En britisk reiseskildring av Hallingdal fra Hemsedal til Gulsvig i 1877 (tre kapitler)

“A summer holiday in Scandinavia” av Edwin Lester Linden Arnold,.
Publisher London, S. Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington Year 1877. Transkribering og emneinndeling av Olav Sataslåtten d.y. Ingen av bildene er fra boken.

tuv lindahl 80Axel Lindahl: Tuv 1880

Hemsedal
CHAPTER VII.
23rd August.—It was quite astonishing how
punctually we were all awake in the morn
ing, and in what a brief space of time we
dispatched our breakfast. We were, in
truth, heartily glad to be off; and when P.
had paid the hotel bill, and M.— now
nearly recovered—had been tucked up with
plenty of her wraps in the best carriole, we
strapped on. the guns and rods, and fixed
the portmanteaus behind the different con
veyances in about half the interval usually
expended. The greater part of the inhabit
ants of the houses in our quarter of the
town had turned out to see us, and they
manifested the liveliest interest in all our
preparations. As I at last got into my
carriole, I wondered, in fact, whether our
departure was more exciting to those who
stayed or those who started.
It was a fresh autumn morning, and the
air delightfully clear and bright after the
storms of the previous days; so we bowled
along the smooth, well-kept road, towards
Hæg—the same route as that by which we
had come to Lærdalsøroen of gloomy
memory. We reached and changed horses
at neat little Blæliaten, about eleven o’clock;
and then on again to Hæg, where we
lunched, and were kept waiting, as usual,
a quite disgraceful time for horses. Soon
after passing Hæg we crossed the Ely river;
but, taking now the south road, commenced
the ascent of a frightful hill. We toiled and
struggled up it under the hot afternoon sun
—all but M. walking—for hours as it
seemed; and the steep incline above us still
went on climbing higher and higher. Just,
however, when we were doubting whether
there was any top to this long hill, the faces
of our skyds-caris brightened; we all made
a great effort, and in another moment we
were panting victoriously, and straightening
the angles out of our aching backs, on the
hard-won edge of a plateau of mountain
land. Five or six minutes were silently
passed in regaining our spent energies, and
then we mounted the carrioles once more,
and proceeded at a much better pace—but
stifi ascending rapidly—until we reached the
hall-way station of Brejstøl, a bitterly cold
spot, where, however, we found to our
a8tonishment that H., an enthusiastic
fisherman, had been stopping for several
days! He was very loud in his praise of
the people of the inn, but he had been
disappointed with the fishing and shooting.
This post-house seemed a very lonely,
bleak place, being surrounded on all sides.
by boundless wa8tes of moorland and morni
tam side. The biggest flocks of sheep we
had met with were seen here. They often
numbered from three hundred to four hun
dred animals, many of these black. They
were great jumpers—taking extraordinary
bounds and leaps over rocks and ditches—
thick-woolled, and very wild. They kept
remarkably close together, as a protection,
perhaps, from bears and wolves; and in thia
habit they were followed by the cattle—
also abundant in this district—large, rather
coarsely-made beasts, which seemed well
qualified to take care of themselves.

Neither cattle nor sheep appeared incon
venienced by the intensely cold winds that
howled in these regions, and from which we
all suffered smartly. Having waited the
necessary half-hour to refresh our tired
horses (for it is only one stage from Hæg
to Bjoberg, the next point), P. went out
to see that the animals were ready; but
there were no horses in the carrioles, and
when the station-master was asked the
mem ing of this, he explained that our Hoeg
skyds-caris had had enough work for one
day, and they had determined to go back.
However, he added, they were kindly catch-
ing us some more cattle before they started,
and he pointed to two men chasing a herd
of yellow ponies over a hill-side, about half
a mile off. We subsequently had reason to
be thankful for these new nags, for we were
able to put them on their mettle, and so
reach the next station in half the time we
should have taken with our tired Hæg
beasts. After an elaborate wrapping up of
legs in rugs, and careful fastening of every
button on our overcoats, we at last started
from Brejstöl, looking somewhat like an
expedition bound to the North Pole. I
led the way, and was enabled to keep up
an excellent pace, through the maternal
affections o( my mare who had a foal run
ning at her side. By occasionally giving
the little animal a touch in the ribs with
the butt end of my whip I got him to go
cantering on ahead, upon which the dam
made her best endeavours to overtake him,
with a very happy result.

We passed along the blankest and most
lonely crest I had seen—mountains every
where; whole ranges of them, interlacing
and branching off in every direction—great
bankg and terraces of hill-tops; they resem
bled, in fact, a huge disordered army of crags.
Most of them were covered at least half-way
down with last winter’s snow, and each of
these “corries” acted like a refrigerator to
the wind which blew over it. A wonderful
region it was, “the home of silence and
eternal snows;” but amid it all my skyds-
carl pointed out one valley near the road on
the left-hand side, as a wonderful place for
reindeer—a vast amphitheatre of rocks, with
a little lake of water at the foot, and its
summit wrapped in thick snow—on which
as we passed the sun shone brightly and
brought it out in bold relief against the
indigo background of a driving hail-storm.
On this hill a native sportsman, with his
doubtlessly very ancient rifle, had lately
killed nine reindeer in one day; and the
next morning, as he was going to get the
carcases, had stumbled on the herd again,
and succeeded in bagging several more.
So my skyds-carl said, and I had every
reason to believe his story.

