Took the coach early today along the Hardangerfjord toward Utne and the beautifully located Hardanger Folk Museum.
While awaiting the ferry to Utne and the museum we explore this really interesting and old (1720) church. It’s still a bit overcast and spitting even though the weather is calling for 65 degrees and partly cloudy??? It’s Norway.
Our coach, us and about three other cars get aboard and we stay out on the upper deck to watch the dance of the mountains, clouds and water (again) – always changing – always different.
The Hardanger Museum is a well designed, apparently well enjoyed collection. The special exhibit was 1,000 bodice inserts that every woman in the area creates and wears.
They are beautifully embroidered and enhanced by gold thread, pearls (for the more affluent). There are also displays showing unique to the area clothing and headwear.
The museum guide is fantastic, a wealth of knowledge and a great personality.
From the inside displays she takes us outside (as the sun breaks out and the temperature allows us to take off our jackets) and up the hill to the actual old dwellings moved to this location.
They were mostly wooden structures with huge stone foundations to support roofs mostly covered with stone. This one has a sod roof underlain with layer upon layer of birch bark. We explore the insides that give a startling look at how people lived here hundreds of years ago. We have lots of photos of interiors that I’ll post after we get back for you anthropologists and sociologists out there. Natives then were incredibly innovative and creative. Guess you had to be.
The museum also had a modern sculpture/site installation exhibit going on that was quite remarkable. These painted totems share an amazing backdrop.
This folks, is a mouse house (as you can see by the little fellow on the rock). It’s a replica of the rock-roofed houses on display.
Before we boarded the ferry to move on to Odda we had time to look at the historic old Utne Hotel, dated 1722. A magnificent, well-preserved structure still in full operation.
The rooms were stunning and replete with antiques.
As we drove down the road toward Odda (at the very bottom of this arm of the fjord) we stopped at this “Kodak” photo spot, our luck holding with the sun roaring out and temperature well into the 60s.
Imagine being totally immersed in this kind of surrounding for a couple of days – or a lifetime.
When we arrived in Odda we were very ready for lunch. The recommendation was to go to the local fresh fish truck and get some of the (fish) wife’s fish cakes. The fresh fish and cakes were flying into local’s bags. We asked for two cakes and were asked if we were eating now. He wrapped the two heavy, hot cakes in paper towels so we could hold and bite, and charged us the equivalent of $3.00.
They were the best fish cakes we’ve ever had. Almost no filler, spiced beautifully and glistening with chopped onion. No dressing needed. We had to fight our senses to keep from ordering more (remember, another smorgasbord tonight).
Odda, lying at the very bottom of the fjord, used to be a bustling tourist spot with cruise ships docking there. When a copper plant was allowed to set up just north of the city, and other ports became more accessible, the tourist business dried up. So it’s now a good place to really see how area locals live – nice to see and interact with real people not working for your business. Hey Abyl and Miles…. This life sized chest set was just outside an elementary school, on the playground.
Odda, at the lower end of the fjord.
We drove back to the hotel on the other side of the Hardangerfjord and got an amazing view of the huge glacier on the opposite side.
This entire area of Loftus is filled with fruit orchards. There are over 800,000 apple trees planted here. They also grow peaches, plums, pears and cherries. The apples and plums we’ve been eating are wonderful.
Back at the hotel we have time to explore a bit of the area. We start on a hike to a nearby waterfall, but it’s a bit too far so we stop at this lovely church. Almost all churches in Norway are Lutheran.
Spoiler alert: VEGANS AND VEGETARIANS. STOP HERE SO YOU WON’T GET GROSSED OUT! The following are photos of the smorgasbord the hotel sets out for its guests. I ran in before the crowd to quickly get these shots. I’ve only posted a few, so you’ll have to imagine.
Also, remember the protocol of eating an authentic smorgasbord. Each of the food areas is eaten in order, usually seven courses, changing plates and utensils every time. We really did it the first night. Tonight? Maybe not.
The caviar bar, with blini.
Herring bar. Chopped egg. Curried herring, mates, in sour cream.
Cold fish: cured salmon, dill salmon, sauced salmon, white? Fish in curry.
Looks like filets of grilled striped bass.
Cold fish bar: Cray fish, calamari, crab meat, crayfish tails, fish pate, shrimp, mussels, etc.
Hot meats: pork shank and tender roast beef with gravy and lingonberry sauce.
More than seven cakes.
The cheese board, and the list goes on. Hope you enjoyed.
On our way to Oslo tomorrow.