|Approaching Utne via Ferry Boat|
Our trip began with an overnight in Oslo, and an early morning train from there to Voss, a mountain ski resort town where we would spend a few days over our week in Norway. The train ride is said to be among the most spectacular in the world, and it would surely get our vote. Even though it was raining most of the time on the trip, it was still gloriously beautiful, from the fjords to the glaciers, to the small mountain villages and farms along the way.
|Researching Family History in Agatunet|
Once we returned to our rental house, we were joyously greeted by Carole's cousin, Einar, who escorted us to his house to meet his wife, Sara, who is also Carole's cousin. Sara served us a most amazing dinner of reindeer (a result of Einar's hunting expertise) and fresh vegetables, followed by an incredible dessert and coffee. We have never in our lives felt more welcomed anywhere! The following day, Einar and Sara took us on an amazing sight-seeing tour, a perfectly delightful day spent with our new family!
A bit sorry to leave Bleie, we returned to Voss and prepared for a scheduled interview with Koldjorn Valestrant and Signe Aarhus, the founders and co-owners of Oleana, Norway's premier maker of very high-end, exquisite knitwear (Michelle Obama purchased four Oleana jackets when the Obama's were in Oslo on the occasion of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize). Two more gracious hosts you will never meet, and the story of their enterprise is truly inspiring. If there was only one organization interviewed for David's sabbatical that could serve as a model of what is possible with vision, courage, talent and fortitude, Oleana would be it!
|Oleana's Retail Store in Bergen|
Now that we are home again, we must also say how very saddened we are to know about the recent extreme violence in Norway, a country so deserving of its reputation as a peaceful nation of fiercely independent people who are proud of their history, their culture, and the beauty of their land. Our hearts go out to all who are suffering there, and, even though it is impossible to return to a prior state, we are keeping the faith that Norway will recover from its tragedy and again be a symbol of beauty and peace for the world.