In among the slides were itineraries, tourist leaflets and, as can seen below, Doris’ journals.
These are her words – probably prepared for an illustrated talk. I’ll act as the projectionist.
“When I decided to go to Norway I went along to a travel agents who specialised in Scandinavia. I told them that although I like my own country folk, when I was abroad I like to meet the people of the country. I also said that I would like to travel to the north of Norway.
They suggested that I might join a party of Norwegians, Swedes and Danes who were travelling to North Cape in a small boat from Ålesund.
The boat would be small, the food plain but there would be more time at various ports and also include places that the average tourist never saw. This tour would be longer than the normal coastal cruise and there would be time at the end to see something of the Hardangerfjord and Bergen surroundings.
It was a cold dull day when we left England in the Leda. And our winter coats in preparation for the arctic did not look very out of place.
The crossing was very smooth and the following morning in brilliant sunshine…
…we saw the Norwegian Coast. First of all small islands, and as our escort of gulls increased we saw Bergen.
The city like so many others such as Athens Ankara Lisbon and Rome had been built on seven hills, it’s origin 900 years ago. Certainly it was a lovely sight from the harbour.
The country surrounding it was so rugged that until recently it was easier for its inhabitants to come to England or the continent than to reach Oslo or the interior.
We watched the busy scene from the Customs Houses, then with a backward glance at the Leda and her smaller sister ship, one of the daily coastal vessels, we made our way to the Erling Jane which was to take us as far as Ålesund.
It would only be in Bergen for a about half day but painters were renewing some of the exterior paintwork.
Leaving them to this we wandered around the harbour. There was a colourful market, plants, cut flowers, vegetables, fish and even…
…an open air art gallery.
Across the Harbour we could see the old Hanseatic houses. The original merchants had come from North Germany way back in the 15th century and built wooden houses along the quay of Bryggen (?). Although these have been destroyed in the great fire of 1702, they had been rebuilt in the same style. One of the houses has been turned into a museum and visitors today can see how the people lived. Apprentices were locked in small cupboards at night often six in a cupboard about 4′ 6″ long. I can only imagine that they slept sitting up. The master’s bed was also in a cupboard with doors. Although no fires were allowed on the premises by law, all cooking was done in a communal house. Nevertheless time after time houses were burnt down and one can imagine the tragic loss of life. The day before our arrival there had been a further fire.
Also near this quay is a royal residence dating back to the 13th century. Also a banqueting hall which had been badly…
… damaged during the last war, but now restored and used for ceremonial banquets.
We saw the flags flying in the city and wondering if they were in welcome for our arrival. We learnt that they were for the music festival which starts during the middle of May and goes on to the middle of June. Statue of Holberg – took a tour to Fantoft State Church.
Greig statue at home at Troldhaugen. Guide in a Norweigian costume outside exterior. Inside typical Victorian sitting room – antimacassars.
The little chalet where he composed many of his best compositions.
That night we cruised along the coast, stopping at Floro in the early morning. I arose, took a picture of Måløy. Could not stop in my berth whilst we maybe passing exciting scenery.
On deck I met Mr Christensen and this was a good thing. He told me that he was going to North Cape, but on a smaller vessel. When I said I was also changing boats he was surprised as he had not expected anyone from England to be aboard. He had been born in Norway and had gone to America as a young …
… man. Now he was retired he had remarried an Norwegian-American lady and both had returned to Norway to to spend their retirement as prices were not so high here as in the States and the U.S. government allowed pensions to be sent to them.
At Ålesund we had time to look around the town and saw a large colony of kittiwakes nesting/rooting in the heart of the city.
We also saw the seaplane which they used as a taxi!
Our first night on the Brand IV was rather rough. Near Kristiansund and there are many currents. As I had persuaded my friend to take this holiday, I was determined to try to conquer the sea sickness. Very silly because it always best to give way to this.
Next morning we passed three wrecks. A good thing we saw them after that rough night. We were assured that they had been there they had been there sometime!
We watched the varying scenery pass and in the evening visited Trondheim and saw the sunset from a ski resort.
The coastline was very rugged and just south of the Arctic Circle we saw a number of isles.
There was a rather charming legend about these. Troll Hestmannen saw Lekamøya a beautiful maiden bathing and started to pursue her. When she ran away and he realised that he would not be able to catch her he sent an arrow after her. King Troy (Trog?) threw his hat in the air and the arrow pierced that, instead of the maiden. The faeries changed them all into rocks. Here is fashioned by glacial action. Torghatten shaped like a hat. A great cave 500 feet long goes right through the isle halfway up the mountain. Our small boat landed here. It was the first ship from the mainland since last August when it had previously called at the island. Our captain always made a point of calling during the year. We climbed up to the giant caves and walked through to view the seascape and you can see what a difficult jobs the sailors have in this area.
