Thursday, May 31, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 41

Eikesdalsvandet, Romsdalen, Norway, ca 1900

Eiken, north of Bergen in More og Romsdal, is where Kristi Mor moved when she left Os in Hordaland, south of Bergen, to marry her second husband, Berent Berentsen.  One of the things her first husband, Ole Torstensen Salbuvik, did was to work as a ferryman.  Others of our ancestors also supplemented their farm income by being ferrymen in Norway.  They used small boats like the one shown on the postcard to transport passengers across the fjords for various reasons.  The western coast of Norway is a mass of fjords small and large.  There are many islands in the fjords and off the coastline.  The only way people could get from place to place was by using small boats like this one to go to church or to travel from their remote farm to the rest of the community.  The card below shows several boats in the bay by Namsos, even further north in Nord Trøndelag. 

When reading through the church registers it becomes apparent that this was often a hazardous journey that was done weekly or sometimes more often.  These cards show calm water but from the records we can know that this was not always the case.  Storms with winds and rough water were not uncommon especially in the winter months and some of the records list entire families that drowned during such crossings.  I doubt the ferrymen got hazardous duty pay for trips during foul weather.  A man would have to be not only a good sailor but have lots of muscles to row under those conditions.

Namsos, Nord Trøndelag, Norway, ca 1900

Today there are still ferries but not nearly as small as these boats.  When we visited Norway several years ago we took a ferry from Kinsarvik across Utnefjorden on our way from Kristiansand to Bergen.  That ferry was certainly small compared to the ones we have here that cross Puget Sound.  Instead of carrying hundreds of cars it only had room for a couple of cars and foot passengers.

Near Kinsarvik, Norway

This little community was on a fjord somewhere between Odda and Kinsarvik, Norway.

Sometimes it is hard to imagine the life these people had, the manual labor and living conditions so different from what we have today.  But the countryside is so beautiful in Norway and the population is not as dense as it is in the cities here.  I am sure my father would have thought it a small price to pay.  I am sorry both he and my mother did not have the opportunity to travel to Norway to see where their parents grew up.  They would have loved it.

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