Back to the bus for the trip northwest out of Oslo. Mathieu paused to let everyone get coffee in Hamar, site of the 1994 Winter Olympics skating venue.

After the invigorating caffeine interlude, we piled back on the bus for the journey to Maihaugen.







Maihaugen is a large open-air museum, which we visited on the way to Lillehammer. The place is a collection of historical buildings from various areas of Norway. It has a fascinating history, starting with a dentist who thought he was going to die (but didn't). The dentist, Anders Sandvig, began collecting old buildings in the late 1800s. Many of the structures would not have survived if they hadn't been moved to Maihaugen. 


We had a guide to show us around the inside of some of the buildings before we were turned loose to explore the grounds on our own.

There were ACRES of farmhouses, gathering halls, schoolhouses, churches, bridges, and other places to wander around in.


Every detail was extremely authentic, from the style of the fences to the animals in the farm paddocks. We saw how the Norwegians cut lumber, planted their crops, and attended school "back in the day."

It was really pleasant to take a nature walk on a nice day. We strolled along the side of a large pond (where fisking was forbudt) and snapped photos of the local flora. Mountain ash was everywhere, with its red berries.


There were some who felt we spent too long at Maihaugen, while others would have liked to linger longer. Must mean that the amount of time there was about right.

The group said goodbye to Maihaugen and chugged along into the mountains. Next stop: Lillehammer, where we had a little time to poke around. Too bad we couldn't bring home anything from the farmer's market - the fruits and veggies were luscious-looking.

Here's Charlene, looking forlorn after trying to get some Norwegian money at a bank so she could get  lunch. We all managed to get something to eat, and to find our way back to the bus in time for the journey up into the hills.


A trip to Scandinavia isn't complete without a visit to a stave church. A prime example was found at the hill town of Lom. Stave churches, built of wood, have survived for as much as 1,000 years. The Lom stave church had some remarkable flourishes, including dragon heads on the edges of the roof. Inside, we got to view some of the items found at the site, such as rune sticks. Amazingly, the church is still in use by the townspeople of Lom.


Afternoon brought the troupe to Elveseter, a rustic yet luxurious refuge high in the Norwegian hills. The air was crisp and refreshing. The lodgings had intriguing nooks and crannies to explore, as well as a monolith (the Saga Column) that merited closer inspection.


Those in the mood for socializing joined up for a pre-dinner get-together.

We made our way to the dining room, which held a sumptuous smorgasbord. 

The tables were marked with the flags of our countries of origin. There were several groups from other countries at nearby tables. Some folks sang and speechified. At one point, Matthieu came out with a beer that he owed Dave. Or was it vice versa?

Sven seemed to have acquired some additional accessories, including a wooly hat and a copy of Dave Fox's book (recently published). We all wanted to read it. Conveniently, Dave brought some copies with him.


No time for reading as we headed over Sognefjell Pass, the highest in Norway at 4,704 feet. Or 1,434 meters, depending on who's counting. We stopped to check out the myriad piles of stone that had been erected in the area. Some allegedly were cairns piled up by the ancients. Most, it appeared, had been stacked quite recently by hikers and fellow tourists.




Down from the pass, time to watch for the ferry that would take us for a cruise of Sognefjord. We were pretty excited by the prospect of some pretty spectacular scenery.

But first, a picnic lunch on board.

The fresh air whetted our appetites.

It was fun to try exotic (to us) foodstuffs from the local market.

Photographs SO do not do justice to what we saw on this boat ride.


The captain announced that another ferry would be engaged in "mid-channel communication" with our boat. A few passengers jumped from one vessel to the other.

"Holy moly! That's an all-timer!"


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views of the fjord