We just got back from a 3.5-week vacation to my husband’s family home in Norway. Although it rained a handful of days, the rain is nothing like the gushing downpour we get here in KY, so we were able to just dress in our rain gear and get outside. I love that. The temperature never got above 23 and never below around 14, so I was very happy and comfortable. It was lovely to get some respite from the humid jungle I feel that I’m spending my summers in these days. The light that never seems to quit into the wee hours of the morning, for some reason doesn’t bother me too much. Once I get through with the jet lag, I can sleep just fine despite the sunny-ish sky.
We hiked almost everyday, up into the mountains. There are paths everywhere and you never have to go off the grid if you don’t want to. We did at least one top tour (the boys did more), signing the book to say we made it to top. The boys built new “varde” on the tops and we sat quietly eating our “niste” and enjoying the view. Nothing beats cracking open a thermos of coffee, and unwrapping a delicious piece of bread with "hvitost" after walking uphill for 2+ hours.
My husband’s childhood home is approximately 0.20 Kilometers from one of the biggest Viking burial grounds in Norway. Each year, it astounds me how little people seem to care about it. The signage is poor at best, directing you there. It’s confusing to figure out how to get in at first. There are some signs around the burial ground that have faded, that are written in Norwegian, German, and English for tourists. I want to know more about it. People don’t seem to care. I noticed that neighbors tend to pile up their yard waste (branches, lawn clippings, etc.) in there as well which is sad. I tried to find information online, and the Kommune barely mentions it in their literature about visiting the area. They tend to focus on a wealthy Scottish lady who came to the area for the fishing and nature and exploited the poor Norwegian folk with her wealth until she ended up poor herself. Each year, the Kommune puts on a play about her that is sold out. The main mention that I found of the burial site was from a city that’s about one hour away that lists it as something to stop by and check out. I think if more people knew about the Viking burial ground, and it was kept up better, it would be something that people would want to come form other places to see.
The valley where my husband grew up totally amazes me. It reminds me of a fairy tale place, where I fully expect to find little fairy people in the forest, hiding under the giant red fluesopp (those big red mushrooms with the white polka dots), and the big boulders totally are the bodies of trolls who were caught by the sunlight and eternally hardened to stone. It’s always refreshing to spend time somewhere where my boys are allowed to roam free a bit without my constant worry. They can run through the forest and play around by the Viking burial place, run to the local elementary school to play on the playground, or run through the neighborhood to see who is out and if anyone wants to play. It’s so safe there, it makes me remember and pine after my own childhood summers where I ran the streets of my neighborhood and the nearby parks and forests alone with my friends, just checking in with mom/dad or another mom/dad to have lunch and then being told to be home in time for dinner, or after dinner, to be home when the street lights come on. Sigh.