It seems so surreal, but the moment has finally arrived for me to leave and go to the Fedreland (Fatherland). Our itinerary has burned its shape into my retinas, and all I see are afterimages of jet lag and bus rides, but it will be worth it!
We are going to a small village northeast of Sogndal, the largest settlement of note above Bergen. "Large" is relative. To them that's around three thousand. We will be staying in Solvorn, which has a small population of about 200 people. The village is ancient, and older than the United States. I love Europe for that. Its very existence teaches us that Americans shouldn't take themselves very seriously when out there, in the big world, there are small towns with more stability than nations.
It overlooks the Lustrafjorden, which is an offshoot of the Sognefjord, the largest glacier-carved inlet in the world. The prefix "Lustra-" is a derivative of Old Norse "Lústr" which means "light."
"Lys" is Norwegian for "light" and is combined with other prefixes to make words like "flashlight" and "candle" (lommelykt og stearinlys). Across from the town of Solvorn is a stave church on the Ornes farmstead. That is the Urnes Stave Church, built in 1129-30, the oldest of its kind in Europe. They know exactly how old it is because of the core samples they did on the wood. They can even pinpoint what time of year the tree was cut down. How is it that buildings we made at the turn of the century are crumbling to pieces and this building has outlived them ten fold, in the snow no less?
Above Solvorn is the Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier in continental Europe. It is a tremendous thing that we will have the privilege of trotting over. Lucky for us, the place where we are staying has connections with a hiking company that gives tours of the glacier. It's going to be great!
Best of all, were we are staying is the Eplet Bed and Apple. There aren't very many places to stay up in the region, especially when they are so expensive. Eplet on the other hand is very affordable. Technically it's a hostel, but its so far away from the cities that it's transmuted into a quaint little place with eco-friendly grass cutters (sheep) and a rolling apple orchard going up to the main house. They are supposed to have the best apple juice in Norway. (Well maybe not the best, but I can hope).
I will try my best to continue my posting schedule, and upload pictures to the Internet. Can't make any promises, but I assure you that the pictures will be phenomenal We leave on Monday from San Diego International Airport at 8:10pm and arrive in Oslo, Norway at 8:25pm Tuesday night. Catch you soon! I will finally be able to visit the place that my book is about!