Passing this tempting spot, which we
would certainly have explored if we had had
more leisure, we came upon a long narrow
lake—about the chiflest-looking and most
dismal sheet of water it would be possible to
find. Dante, if he had known it, would cer
tainly have borrowed a dreary circle for his
Inferno from that mere, and told us of devils
“tubbing” unfortunate sinners in such a
hell of frost-bitten water. We, indeed, grew
steadily colder and colder every minute of
this long drive. As to attempting to hold
the reins for any time with one hand, it was
quite an impossibility. Even when one hand
was put on duty at a stretch, and the other
plunged deep into the rugs, the member out
side upon active duty was soon half frozen,
and very impatient to be relieved long before
the hand under cover had grown nearly warm
enough to be ready to come out. Luckily
the horses did not want very much driving,
and we let them take care of themselves
a great deal, as they are always well capable
of doing.

Thus we struggled on through the north
wind, until we came to a place where the
road bent suddenly back out of Bight behind
a rise in the ground and then reappeared
again, to wind in full Bight for five or six
cold miles up the moor-like side of a bill,
Such a thing as a house not being visible
anywhere. I was ‘very uncomfortable, to
say the least of it; and felt, as I looked at
the prospect, that something serious would
happen to me if Bjøberg were not lying
perdu in that brief hundred yards of hidden
road. Consequently, I watched with breath
less interest, as we turned the corner, for
the chance of seeing even a chimney on
which my hopes might be founded. A
minute of keen suspense ensued, but then
I found, with a grateful sigh, that Bjøberg
was indeed there, and mentally blessed its
grass-covered roofs.

bjøberg wilse 20talletWilse: Bjøberg 1920-tallet

Bjøberg
We soon gained the station-yard; the
hostess came out and welcomed us; and we
proceeded to get stiffly down from our car
rioles. For the first few minutes all felt
very much like logs of wood; but some brisk
exercise up and down the pavement in
front of the house woke up the frozen blood,
and by the time the station-mistress and
our skyds-caris had got the horses into their
stables, we were ready to take in a part of
our luggage. Only a part had to be undone.
We thanked our good angels for that, for
the carrioles we now used belonged to the
Christiania company, and we thereby
escaped the necessity of taking all our bag
gage down at every station in order that
the carrioles might be driven back. We
found these vehicles—which we had hired
of M. Bertelsen to run from Lærdalsøroen
to Gulsvig—an immense saving, and a great
improvement upon previous practice. In
unstrapping some necessaries and carrying
them indoors from the carrioles, we were
ably helped by the landlady’s daughter,
who, bareheaded and with yellow hair fly-.
ing, seemed to care as little for the bitter
cold and wind as the bleached deer’s heads
and antlers which hung over the low stable
door. Inside the house the hostess bustled
about, and soon made up a splendid fire in
each of our rooms. The warmth was very
grateful, and we luxuriated in it while
supper was being prepared — an excellent
little meal, let me add, when it made its
appearance, and one to which we did fullest
justice.

Bryllugsgaver
In the principal room of the house I
noticed some curious and interesting mar
riage presents. On a very elaborately
painted clothes-press there were two rows of
dwarf meal tubs, both together containing
about a dozen of them. This was one set
of presents, and were it not for the very
lavish and wonderful ornamentation which
covered each vessel, I should have said a
very useful one; but, on making closer in
vestigations, it turned out that the fair
owner of these beautiful things had felt the
scruples which would occur naturally to any
proud and artistic possessor of them, and
had not used the tubs for fear of spoiling
their paint. The other present, the “press”
itself, was quite a marvel of ingenuity. It
was about eight feet by eight feet, and three
feet deep. When closed, it stood against
the wall, and blazed in all the colours of
the rainbow, with nuptial inscriptions most
fearfully and wonderfully composed. The
ground colour, if I remember rightly, was
vermillion; and then there were scrolls of
green and yellow, with circles of red and
blue; flowers, flourishes, fruit, lines, letters,
margins, painted in black, green, blue, red,
yellow—any colour and every colour, in fact.
In the centre were the names and birth-
dates of the donor and receiver of this mag
nificent article of furniture, inscribed on the
same panel, and surrounded by a wild en
tangled forest of true-love flourishes. So
much for the outside. When the two folding
doors were opened, you saw before you art
and industry combined. The same scrolls
and flourishes and splendid wealth of paint
were displayed, but they adorned the out-
sides of tiny inner cupboards, drawers, and
raoks innumerable; intended to contain all
the smaller and more choice household
effects of the bride. There were brass pegs
in glittering rows, racks for crockery, big
drawers with shining handles for the re
ception of household linen, smaller ones—
several of them secret receptacles, with
ingeniously hidden openings—pigeon-holes,
etc.; in fact, it was a perfect domestic mag
azine. These presents are ordered and paid
for by the Norsk bridegrooms before all weddings;
certain local carpenters and artists
giving all their intensest attention to making
them as complete and brilliant as possible.
24th August.
—We started at nine o’clock
next morning from Bjøberg, and found it
still very cold, though, as the north wind
had gone down and we had all fortified
ourselves with a substantial breakfast, the
temperature on the fjeld was easier to bear
than it had appeared last night. The horse
I received at the station was, perhaps, the
laziest any of us had driven during our
journey; indeed, throughout the whole of
this day I My sluggish nag from the first refused to
keep up with the others; and so, after a
great deal of exertion on my part in trying
to rouse him, we two were left far behind
and alone with nature. A wonderfully good
place it looked all around me for reindeer,
bears, wolves, and such “fearful wild fowl;”
great mountains on the left, with the dash
ing Hemsedal river flowing at their feet;
and to the right the lonely rock-bestrewn
moorland stretching into the infinite; while
in front, the road—a thin grey line—wound,
now backwards and now forwards, along
the face of a range of steep hill-sides. We
began to descend rapidly soon after leaving
Bjoberg, with the beautiful mountain stream
of Hemsedal sparkling along on our right-
hand all the merry way. The drive, how
ever, to the next station was very long—a
good sixteen English miles, equal to two and
a little more than a quarter Norwegian; and
we were not sorry when we came in sight of
the posting-house of Tuff, where of course
we had to change horses. was unlucky in the equine way.

