Did you know that the words "ski" and "slalom" are norwegian? "Ski" means a relatively thin, straight piece of wood (wooden rail), commonly used to make fences in older days, hence the word "skigard" = rail fence. The word "sla" means slope, and "låm" is a track in snow.
Both sami and norwegians have been skiing for centuries. But Sondre Norheim from Morgedal in Telemark is known as the father of modern skiing. He invented the new, stiff ski binding and refined skiing techniques both for downhill, jumping and cross country. The house where Sondre was born was turned into a museum in 1949. While I lived in Haugesund (1985 - 1987) I often passed Morgedal on my way to or from Oslo or Trondheim, and each time I told myself that next time I would stop to see the museum. I never did, until the new Norwegian Ski Adventure Centre opened 1993. It is much more accessible, situated close to the main road no 134.
Sondre and his family emigrated to Minnesota in 1884, and bought a farm in Minot, North Dakota in 1891. Sondre died in 1897 and is buried at Norway Lutheran Church Cemetery south of Denbigh, North Dakota.
Kragero is one of the numerous small coastal towns. In the summer it is very busy with tourists on the waterfronts. Lots of small boats coming and going and the owners walking and shopping around town.
It felt like it was only visited by Norwegians and no other tourists like dutchies, germans etc. Which is nice for a change. The only time you saw them was on the E18, rushing to the fjords and mountains.
There is a short walk to a viewpoint which gives a nice view on the town and the surrounding sea. (what else are view point for i can hear you think!) But the walk is good too, no paved roads, its a bit of the road, on rocks and dirt paths.
The yellow building as shown in my pictures is the tourist office. It once was the trainstation but the train stopped running here decades ago.
Driving west in Telemark we came across this place where two mountain rivers seem to meet - one shallow but wide with a large boulder in the middle, the other rushing down a series of man-made steps, both cutting across the rocky mountainsides. You can cross the wider river by footbridge and walk on to have a better look at the foaming waters of the other one. The place seems to be popular with tourists, which in Norway means just a few people strolling around, having a picnic on the benches or sunbathing on the rocks. I wish I knew what that place is called but the information board was in Norwegian only, so I will just have to give you the general directions. I hope some Norwegian VT-ers will help me give it a name.
As our host at the cottage near Drongedal pointed out Lake Nisser is almost like a sea. 40 km long and 250 m deep, it is indeed enormous. Surrounded by rugged mountains partly overgrown by forest, and with some islands in the middle it opens up great views, which you can see even from road 41 as you drive along. When you pass Nissedal you will find a place called Sundsodden where you will see the signpost 'Brygge' . Turn left ( going from the direction of Treungen), drive ca 1 km down the forest road and you may be lucky enough to see and perhaps take a trip on the last cable ferry in Norway. It wasn't there when we arrived, but we could see it waiting for passengers on the shore opposite.
The link that my Norwegian friend Rusket gives on her Nisser page tells you that there is a village called Fjone there, where the ferrywoman owns a knitware shop and cafe. There are also some wide sandy beaches and ancient rock carvings and mounds in the forest there. It's a pity we didn't have time to explore them. Here I wish to thank Marit (VT member Rusket) for helping me identify the ferry. Apparently, there are more of them in the area.
Fares: car - 45 NOK, passenger - 5 NOK, bicycle - 15 NOK
We came across this interesting little church on our way across Vestfold. It wasn't even on our map, not being as decorative as a few other stave churches in Norway. But it has their characteristic silhouette and perfect proportions and is really ancient, dating from 1150 - 1275. Its chancel was built in the late 1100's while the nave at the end in the 1200's. Restored in 1948 - 1953, it will probably serve its purpose for many more centuries.
We have been to Bø Sommarland several times, it is relatively close to my railway station Brøsjø :-) It is a great place even when the weather isn't too good. There are water rides for everyone, from small kids to the big and brave :-) And there are other activities too, like a large playground, climbing mountain, casino and electrical cars. If you don't want to spend money in one of the restaurants, you can bring your own food and use one of the free grills in the area.
The 2006 season starts 10 june.
All necessary information is available in english and german on their website.
I spent one of my birthdays on the Telemark Canal, I don't remember which one. My kids and I had planned to celebrate in Sommarland in Bø, a waterpark, but it was too cold, and we decided to give the canal a go instead. We did not want to go all the way, there are 8 locks with 18 chambers. We drove down from Bø to Lunde, parked the car at the free parking lot, took one of the canal boats up to Dalen and the canal bus back to Lunde. It was great!
You can travel the canals by your own boat, or experience the locks by car or bike. Canoeing / kayaking is a possibility, too. There are plenty hiking and cycling possibilities along the canal, with several lodgings / camp sites, and possibilities to put up your own tent somewhere in the nature.
The Telemark Canal was made by hand / with dynamite of 500 men, it took them 5 years to finish the upper part between the lakes Bandak and Norsjø, from 1887 to 1892. The lower part between Norsjø and Skien was built between 1854 and 1861.
More info (a LOT of info, and many pictures as well!) is available in english and german on the canal website.
The name Telemark is probably best known from the film "Heroes of Telemark". In my oppinion it should be better known for its Canal: The Telemark Canal. The Canal was built to float timber and move passengers from the woods out to the sea. Another purpose was to avoid flods that was a problem before.
The canal is really two canals: Norsjø-Skienskanalen and Bandak-Nordsjøkanalen.
It's still works today, although no timber is being moved this way anymore. Take the boat Victoria or Henrik Ibsen, and you'll be amazed over the craftmansship and hardship the workers had to go through.
Heddal Stavchurch is the biggest of the 32 stavchurches, conserved in Norway. The oldest part, The Choir, was built in the twelfth century and most likely initiated on Chrispianus day 25th Oct. 1147.
100 years after that the church was extended and got her appearance of today. A Runes inscription tells that the church was devoted to Holy Mary in 1242.
The wall paintings in the church date back to the 17th century. In 1930 they discovered a much older wall painting under these wall paintings, a procession of biblical figures, from the thirteenth century.
The chair in the choir is probably older than the church itselve.
The altar dates back to 1667.
Heddal Stavchurch was restored in the yaer 1952 to 1954. During the restoration the church was nearly taken apart piece by piece.