Wednesday, September 15, 2010

From Bergen to Rosendal: Switching Sides of the Family

I was totally sold the second the boat left the dock in Bergen. This, my friend, is the way to travel. Not that I have anything against the buses. They have served me well... but zooming across the fjords on a beautiful sunny day, you just can't beat it.


Where once, I saw quite a similarity between the west coast of BC and the west coast of Norway... These days I don't. I see the similarities in that they're both coastal. The weather can often be the same... Other than that though, not so much. To me, Norway is unlike any other place in the world. The little coastal villages we passed by on the boat only enforced this more.

We arrived in Rosendal. Beth had been looking forward to this part since day one. Finally getting out into the countryside. Away from the city. Just relaxing with family. Fishing. Fishing. More fishing.

It was interesting for me because it was the opposite of how I usually do this part of the trip. Never before had I first come to Rosendal and then gone to Mundheim. It's always been the other way around. But the boat across the fjords worked very very well and I think this might just become the regular way to get out here.

Gunvor met us at the dock... and we were home.

It's always interesting the split when switching sides of the family. Of course, being out in the country makes it all easier. Everyone is close by. It's not such a task to get everyone together or to see everyone. They're all there already.

It was great to be back. We stopped on the way back and picked up Oystein, who of course was in a river fishing. The boy lives to fish. Every waking second I think that he thinks about fish. All around. One day he will be a master fisherman, with his own TV show. We made it back to the house and to the rest of the family. Walking in, Rolf already had one of his famous dinners on the stove. We were set.

The first night we spent catching up. Talking, eating. Having a great time.

The next day my first good chance to jump in the fjord. You see, the weather had finally changed for the good completely. Basically the afternoon we left the family reunion in Sognefjord, we saw the sun start to come out... the blue sky start to take over. The weather, which we had wished to be good then... finally was good.

Brave swimmers

And when the weather is good, there's just one thing to do. Jump in the fjord. Ola was the brave one. He was already down there, swimming, jumping off the dock. I had to give myself a little bit of a push. It wasn't quite warm to the point of absolutely needing to get in the water. The water itself wasn't as warm as it would be after a long hot summer. But really, if the opportunity is there. You have to take it.

It was very good. Very refreshing. Much needed.

Try as I might, there was no way to convince Beth to jump in. Everyone else did. My lovely wife, not so much. So much for nature girl, the only water she'll jump into must be full of chlorine.

When we were done with the swimming, it was time to head out onto the fjord. Rolf took us and Oystein out zooming across the fjord in his new boat. We took a tour of the fjord, the local islands, did a loop of the fish farms, and just enjoyed the scenery. It's a beautiful, beautiful place.

Øystein: Norwegian Fisher King

The afternoon came and Rolf & Gunvor took us for a trip far up into the mountains. A fairly long drive from Rosendal up Hardangervidda to a power station way up in the hills. Again, the scenery we were passing on the way was just gorgeous. I'll never lose my appreciation for the natural beauty of Norway. Fjords that are the deepest most radiant blue. The majestic cliffsides. Massive waterfalls.

Beth & Jon & A Waterfall

We traveled far up into the mountains and the four of us went for a mini hike up the roads by the powerplant. Apparently it is quite a nice hike if you have more time for it. We didn't have a whole lot of time left before it would get dark and we had to get back to town to meet the kids, so we took some pictures, had some fun, and drove back to town.

Group Shot! Rolf, Beth, Gunvor & Jon

The next day we relaxed during the day. Finally a chance to just enjoy our surroundings and not worry about anything else. The kids were in school, Rolf & Gunvor had to work. So we enjoyed some time just for us. When they all made it back, again we took to the fjord.

The weather started to turn again. We got a little bit of a mist. Then a little bit of a rain. We crossed the fjord, did a loop towards the town and then back out. We came across some commercial fishing boats who were fishing for sardines. We pulled right up along side them. It was pretty fascinating. They had laid out nets throughout the area... then they brought the nets in quite a bit and scooped up the thousands and thousands of tiny sardines with a giant basket. It was one guy's job to aim the basket and then operate the scoop on it. Lifting them out of the water and over the cargo hold on the boat where he'd open the basket and thousands upon thousands of sardines would fall into the boat.

Sardine Fishing!

We stayed and watched for quite a while. Neither Gunvor nor the kids had ever been this close to the boats when this was done. It was pretty fascinating. In the end, we bought a bucket of sardines from them and headed back to the shore. The rain had started to get harder and harder so it was time to head back.

Beth had had enough of the rain by the time we made it to shore, so she and Gunvor went up into the house. The rest of us headed back out onto the fjord. Now that we had sardines for bait... It was fishing time!

We actually caught quite a few. The bigger fish had gathered around where the boats were fishing for sardines. They knew it was easy pickings. So did we. You could see them in the water below the boat. Of course, the bait worked quite well. The boys all caught good fish. I got one too. There's nothing quite like that absolute thrill that shakes through your sytem the first second you feel the fish bite on your line. The battle that ensues between you and him. Rolf said afterwards he thought I was trying to stay calm and cool when the fish bit. Like it was no big deal. But he could see how excited I was. I guess that might be true, but I didn't think personally I was trying to stay cool. I was most definitely enjoying the moment.

So with another great dinner, we felt our time in Rosendal was getting short. We had decided to head to Mundheim the next day to close out the trip. Ingebjorg and the kids in Mundheim had the day off, so it was a perfect time to get over there. We woke up early the next day and Gunvor took us out to the ferry. It's in a new spot from where it's always been. Apparently the old terminal wasn't big enough anymore for it's usage so it had to be rebuilt about 5km farther down the road. In a sense it was too bad, because it used to be so close. Time does change things, even out here.

We said our farewells to Gunvor. Tried to get her to commit to bringing everyone over to Mundheim for one last visit before we headed home... and she headed off to work.

The ferry arrived... and we were once again sailing across the fjord. Destination: Mundheim.

Ola posing again

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