Tuv
Tuff is a curious little low-roofed station,
rather unlike the general run of Norwegian
buildings, being a rambling disjointed place,
with the bedrooms in one part and the
kitchen in another. The whole plot was
enclosed by high pine railings, looking
rather as if the owner, wishing to defend
himself from highway robbers, had built
a stockade round his property. This fence
was the more noticeable, as stout rails or
hedges of any kind are the exception in
Norway. The sæters have rude stone
erections round their hovels; but they are
scarcely worthy of the name of wail, not
being half so well built as similar structures
raised in Gloucestershire, and especially on
the Cotawold hills, of unmortared limestone.

Skigarder
The usual Norwegian fences—such as those
I have mentioned before as being composed
of lopped pine-sticks fastened together side
by side, seating at an acute angle from the
ground, and supported by a stake every
twenty yards — are certainly by no means
strong, as I have often found, and will
here give an amusing proof. J., who cer-
tainly could not be called preposterously
heavy, was getting over one of the fences in
question—he was nicely balanced on the
top; another moment and he would have
been safely over—but the fates were ad
verse, and as we looked there was a dull
crackling all down the lines of sticks; a
little tumult; and then about twenty yards
of the barrier came to the ground with a
smash, nearly burying J. among its ruins.
He was soon rescued, amid much laughter,
and together we stuck the stakes in again,
put the sticks straight, and in about five
minutes had the satisfaction of leaving the
fence nearly, if not quite, as good as new.

Mot Ekre
Leaving Tuff we caught a pleasant glance
at the river—spanned by a new bridge—and
of the landscape behind us; but then began
one of the worst stretches of road it had
been our misfortune to pass over as yet.
Beside being full of haif-embedded and half
exposed rocks, it was particularly narrow
and badly engineered, taking an apparent
delight in violent turns and sudden ascents
and descents. Yet the faults of the road
were to some extent forgotten by us as we
enjoyed the fresh air and the warm sun, which
shone down brightly on everything, and was
particularly delightful after a day or two of
bleak hills and snow-laden north winds. It
was a road which, with all its sins, led us
from December to August again; for, in
deed, we were descending more deeply into
summer and green vegetation at every mile.
I noticed no fir trees above Tuff; but on
nearing Ekre they were once more abun
dant, lining every hill side, and forming a
dense forest on either side of the road in
the direction of the next station. Then,
again, the pale grey and yellow reindeer
lichen, which we had learnt to associate
with dampness and cold, gave way to greener
and brighter mosses and ferns. Altogether
there was an indescribable charm in the
swift climatic changes of the Tuff to Ekre
stage, on this fair mountain slope.

Ekre
On reaching Ekre we dismounted, and P.
ordered some lunch, for our drive had made
us all hungry. But in our hopes of getting
any food from the landlord we were dis
appointed. On P.’s first application, he pro-
fessed to be profoundly astonished at the
very idea, but on being pressed again, after
a moment’s consideration he opened the
drawer of a dresser, in the dirty little room
where the “dag-book” was kept, and having
effected some little rummaging among odds
and ends of string, newspaper, etc., he
produced a semi-melted piece of butter on
a cracked and much chipped plate, and
another plate containing some extremely
old and mouldy “flad-bröd “—never very
palatable stuff; yet we had seldom seen it
appear to such disadvantage as in this
specimen which our host offered us. With
this banquet—a plate of flad-bröd, another
of butter, and a single knife—he left us to
our appetites. It was ironical to expect
four people to dine off such materials; so,
after contemplating them for a minute, they
were put carefully back in the drawer from
which they came; and while some of us
unpacked a hamper, in which we had
luckily placed a tin of soup and some
other eatables before leaving the other
stations “not to be used except in emer
gencies” such as the present, the others
borrowed a saucepan, and gave the only
two plates in the house a wash, which they
certainly needed.

