A Hillbilly Town Like Seljord

Baroniet RosendalToday, we returned to Kongsberg after breaking the trip back into two legs: Bergen – Rosendal, and Rosendal – Kongsberg. Rosendal is a lovely spot – right beside a peaceful fjord and apparently blessed with a better climate than the surrounding area as well. The landmark in Rosendal is a place called Rosendal Baroniet (The Rosendal Manor). It was the home of one of Dano-Norwegian dignitary families in the past – Rosendal Baroniet was the home of a rich Norwegian lady called Karen Mowatt, and a poor Danish nobleman, Ludvig Rosenkrantz. It sounded like a good story, didn’t it? A well-off but a commoner, and a pennyless but a nobleman. The garden surrounding the actual Manor is also pretty – there are a lot of trees, well-designed rose patches, as well as criscrossing walking paths. The guided tour was conducted in Norsk, but I’m given a print-out that would help me understand what the guide was talking about.

From there, we stopped by quickly at the local church called Rosendal Kyrkje – I love visiting old churches and graveyards. As I mentioned earlier, gravestones can reveal hidden stories about the town history. You learn about possible plagues or hardship experienced by the earlier inhabitants of the local area. You can guess who the local dignitaries are and who are related to whom, especially if the gravestones are located in a cluster together.

After Rosendal, we made our way back towards Kongsberg. We didn’t do many photo stops this time – mostly because I was getting all fjord-and-mountain-weary. I had to refocus myself and remember that such sights were not usual back in Adelaide. I had to look at each roadbend, each mountain and each fjord with appreciative eyes. Who knows when I will be back in this wonderful corner of God’s earth?

RømmegrøtWe did have lunch at a little place called Haukeliseter – a cabin and a stop-over complex popular around Winter for the skiers. Hugo convinced me to have Rømmegrøt – a local ‘delicacy’ – warm sourcream porridge that you can eat with melted butter, raisins and cinnamon sugar. The final mix was actually pretty tasty and filling – I’m sure that the porridge is especially welcomed in Winter. Having the rømmegrøt also made me realise that I have become less finicky with the food that I have. I’ve become more and more willing to taste and eat new things – an attitude that my mum always has regarding dishes. She always says, “You have to at least try it once and see whether you like it or not! Don’t just say that you don’t like it if you’ve never tried!”. 🙂

From Haukeliseter, we also made a quick sto at a town called Seljord in the Telemark area. According to Hugo, Seljord is the ‘real Norwegian country’ – the hillbillies of Norway. Well, what did I see as we drove into the shopping centre? Barechested dodgy-looking men with cowboy hats and dodgy-looking ladies clad in their bikini-tops and jeans. The view made me feel very apprehensive as it was as if I had entered the area in the northern suburbs of Adelaide where I wouldn’t feel very welcomed. I was more apprehensive as we went to the supermarket and saw some rather tipsy barechested men buying more beers and nibbles. However, we found out later on that there was a Country Music Festival in Seljord between 23 – 27 July 2008. That explained the convergence of supposedly-dodgy looking men wearing cowboy hats. Hahaha. 😆

Heddal Stave ChurchFrom Seljord, we quickly also stopped at a village called Heddal, nearby the town called Notodden (another hillbilly town apparently – with the highest unemployment rate in southern Norway). I wanted to take some pictures of the stave church there – we arrived five minutes before closing time so we couldn’t get inside. Nevertheless, I managed to take various photos of the church’s exterior and the surrounding graveyard. Stave churches are wooden churches built using a style unique to Norway and also include elements of Viking designs into the ornamentation, such as the dragon heads at the top of the building. According to a couple of websites, the church at Heddal is the largest stave church in Norway. So, after some photos were taken, we were on our way back to Kongsberg again. I don’t have any plans tomorrow, although Hugo mentioned that perhaps we should climb up one of the hills to see the tower there. The exercise may be handy so I can lose the extra kgs that I have gained through the food here. Haha.

At the moment, I’m sitting on the balcony typing my blog whilst listening to the various songs stored in my MacBook – the song playing right now is Monica Zetterlund’s “Sakta vi gå gennom stan”. I remember hearing that song when I did my Stockholm trip in 2006. Stockholm is also one of my favourite cities in the world – it has a great atmosphere, great-looking inhabitants, and beautiful alley-ways in its Old Town (Gamla Stan). I don’t know if I can come again to Stockholm for a visit but for now, I can only reminisce and smile …

Åh det är skönt när mitt Stockholm är grönt
Sakta en natt då i stan
En kyss sen börja vandra igen
Sakta gå hem genom stan
Sakta gå hem genom stan
Sakta gå hem genom stan

Published by fuzz

I've finally relented to the lures of blogging - and for those who care, well, I'm a self-confessed geek who's a wanderer at heart, who thinks and analyses too much, and who's trying hard to hold on to his 7-year old inner persona.

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