The coastal vessels sail near so that their passengers …
… can see the hole in the cave. The Norwegians sang the Song of the North, and in this surrounding it was like listening to choir singing in a great cathedral.
It was 11.00 o/c at night when we sailed away, leaving the handful of islanders to wave and to sing to us their Northland song. It was rather like a scene in a musical comedy, fascinating colour caused by the low lying sun.
During the night we had crossed the Arctic Circle and Father Neptune had come aboard to initiate those who had not crossed a Circle before. Young Bront (?) had crossed 11 times but he was again first. The circle for the midnight sun was put on the forehead and a line down to the nose for the Arctic Circle and then a splash of water from a hose on the nose. Fortunately is not as cold as a previous day when we had a shower of snow.
The captain’s children proudly wearing the emblem paraded around.
Bodø was our next stop. This town had been destroyed by the Germans in 1940 and was now being rebuilt.
The new cathedral is very modern, its steeple and belfry detached from the main building. A plaque in its surface commemorates those who died in the last war. No names are mentioned. It reads “No one mentioned – No one forgotten”. Inside simpler and modern.
New residential area.
Salt stream situated south of Bodø. Due to change in tide and level. The tidal wave is the strongest in the world, the force sucks in large quantities of fish and this causes great cries for thousands of seagulls who seemed to know the times of these waves. Globe flowers were growing in the rocks.
In the evening we ascended the Ranvik (?) mountain and looked for the midnight sun but as it was cloudy we only saw the red reflections.
Our next port was Harstad, fish cannery, which he is in the Vesther (?) islands north of the Loftens. This has an attractive harbour.
Two miles away was the old church of Trondenes. It was built in the 13th century. This is the oldest church in the Arctic and was built as a fortress as well as a church, as there was chances of pagan Viking attacking it. Inside the 8 foot thick walls it is very simple and Norman in style. We saw two ornate embroidered chairs which are used in the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom wear very ornate golden crowns and sit on these thrones.
When we awoke next morning we found the boat had already docked at Tromso, the capital of the north and Albert had already got out his fishing tackle. He bought this simple line with him and when we stopped anywhere out came his line. Unfortunately it was catching and other passengers bought lines and we discovered that we were having plenty of fish. So much so that we decided we would cut all lines. Anyway I decided to try my hand and first row caught my mac. I did succeed, as you can see, and we had a fish breakfast. Cod straight from the sea is …
… quite delicious.
This town is 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle but here we saw roses blooming in a churchyard whilst snow clad mountains formed a background. We saw no roses blooming in England before we left.
Although in the polar regions we had not expected to meet bears, fortunately he was stuffed.
It was from Tromso that Roald Amundsen, the first explore to reach the South Pole, set out on his last journey in 1928. An Italian party had gone on an expedition to the North Pole and as nothing was heard from them, Amundsen set off with a search party. They left by plane from Tromso and that was the last heard of either party.
After lunch we took a coastal tour around the area. During the war the German Tirpitz went into hiding in this fjord and the RAF hunted it out and destroyed it. The something we saw was the hull of the Tirpitz.
The scenery north of Tromso was very spectacular.
That night at midnight the sun was as bright as in the daytime and we rode at anchor by a famous bird island which in the light of the low lying sun look like a giant piece of honeycomb.
Next morning we called in at the Havøysund. This is a typical northern port whose whole existence relies on fish. Here we saw boxes of fish waiting to be shipped, factories for canning, others for extracting oil.
Even the children can be seen digging for lug worms or shellfish.
One of the many ways of preserving fish is to dry it. Fresh fish is beheaded, split open and then hung in the sea the sea air to dry . Nets make a cage to protect the fish from the seagulls.
As we left the harbour, people came to wave goodbye.
You can see how (grim) the land is here. About 200 miles within the Arctic Circle and little vegetation will grow here. Now near the middle of June we were (unable) to travel for (?) to (snow). The weather was quite pleasant
Sometimes it becomes very warm and mosquitoes abound, but this period is not long enough for the plants to grow. Therefore the folk rely mostly on fish supplemented by veg and meat brought by the coastal vessels. But these are expensive. While we were far north we saw many children who had marks of frostbite on their faces.
Honningsvåg is another fishing village. This is situated on the (Mageröe) or (Lean island) well named when you think of the last picture. From here we visited a Lapp encampment. Although many of the people who live in these parts are Lapps who have settled down and live in houses, the Lapps are still mainly nomads travelling in North Norway Sweden and Finland.
