** To see all my Norway posts at once, click HERE.
For dessert, after dinner tonight, the kids got to dig into some chocolates from Ellen Randi, my cousin in Norway. Inside the wrapper was a Norwegian kids' story. There are different ones in each chocolate, but the story we read tonight was the story of the 3 Billy Goats and the troll under the bridge. It was in Norwegian, so I read it and then translated for the kids every couple of sentences. Of course, it helps that I already know the story!! I can't speak or read Norwegian, except for a very small amount, but knowing the story, and having the slight advantage that my kids and husband know even less Norwegian than I do, made me look pretty smart!
Hearing and seeing the Norwegian language tonight made me want to share a bit more from my trip last month.
I posted about Preikestolen, and now I want to share about our amazing cruise along the Lysefjord a couple days after the hike. My mom and aunt didn't hike with me, just my cousins and their kids did. While we were off hiking, my mom and aunt were spending time visiting their cousins. So, this cruise was very special because they got to see the wonders of the fjord that I had told them a bit about.
We are ready!
The view was spectacular, even before we set sail!
Rocks straight up to the sky, and below the water they go straight down. The boat got so close to the rocks that we could almost reach out and touch the wall.
Preikestolen from below! I cannot believe that I was up that high!!
Sisters... enjoying the peaceful scenery.
An old schoolhouse along the fjord that was in operation until the early 1900s.
Abandoned farms along the steep hills of the fjord. It is said that farmers used to tie ropes to their children when they would play outside so they didn't fall down the steep hills and into the deep chilly waters.
I don't know if I could get used to the isolation, especially in the wintertime, of living in a place like this. But, the gorgeous scenes you would wake up to every morning might just make it worthwhile! Most of these places are abandoned, except for some tourist activity in the summer months.
It took my breath away.
A few years ago, the government took this little village over and built a power station. Behind this white building is a wooden staircase that reaches up to the top of the mountain. It is 4,444 steps and is the longest wooden staircase in the world. Plus, it is open to the public! The brochure says that it is an ideal day trip... pack a picnic and head up to the top. Ok... after you!!
This is Kjerag, the highest peak along the Lysefjord. A popular place for base jumping. The captain stopped our boat for about 20 minutes so we could watch the jumpers. Amazing! I couldn't do it.... I get sick to my stomach just thinking about jumping off of that cliff. If you see the waterfall in the photo - that's where the jumpers were starting from on this day.
All the jumps we saw were safe ones - thank goodness! Over the course of 15 years, and 30,000 jumps, there have been 9 deaths. Even one is too many, however, it seems like for such an extreme sport, that is pretty low.
And, the famous Kjeragbolten... a huge bolder stuck between two walls of rock. My question is, "When will this fall?" But it's been there for ages, and people love to climb up to the top, and out onto the bolder. I Googled it to share some info and I came across this travel blog... Some great photos on this post, so check it out! Martin's Travel Blog. Perhaps on my next visit to Norway I will have a chance to tackle Kjerag, and if I am feeling brave on that day, I might even step out onto the bolder. But, don't hold your breath for a picture of me on this thing... I have issues with heights! Plus, the next time I go to Norway I will have my kids along, and there is not a chance that I am going to let them go out on that rock!
Once the boat docked, we traveled up this windy road. 27 hairpin turns, and random sheep all along the way, so watch out! My aunt did an amazing job of driving this scary road - some of the turns were inside tunnels, and the road is only wide enough for one car at a time, except for little pull outs, and fancy maneuvering.... She got us safely to the top, where we enjoyed some Daim ice-cream and a strong cup of Norwegian coffee. What a great day!
The view of Lysebotn from the top.
And finally, here are some very cooperative sheep. It still makes me laugh when I think of these 3 running toward us, and then stopping in perfect formation, almost begging for us to take their picture. Maybe you had to be there, but it was a memorable moment. My kids sure enjoyed seeing this picture when I got home, anyway!!