Friday, August 31, 2012

Norway 2012: Svelvik

Sunday 10th June.

Another special day today.

Bjørn and Odd organised a luncheon with all my Norwegian relatives. It was really overwhelming. We were being looked after so well.


The food was really yummy.

Everyone was able to produce photos, it was great.

When mum went to Norway with dad, just after the war, Betty (in the blue shirt) was a young girl and she and mum became life-long friends through an act of kindness from mum. Another aspect of mum and dad's lives that left me with a whole new appreciation of them.

Betty put a photo of mum and dad on the table looking over the afternoon's proceedings which was so thoughtful. I'm glad mum and dad were there.

 My Norwegian family.

Such a good day.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Norway 2012: Svelvik

Saturday 9th June

Today Odd and Bjørn took us for a walk through Svelvik. Toné, Anne Stina and Betty came with us. The church in Svelvik is the focal point of the town. I can remember seeing a photo of Mum pushing a pram with my older brother in it, knee deep in snow, near this church.

This is the old Christening Font. It would have been used for my brother's Christening. 

This model of Nelson's "Victory" hangs from the ceiling of the church. It was made by my father's uncle, Bjarne Syvertsen.

This is Svelvik from the church steeple.

We walked a little further around a couple of corners and down a few side streets and Odd stopped here. This was my father's house. It was very interesting standing in the driveway where Dad would have walked into and out of his family house for many years. This is where he spent his childhood.

Here is a photo of Dad (2nd from the right) with his two brothers and his father. Looking very cool. This was taken in front of the house (above).

We walked a few metres further, stopped in front of another house, and Odd said that one of my Dad's cousins lived here. Would I like to meet them? So we knocked at the door and the husband came out. Very fit and healthy for 93. We went inside and met his wife Gunvor, who was Dad's cousin. She was dozing in a recliner lounge seat and was woken up to meet her cousin's son from Australia. In that confusion when waking up, she must have thought that I was Dad, I look like him a bit now. Well, tears flowed, thanks were given and it became a very emotional 20 minutes or so. Robyn and the others came in and I have to say, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Here's another photo of Mum and Dad, either in Norway, or somewhere en-route from Australia.

We walked a little further around a few more corners to meet cousins Jon, and his sister Åse. They had a marquee in their yard for a party the night before so we were invited in and out came the coffee and all the left over cakes. Yummo.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Norway 2012: Svelvik

Cabins and the Wilderness.

Thursday & Friday, 7th & 8th June.

Odd and Bjørn said that we would spend today and tomorrow at their cabins in the wilderness. It seems to be a national pastime; just about everyone has a cabin in what we would call the bush.

I didn't really know what to expect. I had ideas that we would be staying in corrugated iron shacks like a lot of West Aussies have up the coast north of Perth in places like Wedge Island. But I couldn't have been further from the truth.

This is Odd's cabin. It was built by their father in 1964. It was sitting on the edge of a small lake. He and his grandson, Matthias, spend many happy times there.

Odd pointed out this little cabinet on the wall. It was made by my father. It's interesting to see items that involved my father, in a country so far away, when all I knew of course was our lives in Australia.

We stayed long enough to have a cup of coffee and some cake on the deck outside.

On the way further north we stopped at a small village that had some very old buildings. In the past these were used as family living areas as well as storage for the farm animals in winter.

We stopped at another living museum village.

We seemed to be getting into the high country. The landscape changed from lush green to stark and grey. This is Bjørn's cabin.

It is on the banks of a river. Apparently the river is a metre thick ice in the winter and they have to ski down to where the cars are left.

Water is pumped straight from the river and is suitable for drinking.

The flag is raised to let other occupants know that they are "in residence" and available for drinks. It was here that I was introduced to Aquavit. 
40% alcohol !! I have to concede here that I would not be lining up in a hurry to drink this. I jokingly said that I can go down to my local hardware store and buy this in 4 litre containers, it tasted just like varnish. I think I'll stick to Bundy Coffee Liqueur.

The next day we went for a walk along the river. It was flowing very briskly.

This bridge is used by the sheep to cross the river, it's OK for humans too.

Odd and Anne Stina. Bjørn and Toné.

While in Bjørn's cabin I flicked through a magazine devoted to cabins and the lifestyle, much like our caravan magazines. It is a highly regulated industry; permits, rules, requirements abound. In the magazine there was an advertisement for a Cabin Expo, like our Home Shows. It had four pages listing exhibitors. There was everything available to make your cabin lifestyle very luxurious indeed.

It was a long drive back to Svelvik, but the experience was terrific.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Norway 2012: Svelvik

Meeting my Cousins.

After the superb Hurtigruten fjord cruise and a couple of rest days in Oslo we were picked up at our hotel by my cousin Bjørn and his wife Toné for the drive down to Svelvik.

Svelvik was my father's home town. He had 2 brothers and 2 sisters and there was quite an extensive family there.

Bjørn and his brother Odd were the cousins that I knew about the most and were a natural first point of contact for this trip. (Bjørn, pronounced Beeyurn, means Bear and Odd means Odin.) Bjørn's wife Toné (pronounced Tone-uh), and Odd and his wife Anne Stina were just the nicest people. Bjørn and Toné have been sweethearts since Toné was 7 years old.

The drive down was through some urban and country areas that were very green, very pretty.

We were dropped off at our accommodation, the Villa Rorvik.

It is Svelvik's only acccommodation and we had booked this about 3 or 4 months before we got here.

I was able to point out the driveway entrance to Bjørn (not that I needed to) because I had driven down this road many times on Google Earth Streetview. Cool tool for trip planning.

After we had settled in and unpacked, Bjørn picked us up again and took us to Odd's house for dinner.

While planning this trip I was aware that there was always the possibility that my cousins and I might not like each other. What would we do then? But all those doubts were put aside that evening. They are all very, very nice people.

Anne Stina had prepared a beautiful meal. I felt a little guilty that since I had my gastric band fitted I couldn't do justice to the spread in front of us, but I tried my best. Robyn helped.