Thursday, February 26, 2015

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 183

 Sørfjorden, Hardanger, Norway, 1921


I wanted to share a little more about our trip in June 2014 to Norway and Austria when I found this dark sepia toned 1921 Mittet & Company postcard sent to my grandmother, Petra Landaas Lee, from her friend Jenny.  The note on the reverse of the card sends best wishes to Petra, her husband, and daughter.  It also mentions Jenny's mother who just turned 79 years old.  The postal horn stamp is a dark pink color in the amount of 25 øre. 

 The card shows Sørfjorden in Hardanger, Norway located somewhat near the farms grandma used to visit when she was a girl.  The Landaas family lived in the city of Bergen but the children often spent the summer or parts of the summer on farms owned by relatives where they would help with the general farm work and tend the goats or sheep.  Since we did drive along this fjord on the way south from Ørsta to Hornnes it seemed a good time to combine a postcard with some pictures of the trip. 

Sørfjorden is a 24 mile or 38 kilometer long fjord arm that branches off the Hardangerfjord and runs from Kinsarvik south to Odda.  In this part of Norway the farms produce fruits such as apples and cherries.  The hillsides are very steep and the trees grow straight down or up as the case may be.  In one place we saw where the farmers had placed ladders and ropes on the hillside to tend the trees because the ground was too steep to stand on and do the work of pruning and picking.  Petra used to describe her memories of the strawberries growing on the mountainsides and how wonderful it smelled when the berries were ripe and how sweet they tasted when the sun was warm and bright in the summer. 

We stayed one night in the beautiful Ullensvang Hotel, below, located right on the fjord near Lofthus where there was a map showing the nearby communities and hiking trails.   The Norwegian composer and musician, Edvard Grieg, had a small cottage here where he would retreat to work on his compositions.  

Late afternoon on the fjord side of the Ullensvang Hotel

The small brown cabin is where Edvard Grieg would work. 

The trail map

Unlike the trails here in the U.S. that show the number of miles these distances were measured in the time it would take to make a round trip.  They must expect a lot of tourists here as the sign is in English and I really didn’t notice it was in English until much later.  Bob is pointing to Ullensvang where we were staying.

The photos above show fruit trees growing on the hillsides.  The picture just above is a view across the fjord from the hotel showing orchards.

Here are a few more photos of the fjord.  There were hundreds of waterfalls cascading down the mountainsides into the fjord all along the route we drove.  Individual farms and small communities like the ones in the pictures were found here and there.  Most of the villages had ferry service across the fjord to another community on the opposite side.  The scenery was breathtaking everywhere we looked.

Many of the houses and farms were flying flags like the one above.

The ferry pulling into the dock was typical of the ones we took, and we took many, as we crisscrossed our way down the coast on the way south from Ørsta to Hornnes.  

Many, many heartfelt thanks to my cousin and her husband for being our hosts, tour guides, drivers and everything else that was needed to make our Norway visit a dream come true.

This funny little bird with his beak full of something politely posed on the dock for me.  This was one of several birds we saw that we could not identify because we could not find a birding book for Norway in English in the regular touristy type stores and did not have time to find a more specialized book shop.  Perhaps someone will let us know what this little guy is called.

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Tusen takk! to Bjørn Arnhaug who provided a name for the little bird above.  The bird is a Wagtail or in Norwegian Linerle.

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