|Forum topic by stefang||posted 07-18-2010 10:26 PM||2996 views||1 time favorited||32 replies|
07-18-2010 10:26 PM
Hi everybody. The wife and I took a little trip to the mountains last Wednesday that I’d like to share with you. I’ll try to describe what you are seeing as I go, but the main trip begins in Kleppe which is about 25 minutes south of Stavanger in case you want to check it out on Google Earth. On our trip we passed through Aalgaard, Oltedal, Byrkjedal, Sirdal, and finally down a steep mountainside to Lysebotn which is at the end of a fjord that starts near Stavanger. The towns with ‘dal’ on the end denote that they are in a valley. The ‘botn’ on Lysebotn denotes the ‘bottom’ and you will see why. The round trip took about 8 hours including stops for lunch and dinner. I hope you will enjoy the tour and not think it inappropriate for this site and/or forum. Please let me know if you do.
Aalgaard Our first stop to buy some cherries (from Turkey). A picture of the lake. and some farms. Aalgaard is the gateway to our trip.
After a picturesque drive through long lakes and rolling hills and climbing higher we came to Oltedal. This little town used to be an important producer of knitting yarn. They purchased the wool from sheep farmers in the area, cleaned, carded, spun and dyed the wool ready for sales to retail outlets all over the world. This was the cornerstone industry that supported this little community up until recent years when the industry dried up. I’rm not sure why, but probably due to the plethora of synthetic fibers that are a lot cheaper to produce. Luckily the oil industry came along about the time wool started declining and provided new jobs and a new economy in Norway that has served everyone very well and saved Oltedal.
After leaving Oltedal we are on our way to Byrkedal. I’ll show you some pictures of the place on the way home. Meanwhile our drive continues on to Sirdal. These are some road pictures I took on the way. The first is looking out over yet another fjord (the water seen in the distance) which will remain unnamed for this tour (didn’t do my homework).
We drove through Sirdal and I forgot to take pictures. I’ll try to cover it another time. Now we are on the way to Lysbotn. We climb ever higher and in the next picture we are above the tree line. There is a big reservoir nearby, but completely out of sight and only accessible by the power company’s locked off roads. The purpose of the whole thing is to provide hydro electric power to our region. Almost all of Norway’s electricity comes from hydro electric power. A incredibly valuable natural resource in this mountainous and wet country. The downside is that we get a lot of bad weather.
Here you see a lot of little piles of stones, mostly set up by youngsters driving through with their parents. Traditionally these were set up by mountain hikers to mark the peaks, but in the last few years it seems to have become an obsession. We drove for about 2 miles and they were everywhere within about 50 yards of the road. A few years ago there were just a few. I thought it actually looked a little creepy, but I’m not sure why. maybe a grave yard look. These mountains were scoured smooth by melting ice at the end of the last ice age. The same ice carved out the fjord and my valleys.
Here we are beginning the descent to Lysebotn. The road is a series of switchbacks that snakes down to sea level right at the very end of the fjord. I hope the picture gives some idea of the drop. These photos are taken about 1/3 of the way down as I couldn’t find a decent place to park further up.
Here we have arrived at the bottom at the end of Lysefjord. The black dot on the water is the small ferry coming with tourists and their cars. There are about 40 houses there. Almost all of these were originally built and owned by the power company for their employees. Today it is cheaper to transport on-duty crews to work rather than house them permanently there. The company sold the houses at very good prices as vacation homes to private buyers some years ago. Today there are camping grounds and other tourist facilities there and probably a very few permanent dwellers there.
This next photo showing the pulpit like mountain named ‘Kjerag’ it is used a lot in the summer for free fall para-gliders from all over the world who jump from the little flat place just below the top, not always successfully. The small boat picks them up after they land in the fjord if everything goes well. Otherwise it is rescue operations which can involve helicopters and/or mountain climbing teams. The last shot is the fire station, which is enormous for such a small place, but I imagine the size is related to the hydro electric facilities.
