Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Don't go Chasing Waterfalls

May 22:
We are on our deck outside our room. A Spanish cruise ship is pulling out of the dock and moving up the fjord. I think I told you we could see the fjord and snow cap mountains, but I failed to mention we have also 16 waterfalls we can see and definitely hear. Today has been another adventure, a pilgrimage of sorts. Off the beaten path is a old stavkirke (stave church), all wood construction built around 1150 just outside of Borgund. This church is remarkably unique in that it has been unchanged since the middle ages. Where most of world’s stave churches have been reformed, burned or left in ruins this one has remained untouched, but also preserved. So I really, really wanted to see this church, but how to get there. We asked at the information place several times, but they were not much help. It is not on the normal bus route. So we hopped on the first bus which took us through a 15 mile long tunnel to Laerdalsøyri on the Sognefjorden, the longest fjord in Norway. The bus driver called in for us and got us information on how to get close to Borgund. We had almost 1 & ½ hours in Laerdal so we walked through the old fishing village of Laerdalsøyri, went to the grocery store and bought some weird cheese with ham, bread, Solo (a drink Rebecca likes), and Freia chocolate with hazelnuts. The other bus did arrive and inform us that yes he could get us close. On the way he also called in to make sure we were on the right and (holy?) path. He dropped us off at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere and said another bus would be back this way and could take us all the way back to Flåm, meet the bus across the street at 2:38 and to get to the Borgund Stavkirke was only a ten minute walk in that direction. (Well it was a ten minute Trossingen walk!) 20 minutes and we finally got there. What an awe inspiring place. Stepping through the threshold of time into another world, dragon heads aloft, St. Andrew crosses, a granite baptismal font at the door and still the old gods way up in the darkness. Oden to the left (we get Wednesday from (w)onden’s day) and Freya to the right (we get Friday from Freya’s day) way up above the altar. We were fortunate to be alone with a warden who had a flashlight to shine up and explain what we couldn’t see in the darkness. A few tourists finally arrived, but for a time we had the place to ourselves. We walked back to a lonely bus stop, nothing but green and snowcapped mountains and a tracker moving back and forth. Bus came at 2:39. Thanks be to God for bus drivers. Skål

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