Our day began at 9:45 AM with the famous train ride up to Myrdal to see an enormous waterfall. I remembered that I had taken this same trip with Lynn Rubright in 1983. On the way we saw some outstanding waterfalls with a free fall of 500 ft. or more. Then we slowly chugged upward, overlooking a deep valley, until we arrived at 2500 ft. I saw the usual red houses with wooden roof tiles laid in a teardrop pattern.
We changed trains and headed for Voss, going down to 150 ft. Voss is a lovely town with centuries old churches and an ancient cross from 1000 AD on a grass mound behind the post office. I also came upon a plaque in honor of Knut Rockne, the football coach at Nore Dame in the 30’s. I took a picture for my soon-to-be-son-in-law, Gary Shippy. He’s a proud Notre Dame graduate (is there any other kind?).
It started to rain, so we ducked into a nearby café where I decided on the Norwegian “special.” Holy calories, Bat Man! A huge, fatty lunch arrived on the arm of a blond Viking. Fried potato/wheat balls, a kind of mashed turnip swimming in butter, a fat sausage, and lamb shanks garnished with bacon bits. But Gullvi’s BLT was even bigger! Fortified, we waddled off to our next bus ride, which began with a famous mile of highway boasting 13 hairpin turns. It was very narrow and amazing how the driver negotiated each turn. And it was scary! Needless to say, there were numerous waterfalls along the way. It would take more superlatives than I know to describe the beauty of the landscape that unfolded on this trip. It started to rain gently as we got to a level area and from behind the mountains came a stunning rainbow covering the entire sky. It ended in one of the man lakes we passed. I tried, but failed to get a photo, but the scene will remain in my mind forever.
It was 6:15 when we arrived in Godvagen and boarded the ferry which took us on the Naroy fjord, the narrowest branch of the Sognefjord. What we saw from our perch on the upper deck was a microcosm of every type of Norwegian scenery, from tiny churches and villages along a green coast to shining slabs of rock and high, rounded hills rising directly from the water’s edge. We watched the changing panorama, frustrated because it was just too vast and too high to capture on film. We froze as we watched the sun set and the sky become black, a perfect backdrop for a surfeit of stars. I was glad for my Peruvian hat and mittens.
By 9 we had reached the small town of Kaupanger. We were taken to our pensione, a charming white clapboard house owned by a widow who specialized in growing every conceivable variety of flower. The place was a riot of color. The young couple who picked us up graciously let us stop at an old stave church close by and wander through the cemetery, before taking us to a Shell station where we could buy some bread, ham, and cheese for dinner. How incongruous! The next morning we were thrilled to see the inside of the same church, along with several other stave churches in this part of Norway.(click here for pictures)