Those we visited belonged to the (Karagok) tribe and can be recognized by the unique headdress which looks like a jester’s cap. Karagok is the capital of this tribe and has a college. These are college girls dressed in festival..
.. clothes outside a nomad winter residents of earth and turf.
We were unable to reach North Cape by road and that night we sailed around the cape. Here we climbed on the most northerly part of Europe. We looked down into the bay where our ship lay at anchor.
Next morning we arrived at Hammerfest. This is the most of the northerly town in the world on this same latitude as the north coast of Alaska. Hormingvay which we had already seen is a fishing village has not the status of a town.
Here we saw the Meridian stone which was erected to mark a scientific year between Norway and Sweden. Also a very modern school and later we were entertained by the local town’s women’s guild. I was very amused to see the teenage girls wearing skirts with famous pop singers names embroidered on them.
We visited an island where the ships party had been invited to hold a service. This was a great day for the community. From all the islands around, small boats made their way the(re) …
… some had travelled for four hours to be present at the church, and when our boat appeared many small vessels came out from the shore to greet us. Soon we were invaded and as we landed ashore we received a great welcome.
After the service, the captain invited the young people to take a trip in our boat and soon we were crowded with islanders. At last, at about 2 o/c in the morning they returned to their island.
The following day was warm and sunny and we berthed at a place called Finness (?) and took an excursion to Bardufoss (?). We reached a place where the royal family had a country residence. Indeed when the Germans invaded Norway, the King travelled north and resided there. When he realised the whole country would be overran, he left this place to come to England and lead his government from our country.
The colours here were very exciting…
… as the coach spent on its way we passed lakes, with snow capped mountains reflected in their waters, young red stemmed beeches just about to break into leaf. The sun still very low gave a rosy hue to the views. We stopped to view a large waterfall and watched salmon leaping. This foss on waterfall is situated in the grounds of a military airdrome, the most northerly drome. I was told in the winter months the planes have skis instead of wheels.
Now we arrived in the Loften Islands again nearing the Arctic Circle. It is strange that it becomes colder here. This is the Trollfjord, very small dark and mysterious. Now we are in the harbour of Solvean the capital of the Lofetens. This was the scene of much wartime activity.
This is one of the chief centres of the Norwegian codfishing fleet. During March and April fleets of 5 and 6000 fishing boats come to this anchorage and a high hospital has been built to accommodate six fishermen. Here in …
… the middle of June we saw daffodils and tulips in bloom.
This is not a very glamorous picture, but still of interest. This is Hestman, or the houseman who I mentioned earlier and the arctic circle goes right through this island.
Here at Nesna we watched a ploughman. His horse was a soft pale colour rather like Swiss cows.
This shows a typical house country house thatched with turf. A seedling of a tree growing on the roof.
The mission were also giving a service here, but there was another attraction, a circus.
What with the circus boat and another coastal vessel the small quay was overcrowded and our little boat put out to sea for a while. My friend and I were with the skipper’s wife and children so knew things were alright but two Norwegian ladies thought our boat had gone without them so boarded the coastal vessel. The coastal vessel radioed our captain …
… and the two ladies were put ashore at Sand(?) where our ship called to pick them up. It was rather reassuring that if we did miss the boat somehow we would eventually manage to get back on board.
Our evenings are pretty full. In the north where we had continual sunshine we had excursions and visits which lasted to the late hours of night, even the early hours of the morning and when in the southern regions with darker nights we had a ship’s concerts and one given by passengers and an illustrated talk by a missionary woman who had been in both China and Japan. At Christensen there was an English fish and chip stand.
We have now reached Alesund where we first boarded Brand IV and here we went up to the [missing – we’ll never know! CAM] and this is the view from here.
Next day we sailed along the coast in sunshine to Bergen.
Here we transferred to an hotel for two nights. The following day we …
… took (?) by train, bus and ferry to some of the places on the Hardangerfjord.
At (Graivin) we saw this delightful old lady wearing traditional costume. The apron embroidered with Hardanger embroid.
This is Northeirnsund. And here at OS w(h)ere we crossed by ferry you can see the rainbow.
Next day we were taken by car by the son of one of the passengers two Gamelhanger and Fantoft.
Are now returning to our ship, passed our that were dressed with flags to commemorate the King’s coronation [ Note Olaf five coronation was the second 22nd of June 1958 – CAM].
And here one last look back as the tug takes the strain and the Leda starts on her journey across the North Sea to England.”
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Some off photos in among Norway.