The tin of soup was opened, and the soli
dified mass shaken into the saucepan and
covered with water, in presence of the whole
household, who had turned out in a body
to take a lesson in cooking. The saucepan
was then put carefully on the fire, in the
landlord’s drawing-room, and J. told off to
watch it. When it had boiled he brought
it in, and we sat down to dinner; nor on the
whole did we make a bad meal, though
we still had to suffer some inconveniences
through four persons attempting to eat soup
off two cheese-plates, sans any spoons.

Ekre altogether seemed a most miserable
place. The house is barely above the rank of
a hovel. The station-master we found ohm-
nically sleepy, and the horses provided for
the next stage were all four very indifferent.

Immediately after lunch we were told
there was no skyds-carl to be found, and
that we might have to stop where we were
for some time; but when P. threatened to
start “skyds-carl or no skyds-carl,” the
station-master soon managed to find one,
and we set forth again about three o’clock.
The road now lay through lovely pine and
beech woods, covering the sides of steep
hills; far down at the feet of which the
river ran in a long, serpentine thread. It
would have seemed a perfectly delightful
stage, if only the road had been bet
ter; but this was horrible, worse if pos-.
sible, than that between Tuff and Ekre.
What, perhaps, I may call its flesh, had
long been worn off the road by passing
carrioles and stol-kjærres; and there was
very little but the bare skeleton left, the
bones being very correctly represented by
innumerable rocks and ridges, which stuck
up from the surface, and over which we gene
rally had to charge. Several of these obsta
cles were raised nearly a foot above the
level of the macadam. The grades, too, were
very undulating, some of the “drops” being
so sudden that you could not see the bot
tom, even at a few yards distance from their
summit. But as we were rather in a hurry
we took advantage of these slopes, and went
down them very fast; I think, perhaps, over
fast. Indeed, I came to this conclusion only
too decidedly, when in rushing down a steep
hill, at my pony’s best pace, that animal
shied across the road at a wheelbarrow
which some workman had thoughtlessly left
iii the hedge; and before I knew anything
more about it, I was rolling over amongst
the rocks and fir-trees at the side of the
road, while my inverted carriole was lying
in the ditch, with one wheel still spinning
vigorously in the air. I had no skyds-carl
with me (perhaps luckily), but Dr. F., with
whom we were at this time travelling, lent
me his boy; and horse and carriole were soon
on their respective legs and wheels again, and
I—plus bruises—off again after the others.

The river, now on our left, ran furiously
at times between steep banks, often clothed
in a dense growth of dwarf fir-trees; the
road, meanwhile, still descending rapidly,
meandering through woods; but always
keeping near to the river, and now and
then coming to the edge of a precipice,
where the only protection for the traveller
against being precipitated a hundred feet
into a foaming torrent, was a scanty row of
stone pillars, each about three feet high and
from six to ten feet apart.

En ny skyss-stasjon
A brief halt was called by our skyds-carl
opposite the framework of a new station,
and one which, I believe, is not yet chris
tened. The station-house was half built,
and the moss for filling the spaces between
the fir logs was lying about in heaps; while
the whole place was in a litter with chips
of wood and odds and ends left by the car
penters, who generally do their work very
untidily here.

Madam Brun
After a long drive, J., in the leading car
riole, came to a standstill at a place where
our road was crossed by another; and, after
a consultation with the skyds-carl, it was
determined to proceed to Madam Brun’s, in
preference to the orthodox posting-stationing
at Hoftun. Thus we went straight ahead;
some care being necessary in driving down
a fearfully steep and sudden dip which
occurs shortly after passing the cross road.
Then we turned to the left, across a sub
stantiaily built wooden bridge; and after a
short rattle over some fresh-laid gravel on a
new line, we came in sight of a pretty, neat,
white, French-looking villa—with a large
flower-garden, balconies, and a flag-staff on
the front lawn—altogether as unlike the
common Norwegian station-houses as pos
sible. This was “Madam Brun’s,” and sub
sequently turned out to be an excellently
managed and beautifully situated house; in
our opinion only second, indeed, to Fagemoes
on Lake Lillie-Strand, and far superior to all
the intermediate hostelries we had visited.

CHAPTER VIII.
25th August.—The level and carefully-kept
road whereby we had arrived seems now to
have taken the place entirely of the old
route, which winds, discarded and moss-
grown, through the woods near the river.
Yet this older line is still an excellent place
for a shady walk during the heat of the day,
and we explored it extensively during our
stay. Being so little used, it is carpeted
with a soft felt of moss and weeds: the tail
firs nearly meet overhead; the squirrels play
about amongst them; and now and again
the loiterer catches the noise of the swift
river prattling over its rocky bed, or sees it
flashing through long vistas of the copper
coloured pine-tree trunks.

