Norse Legends

Okay time for an actual Norwegian legend. The gorge that forms Gairangerfjord must have almost a hundred waterfalls of various sizes but the most famous are the Seven Sisters and their Suitor. Th legend tells of seven sisters of remarkable beauty who playfully let their hair spill down the mountain side into waters of the Fjord. When the spring thaw all seven of them come out to tease a single waterfall across the gorge – the Suitor. In the heat of summer several of the sisters choose to hide from the sultry weather and only one or two will appear. In recent years they have been hiding away more often. At the height of this past summer only one let down her tresses.

But ever hopeful if there is only one or if all seven appear the Suitor beckons, trying to convince one of them to join him. But the Sisters, though they continue to tease their Suitor, will not be separated. To drown (?) his sorrow at being rejected the Suitor has turned to drink and has a bottle perpetually at the ready. Overlooking it all is the face of a troll turned into stone when he was exposed to sunlight – a common fate for these dangerous and stupid creatures.

We hadn’t seen these legendary cascades when we came into the Fjord – well maybe anyone up at 0330 had but certainly no one in our stateroom. To accommodate us slugabeds when we came to the Sisters and Company on our way out of the Fjord the Captain did a 360º pivot so photos and videos could be taken. It took a 7 minutes to make the maneuver but gave everyone a splendid view of the Sisters, their Suitor and a few of us even saw the Troll.

Again the video is very rough with the original sound of the wind, fellow voyagers and the expedition director narrating. And it does last the full seven minutes so feel free to adjust your viewing as you see fit.

Though they are spectacular they are only the 39th tallest waterfalls in Norway. The country is so blessed in waterfalls that hydro electricity is a main – and reasonable – source of power. The Seven Sister cascade 410 meres or 1,350 ft into the Fjord and the tallest has an initial free fall of 250 metre or 820 ft.

September 18 is Rice Krispie Treat Day and also the day that – Air Canada flight load willing – we leave Europe to return home. More about the trip later.

Now These Are Christmas Ornaments……

Just for Cathy

That you will never see on our Christmas tree!!!!

All available in the gift shop at Kensington Palace to celebrate the 200th birthday of Vicki and the newly arrived Archie. Vicki and Archives – need I say more.

September 17 is International Country Music Day so let’s twang that guitar, sob that story and carol our heartbreak from the back of our truck!

Norse Legends – ???

I realize that both my faithful readers have been disappointed that there have not been pictures of craggy cliffs, fragmentary fjords and ferny forests or even a big bosomed breastplated Brunhilde in the past week or so. You’re in bloody Norway doing a fjord cruise is muttered as pictures of buildings in Toronto, art galleries in Amsterdam and works of art on a ship that fairly reeks of Kardashiana bling appear in post after post.

Well a few things in my defense. I had a period of 24 hour isolation when I reported a case of Gypy-tummy to the Medical Officer which means I missed the first fjord and the town of Eidfjord except the odd glimpse through stateroom window. An internet connection is almost impossible in the depths of the fjords (how do these people manage????) and when available doesn’t have the most cooperative bandwidth. And then the rain – ah the rain! Did you know that the city of Bergen gets 252 days of rain a year – take that Vancouver!

All this to say that posting has been a trifle difficult however pictures were taken, things enjoyed, and posts began. Many of them will be posted once we get back to home base, some of course will be consigned to the “I’ll do that later” bin ne’er to be seen again. In the meantime here’s a very rough video (no sound adjustments etc) of the view of the town of Geiranger at the end of the Geirangerfjord.

And you’ll notice this is a day late – it was impossible to upload the video on either the TGV or the Eurostar. Which by the way were two more interesting (???) episodes on this trip!!!

September 16th is Play-Doh Day but if that isn’t available in your playground then how about we celebrate Collect Rocks Day?

But Is It Art?

The good folk at Holland America trumpet the quality of the art that. lines the stairwells and concourses of Neuwe Statendam. Though I found some it it at times whimsical – such as the needle point dress makers display I shared earlier – or interesting, much of it does beg the question: Is it really art?

Here’s a few pieces with more to follow – there were 14 decks, three stairwells and a myriad of open spaces to fill.

Does anyone still wear a hat? – Stephen Sondheim.

I was saw an exhibition of the works of Andy Warhol at the marvellous Byzantine Museum in Athens. I had a chance to speak with the curator and she said: An icon is an icon!

My mother said that needlepoint was an art and I knew better than to contradict my mother.

If it ain’t Baroque then don’t fix it.

Strangely none of the works were labeled with either a title or an artist attribution.

September 15 is Make a Hat Day – which pretty much answers my question.

This, That and the Other Thing

A visit to a souvenir shop in the town of Geiranger revealed one thing that delighted me and another that rather bothered me.

Yeah I’m really scared – whatcha gonna do if I cross the bridge?

Judging from the displays of fridge magnets, dolls, computer pads, calendars, and butane lighters Trolls* have become sweet, loveable, endearing wee folk. They aren’t as cuddly as Smurfs but are less likely to leave blue smudges on your clean white shirt if they hug you. And hug you they will, not eat you or demand your first born as payment for some impossible favour granted. They are not the type of troll that the three billy goats defeated to become national heroes. These are Hollywood and Saturday morning cartoon trolls save for the tender sensibilities of little Liam and Emma! No say I! Give us back our ugly, nasty, bone-gnawing, child-kidnapping, malicious creatures whose only purpose is to make mankind – particular miscellaneous royalty, miserable. Those are the trolls we love!

But on to the delightful and a souvenir that I was sore tempted to buy (though where it would end up Odin only knows)! I saw these two and immediately thought of Lauritz Melchior and Helen Traubel in photos of the old Met’s production of Das Ring! At the risk of offending friends who are Wagnerites these two look a heck of a lot more fun than most Brunhildes and Siegfrieds I’ve seen.

And then there were two souvenirs that did find their way into bubble-wrapped safety in our luggage. Any guesses as to what they area – yes I know a teapot and a star but beyond that I mean?

*Please understand I am talking about the real thing of Norse origins here not the fabricated creatures that inhabit the internet. Their origins are from the dark cesspools of diseased minds not the wild and untamed beauty of the fjords.

September 12th is Chocolate Milk Shake Day – so shake it up babies!