Atlanta
The soil is so rocky that these walls surround each pasture, and represent a tremendous amount of work clearing the rock from the soil
No luck fishing, but what a beautiful spot to try. This is on the outskirts of Stavanger, on the way to the beaches
Morten pointed out the three houses that had been built on the farm to house succeeding generations
It would be perfectly clear as the sun comes up at 4 AM, but clouds roll in from the sea as the day goes on
we had lunch among the boulders on the shore
Norway was occupied by Germany during World War II. They poured concrete along the coast to prevent an allied invasion that never came