LUTMAN'S 2017 NORWAY FAMILY/BIRDING TRIP

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.

Day 9. Thursday, May 18, 2017. Lovely Balestrand to Gaupne, Along the Fjords.


As I wake up, I remember the middle of the night, when there was this wonderful steady sound of light rain on the roof. So I burrowed down into the covers a little more. Ahhhhh. Burrrrrrow.

Good morning, We are in Balestrand, a lovely little town on the waters of the Sognefjorden, or Sogne Fjord, one of the prettiest.

Sharon reminds me that yesterday, at exactly 8 am, we heard 3 cannon booms from across the water, announcing their National Day, or Constitution Day, celebrating when Norway became independent of Sweden.

We want to explore Balestrand before we leave though, and here are some more photos from Balestrand. First, of course, is breakfast. Simple and delicious. Thanks Sharon. {Eggs with bacon and cheese, and, of course, raspberries. Norway is famous for strawwberries and raspberries. Not now, of course. It's too early in the season. these might be from Spain.}



I bought these cool post card stamps-to-the-U.S. at a grocery store. Love the Viking ship and red sail. And as we are driving around, looking for the town's famous hotel, we come across this geodesic glass hemisphere, on top of a person's house or garage. People here have a special relationship with the sun, likely because there are long periods when they don't see it, or see it very seldom. {We saw a television show abut the "Snow Hotels" in Norway. One of the places they showed had these geodesic domes, warm inside while you are sleeping out on the snow to watch the Northern Lights. It looked pretty spectacular with the northern lights all around you while you slept. Msybe we will have to come back in the winter, (Wait!! Did I just say that?) to see the Northern Lights.}



So we find the grand hotel, and it's stately and LARGE. We park and go inside to explore. {This is the Kviknes Hotel, one of the largest old wooden buildings in Norway, built in the 1870's. Kaiser Wilheim II often visited here and the hotel still has the chair he used in their restaurant.}In a display, we learn the name of the viewpoint we stopped at yesterday. Looks pretty awesome from the air.


They have a very unusual chandelier. I saw it, took this photo, and still can't quite figure out how it's put together. A tapestry of Viking ships sailing.


I had never heard of a corner chair before, but here is one. And here's a closeup of the end of the armrest. A dragon, doncha know.


Sharon liked this elaborately painted chest. {This decoration is called "rosemaling" I may have mentioned it before. There were artists who would travel about and come in and paint your furniture, walls, etc.} The bar is elegantly decorated, and I loved this stained glass piece, with the viking ships at the bottom.


But it is time to go. {We walk down to see some Viking burial mounds but they are not just below the hotel as we imagined. So we look across a stream at the mound (pretty much just a mound with grass on it that we can tell ourselves is a burial mound). How exciting !}Today, we are headed for Gaupne, also on the Sognefjord, and it will be a fairly easy day's drive, with wonders to be seen. We are ready.

We arrive at the ferry at Dragsvik, and there are two destinations from here. The one we want is named Hella. It will be a twenty minute ride to Hella. Nothing is mentioned about high watera.

By 2:40 pm, our ferry takes off. So when you think about it, it goes to Hella and back. Several times a day. And we think WE have problems...

I continue to have problems, playing back my audio recordings. Lot of static and kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk sounds, overlaid on my voice. Sharon claims it's the way I talk into it. I try reducing the playback volume and it's waaaay better. Wait. Not totally solved, but reduced it a lot. Much better. Sharon continues to tell me that my voice records differently than hers. {This was true in Brazil. When I would talk into the recorder you could understand the recording. When Bob did, there was this crackle he's talking about. I though it was the pitch of my voice or the fact that he was often whispering so as not to disturb the bird we were watching. Anyway, when we got home, he bought this new recorder and is now unhappy that it seems to be doing the same thing. It's frustrating for him in the evening when he is trying to transcribe the day's events and can't understand the recording}

We find a department store, and we are looking for bed pillows and extra blankets of some kind to get ready for the cold we know is coming, when we head north. We almost bought a pillow in another store that was $4 {Actually we put it down and forgot it when we were paying so didn't realize until later that we didn't buy it, Dang.} Incredibly, the same pillows here cost $36 or so. What the heck? We wonder who would ever shop in this store that's so expensive for such mundane items as sheets, pillows, blankets and the like, and I start calculating/converting kroner to U.S. dollars.

Wait. What? I forgot to move the decimal point over. What I thought was 60 dollars was (oops, sorry Sharon) 6 dollars. We have a good chuckle at the story. The joke, you see, is on me. Unbelievable, I know, but true. {We were so funny as we went around this store. I saw a nice comforter to keep Bob warm but didn't want to pay $100 and then throw it away because we couldn't take it back to the States. When we figured out later that it was $100 Kroner (About $12) we laughed at ourselves as we bought the 60KR one for about $6 but it wasn't as fluffy as the 100KR one.}

Cousin Wanda, I don't want to hear it.

We are almost overloaded with waterfalls, but here's the best one of the day. Water spills down, and splits, descending further in two streams. Great sound, standing here.

We finally arrive at our destination, and it's a combined hotel and camping area, but we're parked at the hotel, and the camping area is nowhere to be seen. I finally go into the hotel. Yes, this is the spot. You pay here, then drive to another location a half-mile away or so. Hmmm. Wouldn't it be nice to say that on your website? Anyway...

We find the spot,and it is not much more than a field with gravel "pitches". This is most definitely the tail end of the camping spots we've used so far, grade-wise. Maybe a C- or D. But they have a rest room. So that's OK.

Here is what our spot looks like. But wait, if you are a kid, you can sit on this shovel, and control it, to pick up loads of sand and move them around. So THAT's pretty cool. {We made a decision not to drive up to the Nigard Glacier as we don't think we will walk on it with a tour and to see the end of the glacier now you have to walk 45 minutes. So not on our radar. We will just camp here and go on.}

And that's the deal for the day, Guys.

Pleasant Dreams,
Bob and Sharon

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