On the roadside, about mid-day, flitting
from tree to tree, I noticed some dozen or
so of that most lovely and rare British
butterfly, the Camberwell Beauty. The
comma butterfly was also well represented;
and altogether the place appeared to be the
most abundantly endowed with insect life
of any of those which we had 8een. Birds,
too, were numerous, and of very varied
kinds. I shot two species of woodpeckers
near the house—the common green wood
pecker, and a pretty little black and white
spotted variety. Besides these, J. thought
he noticed a specimen of the rare red
headed, black-bodied woodpecker. There is
a strange story told here about this bird.
Once, it is said, there was a certain peasant
woman baking bread, when our Lord and
some of His disciples came near. Being
hungry, He asked her for some food; and
she, not knowing who He was, broke off a
small piece of dough and began to roll it
out before putting it in the oven. But, by a
miracle, it grew and – grew under her hands
Not liking to give so much away, she again
broke off a small bit and rolled it out, only
to find it increase like th first. She did
this several times with a similar result,
until Jesus saw her avarice was insatiable;
whereupon He changed her into a bird,
and said she should hunt for her food under
the dry bark of trees, and be thirsty for
ever, and hail with eagerness the advent of
the rain, but should never drink or be
satisfied. Immediately after this was said,
the unfortunate woman took the shape of a
bird and flew up the chimney of the oven,
making herself black as midnight with soot;
and also burnt the top of her head, thereby
leaving a crimson scar which is plain there
till this day. So now she is a black wood
pecker, and gets her living by looking for
food in dead wood (a very slow occupation, I
suppose, the framer of the legend thought),
and is continually chattering at the prospect
of the cool, refreshing rain, when she sees
the sky overcast; but when the
rain comes
she can never drink!
The legend is not strictly logical—legends
seldom are—and it is clear that it must have
been made a great deal farther south than
Norway; however, I heard it as a genuine
Norwegian tale.

We spent an idle day wandering about
the really delightful grounds of the house,
and the pine woods in the neighbourhood.
The great waterfall wider the bridge, which
I have mentioned before, was in itself a
wonderful sight even now, when a dry
summer had done a great deal in wasting
the strength of the river, which there fell
over a broken mass of rocks, and sent up
a cloud of silver spray and mist, so that
all day long the bridge was crowned with
a perfect and lovely little fairy-land rainbow.

ro sagmølle

Wilse: Ro sagmølle 1914

Løstegard

26th August.—Rising early, before break
fast P., 3., and I walked down the wooded
road towards Løstegard, the’ next posting-
station after Madam Brun’s, and ordered
four horses and carrioles for nine o’clock
sharp; but the station-master did not appear
as if he meant to take any particular trouble
for people who had put up at his neighbour’s
in preference to his own house, and subse
quently the misgivings we gathered from
his looks were fulfilled.

Turning back from the station we struck
upwards into the dense pine forest that
sloped from the highest hill-tops down to
the very margin of the river; and we had
a pleasant ramble in this woodland—such
glimpses of beautiful scenery, and such
peeps down quiet valleys !—enough to have
kept an artist at work for half a year.
Then, too, such a store of small insect life
for the contemplation of the naturalist; and
for the botanist, curious mosses and plants
without number. It was really a most lovely
hill-side which we explored, and doubly
pleasant in the fresh morning air; gladdened
by which we watched the sunlight creep
slowly and softly up the neighbouring hill
sides, and then on to higher ranges, gliding
across the valleys one after the other into
the distance. While we rested on a vast
fragment of rock that many years before
had rolled down from the hills above, and
was now crowned with a thicket of young
fir-trees, a splendid eagle sailed up to within
a few hundred yards of us; and after exe
cuting a few grand movements, without a
motion of his ample pinions left us and
swam out of sight down a ravine as noise
lessly and calmly as he came. It was the
first and last eagle I saw in Norway. The
rewards offered by Government for the
slaughter of these and other birds of prey,
have been only too successful in their object
to please the “lovers of Nature.” Though
the raptorials, however, axe so vigorously
suppressed, game, as far as our experiences
went, was not very numerous. The Norwe
gian Government, if it wishes to increase
the number of game birds in the land,
should offer a reward for the destruction of
the magpies, which, on account of their vast
numbers, probably do far more damage by
stealing and eating eggs than ever kestrel
or sparrow-hawk commit in occasionally
striking down those grouse and oth which are already feeble with age and in
firmities.