Here are some shots of the ferry coming in while we eat our lunch next to the fire station behind the ferry terminal and with a nice view over the fjord.
Well, we have enjoyed our lunch and the scenery here and now we are on our way to Byrkedal where we plan to stop and have a nice trout dinner and take a tour through their tourist shop before going home. I took a few photos of the surrounding mountains and we stopped about halfway up to enjoy a little restplace with a waterfall seen in the last photo.
This is Byrkedal. There is no town here, just farms. This building used to be the local dairy and next to it was a candle factory. The dairy has been converted to a restaurant and and the candle factory to a tourist shop. Adjacent to the shop is a gallery which is built right into the mountainside. I took a few photos. First the older Massey Ferguson tractors and then the little blue one, which I thought was Russian when I saw it last time, but the plate on the dashboard shows it to be from Coventry England. Probably a product especially designed for export to the poorer European countries after the war, though I’m not sure about that. Maybe someone reading this knows?
Inside the restaurant you order your meal at the counter and then it is brought to your table when ready. Note some of the old dairy equipment in the 2nd photo.
After dinner we went to the shop. First a lot of little hand done wood articles. in England I think these are generally called ‘treen’, which I imagine denotes utility or maybe kitchen items made out of wood, many of them produced on the lathe. I tried to take enough pictures to give you a feel of the shop. The things that I find particularly interesting are the old carriages and wagons now used to display merchandise on. They were gracefully designed and well built with great attention to detail. I have also pictured some of the old furniture used for the same purpose. The cabinet with the hand carved ragon design is from around 1900 and I thought you might like to see the original hand cut dovetails on it too. .The big candle display bins are old too and they are all dovetailed as well. I’ve written brief descriptions for the pics, but if you have any questions I will be glad to answer them as best as I can.
Candles that have been dipped and hung to harden. Kids can dip their own candles there in a multitude of colors. The little ones love it.
An very old loom with chip carving decoration. I don’t know how old, but to me it looks like something from before 1800. Maybe someone knows from the style?
Big candle bins. All with hand cut dovetails.
A really tall backed chair about 10 ft. high.
One of the elegant though utilitarian carriages.
Some old goats. Who knows, maybe a relative.
The dragon cabinet and it’s dovetailed drawers.
Anyone have a light? A lot of candle-lit dinners there girls!
And my favorite Norwegian, the LOML. Another candid shot, so please don’t tell as she is very accurate with a rolling pin. We have just entered the gallery hall carved out of the mountain.
You’ve heard of the Murphy bed, well here is the Norwegian version I call the Ole bed. i haven’t decided whether this is and original or just a clever copy, but it is accurate enough and probably fairly typical for a well off farmer or whatever. Please note the length of the bed. People used to be a lot shorter here.
This carriage was used for going to church around 1900. One horsepower with 5 passengers. Who said our forefathers knew nothing about efficiency?
I can imagine this might have been the dating wagon of it’s time, or at least good for a race with one of the other locals.
Some typical Norwegian furniture for the living room, ha ha.
And the newest model stove. And I’ll bet you thought we were behind the times!
Something for all you ex Navy men (like myself).
And something for the animal rights activists. (no politics, just a joke)
Back outdoors. This is a replica of a mountain goat farm. We don’t eat the goats or steal their hair. They are there for their milk. The Norwegians make a goat cheese that is cooked endlessly in a large pot (the kind you cook missionaries in) until it’s brown. I’m not sure if anything (thinking sugar here) is added. The finished cheese is dark and sweet and very much used here on bread with breakfast or lunch or just a snack.
Here are a couple of shots of the interior. It’s very authentic looking. My wife visited some of these while wandering the mountains in her youth.
I was going to save this one for a blog about how to sharpen you tools, but here it is anyway, lol.
Do you remember the childhood story?
Time to head for home.
I guess this turned out to be a monumental post, but I hope you got some enjoyment out of it.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.