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Kinsarvik church is well worth a visit inside. I was truly amazed that a place harbouring such treasures was open and admission was free, very unusual for Norway. Perhaps there aren't any vandals in the area. The unique pulpit from 1609 with the coat of arms of the bishop, the organ, the 10 chandeliers, the altar cloth, the carpet and many pieces of local craft presented to the church by parishioners all deserve attention, but none is as precious as the 13th century lime-paintings discovered under the plaster on the walls of the church in the 1920s. Restoration work revealed the scene of The Day of Judgment on the north wall, in which St. Michael the Archangel stands weighing the souls while two devils with claws and boat hooks try to weigh down the scales. Superb reflection of mediaeval beliefs and imagery!
The four windows were also discovered to possess friezes around them with decorations of vine or geometric designs. The wall paintings are believed to have been covered with plaster after the Reformation. Uncovered, they have become the greatest treasures of Kinsarvik Church.
Updated Dec 27, 2008
The Valley of the Seven Waterfalls (Oddadalen) forms the western border of Hardangervidda. You can see a few of the waterfalls from road 13. The highest of them, Latefossen is the most imposing. 165 m high, it forms two waterfalls thundering down the rocky mountainside, under the bridge and down to the fjord beneath. A most picturesque sight but touristy as well. Of course all the cars stop there and there are souvenir and ice-cream stalls at the foot of the mountain right by the waterfall. Be careful, it's easy to get an unwanted shower if you come too close to the raging water.
Updated Oct 10, 2005
The present stone church at Kinsarvik was constructed literally around the smaller old wooden church built in about 1050 during the reign of King Harald Sigurdson, who fell in the battle of Stamford Bridge in England in 1066. Archeological excavations on the site revealed 470 coins, some of them dating from as long ago as 1050. Kinsarvik was then a market town with its own court and a gathering place for the warriors from the whole of Hardanger. It was also the place where the 'leidanskipet', the ship kept for the defence of the area, was moored near the present ferry quay, the equipment for the ship being kept in the church loft. The new church was built by a Scottish master builder a century later, around 1150 - 1160. Completely renovated in the 19th century and in the 1960s, it still looks lovely against the background of the mountains and has kept real treasures inside (see my next tip).
Updated Oct 1, 2005
Hardangervidda offers unforgettable views all around. To the north you can see the wild desolate plateau dotted with stones, a lake here and there and, in the distance, snow-topped mountains and glaciers. Not a view you are likely to forget.
Written Sep 29, 2005
If you are driving, take Road 7, which forms the northern border of Hardangervidda. West of Geilo you will find fantastic scenery, one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. On your left you will see an expanse of a river valley, where the river meanders forming lakes with little cosy bays and small islands. You see the whole valley from the road, a fantastic panorama for a painter, who can ignore the power lines, which spoil my photo a little.
Updated Sep 29, 2005