We had to ford several mountain-streams,
which were always very rapid and very cold
but beautifully bright as they danced down
through the dark-green shadow of the woods
to a music of their own making. They all
came from last winter’s snow, and flowed
into the river at right-angles to its course.
The road passed over them on small, wooden
bridges But up in the woods above, of
course, there were no such conveniences;
and, as I have said before, we had to ford
them as best we could—often a very un
pleasant undertaking—for the bed of these
streams affords the most uneven and broken
floor of rocks and stones, amidst which we
slipped and floundered with bare feet.
At last, however, we found ourselves on
the brow of a steep, but short descent, at
the base of which lay our quarters. We
descended, and were very shortly afterwards
engaged upon an excellent breakfast, at
which ryper, or grouse, figured largely.
.
There were also large dishes on the table
of currants and raspberries from the garden.
The coffee was, perhaps, better made than
we had ever tasted since leaving Christiania,
and the rest of the cooking was excellent;
but therein, I dare say, it was possible to
notice the effects of Madame Bran’s nation
ality.

After breakfast (at which our appetites
astonished but gratified the worthy hostess),
an emissary came from Löstegard to promise
our horses “strax,” which is Norwegian
for “immediately.” The word, nevertheless,
marks a very uncertain period in this land,
and is quite as likely to stretch over an hour
or two as not; so as neither J. nor I were
tired with wandering about, we went down to
the river and fished, but with little success.
It was a very hot day—much too warm for
the exertion of casting thee to trout who
were clearly not on the feed; so we selected
a shady and retired spot, and gave ourselves
up to contemplating the river and the
boundless ranges of hills in the distance,
for the best part of the morning. It was
lunch time before our horses came, and
when that long-expected crisis arrived there
were only three of them, instead of four;
but J. was appointed M.’s skyds-carl, and
we started as soon as possible, in the hopes
of reaching Gulsvig that night.

This would have been a long day’s work,
and so P., in the hopes of finding horses
ready along the road for us, had sent on a
“forbud,” but it was a distinct failure, and
our first and last attempt in that line. In
deed, it was only with the greatest difficulty
that we could make the station-masters at
the succeeding posts believe that, though
we had kept our “ forbud” horses waiting, it
was not our fault, as the station-master at
Løstegard had kept us waiting, and the
blame ought rightly to fall upon his
shoulders.

We were in “hot water” all day, and I
certainly do not advise tourists—during the
summer months, at all events—to send
“forbud papers” along this road; for they
generally entail a great amount of confusion,
and subject the sender to heavy
charges wherever he has kept horses wait
ing—even though, as in our case, it be not
actually his fault.

The principle is that of a “vaunt-courier.”
When in a hurryto get on, you write a note
to each station-master along your proposed
route, bidding him have so many horses
ready for you at such and such a time—the
time when you count, or when you think you
may calculate, upon reaching the station.
The notes are sent on by anyone who starts
some hours before you, or by a special
envoy. This is all very well; but if you get
to any station before the specified moment
your horses are not ready for you any more
than if you had not sent “forbud;” while,
if you should be luckless enough to be late,
you are subject to a fine; and, if very
late, the ordered horses are sent away, and
you must take your chance—as usual.

Hoftun
At Hoftun we had found the accommoda
tion and food of the best; and I may safely
recommend it as a very enjoyable place for
a stay of a few day8. When we started,
the weather was still lovely; and, conse
quently, the drive through the woods by the
river was highly delightful, more especially
as the road was new and well engineered
for the most part, which enabled us to make
up somewhat for lost time in setting forth.
Two or three miles more along the left of
the river brought us to a stone bridge. This
we crossed, and then we followed the right
bank through uninteresting and tame
scenery, consisting for the most part of flat
meadows of coarse herbage, dotted over
with a few undergrown willows in the fore
ground; pine-clad hills, as usual, extending
away into the distance; or if the banks
of the river were too steep for meadow-land,
the pine and fir trees grew right down
to the water’s edge.

Næs
Næs came next, and
is not much of a place, though there was
a pretty neat little farmhouse near, which
lent some life to what would otherwise have
been a very dull station. Here, of course,
the station-master wanted to make us pay
“forbud” fines; but we left him talking, and
went on again, our only skyds-carl placing
himself with the first carriole, that he
might better regulate the pace—a project
in which he was very successful, keeping us
at a slow jog-trot all the way to the next
post. At this spot P. giving a very ancient
and thinly-clothed beggar some skillings, he
went into a very demonstrative joy, and
wished to shake hands all round, but finally
contented himself with doing so with P.
This habit, which all Norwegian beggars
have, is not always a pleasant one. At Lær
dalsøroen two ruffianly and fearfully-dirty
Swedish jugglers, who had been “astonish
ing the natives” of that town, and whom we
met on the highroad some little distance up
the river, insisted on a most elaborate, pro
longed, and affectionate hand-shaking with
some of us; just because we had given them
a few halfpence! The “horny hand of
toil” is ever justly dear to an Englishman;
but even the most enthusiastic Liberal
prefers it clean, which was not the case
here. However, when we gave anything
away, we always had to grasp the recipient’s
hand, clean or unclean, and the experience
rather discouraged charity.

