Since “work expands to fill available time” is one of my most-feared adages, we’ve always packed the day before we leave on a long trip, so that the vacation doesn’t colonize extra time. This year, since the publishing has become hectic, I had to be organized, & start laundry and stray shopping 72 hours earlier & most of us are packed with 36 hrs to go. Just as well, as Roy still has to grade resits: 25 of them! Ugh!
I met Rose Marie Miller (wife of Jack Miller, founder of World Harvest Mission) & mother of my friend Paul Miller (of seeJesus.net) in London. A leader made fun of testimonies like “And then I prayed for a parking spot & I got one.” Rose Marie laughed, “How else would one get a parking spot in London?” I have reached that stage in many areas of my life. How else but by prayer am I to accomplish these goals & desires?
Somewhat like their mother, my girls use any new word or scrap of information in their conversation or writing within 24 hours (this is Roy’s observation!). Dinner yesterday was punctuated by calls, “Mum and Dad, chastise Zoe!” “Mum and Dad, chastise Irene!” (Zoe adds that they said “chastise” because if they ask Roy to tell their sibling off, he annoyingly says, “OFF!” She also adds that SHE knew chastised ages ago!
In Oslo. Spent yesterday in the Vigelanda Sculpture Park, a incredible assortment of 212 extra life-sized sculpture, bronze and granite, the life work of Gustav Vigeland. There is something holy and sacramental about creative work, and people who find or carve time to engage in it are lucky, blessed. We are going to visit the Munch Museum in Oslo today, and hit the fjords tonight.
I love living in a camper van, like a snail carrying its home with it! I enjoy having a loo, kitchen and bed at at my disposal in between our travels. Norway is very beautiful, and the Norwegians we’ve talked to seem friendly and helpful and eager to practice their English (compulsary second language in Norway.) Zoe and Roy are tidying up the mobile home, while I am, ahm, doing business stuff. Back to the road now!
Can’t say I liked the Munch museum, except for the later paintings like the Van Gogh-ish Starry Night 2. Enjoyed the University of Oslo Botanic Garden. On our way to Hardanger Fjord now!
We camped in the motor home by beautiful lakes the last two nights, making the most of Norway’s cherished “allsmensreit” (SP?) every man’s right to camp in the wild, an extremer version of Scotland’s. We camped in the Nordermarke, north forest, on the edge of Oslo, and last night in fjord country. We are now on our way to Varingfoss, the largest waterfall in Norway, at the head of Eidfjord.
Hiked by the Eidfjord today. Are going to take another hike in the Hardangervidda National Park, a barren lunar landscape (a bit like parts of Scotland, all lichen, and gorse, and stunted conifers, and beautiful clear mountain tarms. It’s Europe’s largest plateau, and I love it partly because of that–easy walking. The granite mountains around us are beautiful and awe-inspiring, sheated in mist.
Bought 4 beautiful hand-knitted traditional Norwegian sweaters today. Obviously high-quality & will prob. last a life-time. Enjoying t. Scandanavian flair for design–automated entry at museums with bar-coded tickets, automats to cut freshly baked bread. Were delighted to see grass growing on most mountain roofs, for insulation, I’m guessing & more delighted to see 4 goats, w. bells on tr. horns, grazing on t. roofs.
The adventure of motor-home camping: finding gorgeous free spots to sleep. Last night: a beautiful mountain dam; the nt. before by the Voringfoss Waterfalls, awe-inspiring cliffs of granite, t. waters creating a mist of fairy lace as they crash into the maelstrom. Hiked again in the Hardangervidda National Park. It’s above the tree-line, a blasted heath of pools, streams, tarns, stunted blueberries & cloudberries.
We must move on, but are captivated by the Hardangervidda National Park and t. absolutely beautiful, still & gorgeous Eidjfjord. I love t. little miniature natural gardens of lichen, gorse, star moss, stunted conifers. Peace & stillness! We’ve mainly picknicked or had gourmet dinners cooked by Zoe with Roy’s help in t. camper’s kitchen. Norwegian food is fresh, v. high quality & delicious–cheeses, meats, fish, fruit.
We have now taken a ferry and crossed the Hardangerfjord. Gorgeous. Wifi access is easy throughout Norway, so I’m journalling on FB while a immune-system boosting soup simmers (leeks, garlic, parsley, onion, tomatoes, and some meat, a concession to the children). It’s chilly and damp here, and we are fighting off coughs & colds with prayer, soup, bundling up, & optimism.
Western Norway has jacketed trees, covered in knitted jackets with fancy Scandanavian patterns. The children have loved the trip. I bought them cameras and vidcams with lots of bells and whistles. This has stimulated their interest in nature, and they have taken loads of pictures of mushrooms, moss, lichen, tarns, fjords. They are also keeping extensive journals, and writing stories w. elves, trolls, giants….
Travel on the winding roads in Norway takes longer than I realized. Next stops Jostedalsbreen National Park with drive-up-to glaciers, and Jotunheim National Park, home of the giants in Norse Mythology, and Norway’s highest mountains. Also going to take short hikes by as many fjords as we can.
01 September 2009
Spent the morning driving around Hardangerfjord with several very short walks, and photobreaks. Peaceful, tranquil and startlingly beautiful. Just as well that we’ve shaken off our colds and coughs, since you cannot get cold medicine, such as sudafed, or the night sudafed called “night nurse” in the UK without a prescription here! Talk about a nanny state!
02 September 2009
The Hardangerfjord is about 100 km round trip with half a million fruit trees planted around it. We’ve stopped at orchards and bought their really delicious plums (a rare variety the previous owners, connoisseurs of rare fruit trees like medlars and mulberries, have planted in our mini-orchard, oddly) and apples. Don’t want to leave, but must step
up our speed. School starts on the 9th September alas!
02 September 2009
Driving around Sognefjord on the way to the glaciers. Hillsides turning red with very, very sweet blueberries. Hills around the fjord thickly planted with pollarded, coppiced and espaliered pears, plums and apples. Thrifty and sensible people! The fjord views must be seen to be believed! Pictures to follow once home in England.
Our last two days were fantastic–the best of the trip! We camped last night at the Boyabreen Glacier, a fantastic mass of blue green with a secondary waterfall beneath it. Zoe and Irene hiked up right to it, while Roy and I walked around the stunningly beautiful and tranquil glacial lake with the odd loons on it. Restorative!
04 September 2009
Have just hiked right up to the Suppehellabreen Glacier, across rocky streams, and scrambling over rocks. I was a bit nervous, but was thrilled to finally touch and climb onto the glacier. One of the most beautiful bits was the cave of ice formed un…der the glacier! I love the friendly shaggy mountain sheep which RUN upto cars. People obviously feed them! It was incredibly cold near the glaciers!
04 September 2009