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It's A Great Life: 95 - Moose

...It was eleven o'clock but still light. We parked the car at the roadside and waited awhile, then had the excitement of seeing several moose grazing at quite close range...

Jack Merewood and his family enjoyed time in Norway.

From Vik it was to board a ferry which took us the short ride to Ballestrand, where we were to spend the night. We liked everything about it. Our table in the restaurant overlooked the edge of a fjord and next day we took a trip on this fjord to Fjorland. There were a string of villages along the edge with no roads to them, accessible only by boat. At the end of the fjord we left the boat for a short walk to look at a glacier which met a river that flowed into the fjord. While we were standing there we saw a huge area of ice detach itself very spectacularly and plunge with a roar into the river.

Next day it was necessary to cross another fjord on the ferry. There were two very pleasant Norwegian ladies on the boat who said they were going to a Festival at Sangefjord. As we sailed along they pointed out various places of interest, including an area where centuries ago there had been a terrible battle, and from the high rocks victims had been thrown into the fjord. We really liked these ladies, so when we left the ferry we decided to go to the festival ourselves and gave them a lift. There was a very colourful parade, everyone dressed in Norwegian costumes, bands playing, banners carried, majorettes, and a festival not put on for tourists but just for their own people. We were the only non-Norwegians there, and that's the way we like it.

We had a picnic at the side of the fjord then climbed over another pass. The summit of the pass we had negotiated between Vinje and Vic had been 968 feet. The summit of this pass rose to 1,440 feet! The road had been cut through deep snow, and as we drove along there was a wall of snow on either side of us at least ten feet high. When we left the snow walls we came to small frozen lake beside the road and we got out to investigate. Sheila and Stuart walked down to the edge of the lake and were surprised to hear it creaking and groaning as the ice slowly moved. It was a relief to be over the pass and see the welcoming town of Lorn where we were to spend the night. We drove round to see one of the huge grain barns which are built on heavy wooden pillars - to keep the mice out, so we were told.

Our final destination, where we were to spend a week, was a farm a few miles from the quite large and interesting town of Dombas. The owners of the farm, Mr and Mrs Hole, made us welcome and comfort¬able. Mrs Hole cooked meals for us at night. We had breakfast there in the mornings, then went out during the day to explore the countryside.

Mr Hole was such a nice man and so frustrated that he could only speak a few words of English (though that was better than our Norwegian). He told us one day that in the evening you could sometimes see moose in the valley below. There was a country road running along the valley and one night we drove down there. It was eleven o'clock but still light. We parked the car at the roadside and waited awhile, then had the excitement of seeing several moose grazing at quite close range

We took daily trips from the farm and each time Mrs Hole prepared a picnic for us. One particularly long trip was to Geiranger Fjord. We had a spectacular view of the fjord from part-way down a mountain. There was a walk along the roadside, then a path onto a large rock from where there was a terrifying drop sheer down to the fjord. There were some railings at the end of the rock. Sheila and Stuart went out onto the rock and I stayed higher up the road to take a picture of them. Suddenly a coach pulled up alongside me and dozens of excited Japanese tumbled out, cameras at the ready and clicking away at the two daredevils on the rock. From that distance you couldn't see the railing, so they appeared to be standing at the edge of an abyss. There would be a lot of photos later back in Japan of Sheila and Stuart standing there. Within a few minutes, photos taken, they climbed back into the bus and I was alone again.

We drove down to the fjord. There was a small town at the edge of it where we came across an English lady who was married to a Norwegian and they lived there. What a dramatic place to live. On our way home we crossed a bridge over one of the roaring rivers. The Norwegian rivers and waterfalls seemed to outperform even the ones we'd seen in Colorado. They were awe-inspiring.

It had been an exhilarating day and it was good to arrive back at the farm, and sit by the fire while Mrs Hole made a delicious hot stew for our supper. We had told her that we wouldn't be late home but she insisted that we would, and she was right.
We were wondering what to do on our last day and Mrs Hole explained how to get to a beauty spot not far away. We took our picnic there and had it beside yet another river. The rest of the day we spent in the town of Dombas. Then it was time to leave.

We should have sailed from Bergen but for some reason I can't remember (a strike?) we were told this wasn't now possible. So we had to drive all the way down into Sweden and leave from there. We made the best of it because before leaving Norway we stopped in Oslo to go to the museum where the Kon Tiki is on view. We'd read the story of Thor Heyerdahl and the adventures he and his five companions endured as they drifted 4,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean. It really is an exciting story, funny and dangerous, and now to see the Kon Tiki brought it all back to us. The raft is forty feet long and to drift as they did on it was almost unbelievable.

It was a long drive from Oslo to Gothenburg but enjoyable, mostly along the coast. Not having been there before we had a little difficulty finding our boat in the maze of docks. But eventually we were successful. We arrived home in time to go a week later to see Anne's graduation in Cambridge - something we wouldn't have missed for anything in the world.


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