Fugleliv og jakt
Escaping at last from the poor old mendicant, we passed a
wayside cottage, where I noticed a bird, of
a jay-like form, and in plumage grey, with
the primaries of the wing and the outside
feathers of the tail a dull chestnut-red (as
we found afterwards, when I shot another
specimen). It was quite an incident, for new
and non-English birds are rare in Norway.
Of all the bird species we had seen, the
magpie was the commonest. Its jerky flight,
and striking dappled plumage, was rarely
long absent from our eyes; and round
villages and many station-houses it was too
abundant, for the noise which even two or
three individuals will make when excited is
tremendous, and if a whole flock of them
join the concert it is unpleasant. The
peasants have a superstition about the bird,
and never destroy it. The commoner birds
and beasts in all countries have usually
some legend or legends attached to them,
and in many cases these are far more than
mere idle stories. A really well-executed
work on such fables—tracing each back to
its remote origin—would be one of great
interest to many classes of readers. After
the magpie comes the hooded or grey crow,
in point of numbers. This bird does not
venture so near stations and houses as the
former, preferring lonely hill sides and fir
forests. It is consequently generally seen en
rouge, and often follows the traveller in his
carriole to come within a few yards as it
sits in solitary state on the top of some rail
or post. As in England, it is a great lover
of water, fresh or salt, and may always be
seen whore there are exposed sand-banks
near a river or the sea. It carries this par
tiality into all lands; indeed, it is a happily-
constituted bird—all foods, climates, and
conditions coming equally well to it.
Swallows, too, were abundant in all the
sheltered valleys; and we noticed a few at
considerable elevations, but never above the
line of continual snow. Swift and martins,
of course, being birds of more tender consti
tutions and wintering further south than
the swallow proper, were rarely seen by us.
The summer snipes were wonderfully
numerous on the shores of all the lakes and
fjords. We never went so far as to have
any of them cooked, but they would pro
bably be very eatable; and if they proved so,
the tourist, unable to find any better game,
might get excellent practice upon them, for
being absolutely invisible amongst the grey
stones on the margin of the water until
they rise, and then going away down wind
—if they possibly can—with a wonderfully
rapid and snipe-like flight, they would
require a quick and ready shot to bring
them to bag. We ourselves, not knowing
whether we should be able to put them to
any use, never shot many of them.

Of ducks, on which the tourist who does
not devote himself entirely to sport, will
have to depend for most of his shooting, five
kinds came under our notice. Of teal we
fancied we saw a few dozen on Lake
Miosen, and might have shot some had we
been in our own boat. At Lærdalsøroen we
approached within shot of four splendid
canvas-back ducks; but owing to a mis
understanding between P. and myself,
neither fired, and we thus lost the only
chance we got at these fine birds.
Merganser ducks, as we called them, were
to be seen on most lakes and fjords; but
they were bad flyers, and dived most pro
vokingly—being, moreover, when cooked
scarcely worth the trouble of their capture.
They were very numerous; more so, perhaps,
than the common wild duck. A gentleman
with whom we crossed over from England
in the Hero—and whom we met several
times afterwards in the country, since he
was pursuing the same route as we were—
shot at Stee, a small station on Lake Lillie
Strand, a duck of deep black colour, with
one single patch of white on it. It was the
only bird we saw of its kind.

The wild duck is certainly the commonest
of all the indigenous game birds, not except
ing mergausers, which, from their habits,
can scarcely rank as such.

These birds are very fairly distributed all
over the part of the country through which
we passed, and they would probably be
found breeding much further north in the
height of the summer. In August we saw
nothing that could well be called a young
bird—a bird of that year’s hatching—
and this we thought at the time rather
curious. We made most diligent quest for
flappers, and questioned many natives about
the breeding places of the “vild ander.”
In our searches we were always unsuc
cessful; all the ducks we saw being par
ticularly wild, and showing such an amount
of caution as could only have been the
result of a ripe age, while to our inquiries
the country people could never give us
any decisive answers.

We found it very hard, in shooting ducks
from the lake, to secure those we brought
down; they were such persistent divers.
Those that fell wounded on the water sank
immediately, like so much iron. This was
probablÿ by diving; but it was so bewilder
ing that we could have fancied once or twice
that some monster of the deep—some fresh
water shark—had seized upon them and
drawn them underneath. Some, shot in the
open lake, dived—and never came up again
—as far as we saw. In such cases we rowed
over the spot and gazed down into the
depth, expecting to see the duck holding on
to the weeds or stones at the bottom, as it
Probably
on a lake is said they will; but in vain.
the best way to shoot these birds
would be for one gun to walk along the
land and keep abreast of another in a boat
a short distance out in the lake, while a
couple of dogs hunted the long grass and
sedges which generally grow along the mar
gins of all those fjords and rivers that have
low meadows or marsh land round them.
[….]

