February 2020 Meeting Recap: Norwegian Journey of a Lifetime with Evelyn McDaniel
A breathtaking Norwegian “journey of a lifetime” by MCV member Evelyn McDaniel was shared with attendees at the Music City Vikings meeting Feb. 16 in Nashville. MCV is Sons of Norway Lodge 5-681.
Evelyn, who serves as Cultural Director for the lodge, shared her amazing 10-day journey across her homeland of Norway. Tracing their 2,500 mile trip on a map, she recapped the predominantly inland driving route she experienced with her daughter and grandson July 8-18, 2019.
Their journey began in historic Fredrikstad, Norway’s first renaissance city, established in the 16th century on the orders of King Frederick II. Then on to Oslo and the Oslo Opera House.
It was explained that in Norway, climbing a mountain feels like the most natural thing to do. So why shouldn’t this also apply to their opera house? Sweeping views of the harbor and Oslo, which sit at the head of the Oslofjord, can be seen from the roof of the Opera House.
Snøhetta Mountain was the inspiration for the opera house design, meant to look like a glacier in the Oslofjord. Snøhetta is the highest mountain in the Dovrefjell range, and the twenty-fourth highest mountain in Norway. It is also the name of the Norwegian architectural firm that designed the Oslo Opera House.
Evelyn shared beautiful images she had taken and told stories and a bit of history about the cities and villages on the road. The magnificent views from the bridges and the narrow, winding, and tunnel-filled mountain roads were endless. Tourist traffic, big RVs and road construction made arriving on time to the scheduled ferry-boat crossings a challenge for the travelers.
One especially memorable image was that of the Allmannberget mountain view from Evelyn’s childhood bedroom in the city of Oppdal. Evelyn climbed this mountain as a girl and she has a painting of it in her home in Tennessee. While visiting the city of Oppdal, Evelyn was recognized by a woman who had know her from school, when she was 10 and Evelyn was 12.
Musk ox and trolls reside in this cold region of Norway. Stories about and artistic images of the musk ox and trolls are seen throughout this region.
Evelyn shared that Norway has many unique places to stay overnight when traveling north to the Arctic Circle, where the sun never sets in the summer. Evelyn purchased a cap at the Arctic Circle Centre and explained the Arctic Circle is slowly drifting northwards several feet every year. The center is closed in the winter.
They took the ferry from Bognes ferry port over to Lødingen, north of Solvær, the capitol of Lofoten archipelago. Then they drove to the village of Borg to see the amazing reconstructed 83 meters (272 feet) Iron Age Viking chieftain’s longhouse, which is part of the Lofotr Viking Museum. Viking feasts are held in the longhouse, where visitors can experience what it is like to be a Viking. Visitors can watch demonstrations of handcraft, see the woodcarvings, textiles and other decorations, and immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the longhouse.
Many of the picturesque villages have grass roofs on their houses and sea gull nests on the window sills. Cod fishing is abundant in the cold waters of the Norwegian Sea. Cod are caught in the winter, dried on the drying racks, and then shipped out through the world. When not used for drying cod, many drying racks display colorful tee shirts.
The islands have world class cold water surfing destinations, with gigantic waves in the cold Arctic waters under the Northern Lights in winter, the Midnight Sun in summer. The ferry crossing from the Lofoten Islands to Bobo was four hours and packed with people and vehicles.
Evelyn had somewhat unsettling photos of the the Saltstraumen Maelstrom, the world’s strongest tidal current near the Saltstraumen Hotel in Nordland near Bodo. It is one of Norway's more unusual natural occurrences, four times every 24 hours at the 3km-long, 150m-wide Saltstraumen Strait. The tides cause one fjord to drain into another, creating the equivalent of a maelstrom or a whirlpool at sea. Adventurers like to boat across the strait.
The last stop in the journey was to the center of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Røros a mining town sometimes called Bergstaden, "mountain town" due to the copper mining. Evelyn worked at the Bergstaden Hotel when she was a young woman. The hotel is historic and looks almost the same as when she worked there.
Tusen takk to Evelyn for sharing her love of her homeland and providing an interesting and informative Norwegian travelogue with the Music City Vikings.