sevre26

Wilse: Sevre 1926

Sevre
CHAPTER IX.
BUT to return to our journey. At Sevre
we found a horrible little station, with no
accommodation at all for travellers, and
rather stupid, unobliging people, who wel
comed us with the only too common news
that they had no horses, and did not think
they could get any. But of course P. per
suaded them to think of it again; and by
persuasion and a little compulsion got them
to acknowledge that there were two horses
in the stables, and we might have them.
Two horses were better than none; but we
wanted three. The people were obdurate,
and declined to cede another animaI; so at
last P. was forced to offer the owner of
a tired steed one specie dollar (much more
than the proper price) for the use of his
horse to the next station. This horse, when
we subsequently started, led the way, and
kept up such an excellent pace that we had
no reason whatever to regret the bargain.
It must be an extremely unpleasant and
even distressing position, that of a station-
master on one of the most frequented high
roads during the summer season. To re
ceive all day long an insatiable, hurrying,
struggling line of tourists of all nations,
each of whom wants a horse, and immedi
ately, or dinner and tea equally at once,
must indeed be distraction. Those who
have read Mr. Wilkie Collins’s “No Name,”
will remember how the unfortunate Mrs.
Wragge is driven mad, or nearly so, from
the awful strain which her position as
waiteress in a London tavern puts upon her
mind; how at last she succumbs under the
vain efforts she makes to keep in mind the
multitudinous orders of hungry City gentle
men aU coming in at once, and demanding
anything and everything impatiently. If the
unfortunate Mrs. Wragge was to be pitied, a
Norsk station-master in July and August is
also deserving of compassion. Horses are
angrily called for by tourists, who tramp up
and down his court-yard and threaten hini
with the law, and write severe sentences in
his “dag-book;” while in the background
his neighbours, the farmers, probably are en-
treating him not to call out their cattle for
public servicé. Surely he must wish the
attractions of his country, which bring such
exigent tourists, at the bottom of the sea.
In considering his troubles, we certainly
thought that when persons arrive late at
a station through which travellers have
poured all day long, and find the smooth,
morning-temper of the landlord worn rather
thin and threadbare, he deserves a little
iiidtilgence; and, in fact, P. always leaned
as lightly as possible upon such a bruised
reed.

Fra Sevre til Gulsvig
Quitting Sevre about six o’clock, or even
later, we had very little daylight left for
the two remaining stages which we needed
to pass before making Gulsvig, which place
we hoped, if possible, to reach that night.
We enjoyed the sunset extremely as we
drove along by the quiet river, now ex
panded into a broad shallow lake whose
waters came often up to the very brink of
the road. Three of us, at lea8t, had seen
the sun rise that day; but now we watched,
if possible, with greater admiration, his set
ting, and to me it seemed that
“Nothing in his life became him like the leaving of it.”
We noted the hills around as they
changed from red to purple and grey; and
followed the river, a short time before
brightly gilded in the light, now softly banded
with purple shadows where the reflections
of the hills stretched across its darkening
surface. The effect of the change from the
brilliant daylight to the darkness of a
quick-falling evening was very curious and
striking, reminding me—to use a common
place comparison — of that instant in a
theatre when the curtain rolls down for the
last time, and, after a momentary scuffle of
departing feet, the gas is turned low, and
the boxes and stalls, lately resplendent in
crimson and gold, are covered over and.
shrouded with dull hangings.

Even in the short period since we left
Fagernoes there had been already a decided
change in the length of the evenings. We
were no longer able to sit out in the open
air, or fish until nine o’clock; and it had
become extremely cold and “raw” after
dusk. On this night, in particular, when we
travelled from Sevre to Avestrud, the cold
was keener than anything we had experi
enced in Norway—excepting the journey to
Bjoberg (of miserable memory) — and one
day, or perhaps two, in which we felt the
fury of the north wind at Lærdalsøroen.
Our road lay, as far as we could see—for
the darkness grew thicker and thicker as.
the night wore on—through a dense forest
of firs and beech trees, with occasional open
spaces which, however, we could only dis
tinguish by their being a shade or two
lighter than the depth of the wood. Now
and again we passed under what seemed to
be towering cliffs and precipices, and then
anon we saw, from the dim grey reflection
of the water, that we were near the river.
Happily our horses knew the way perfectly,
and the unvarying trot which they main
tained never came to an abrupt end in a
ditch, as I confidently expected it would.
We went on and on and on, the road not
failing us; but when at last even our horses
were beginning to get tired, and we ourselves
were all quite weary, we came to a rise that
loomed in the distance like a perpendicular
wall; but at its summit, apparently in mid
air, we caught sight of the dim outlines of
a house, and saw the red glimmer of a fire
through one of the windows.

Avestrud
“Avestrud!”murmured our skyds-caris, and their horses
pricked up their ears. Every one got down,
for the ascent was more than our jaded
steeds could have managed otherwise; and
then, keeping close to our respective car
rioles, we felt our way slowly up.
Avestrud seemed to be right on the top
of the hill, and the moment we reached
level ground we turned to the left and found
ourselves in its court-yard. As we arrived,
the dogs—of which there seemed to be an
unusual number here—set up a loud baying,
which had the desirable effect of calling the
attention of the good people of the house to
us; so that in a moment or two the landlord’s
sons appeared with lanterns and helped us
to unstrap some of the lighter packages; for,
on account of the absolute darkness and
lateness of the hour, all hopes of reaching
Gulsvig that night had been abandoned.
The skyds-caris had theirhorses unharnessed,
and led them away over the rough stones of
the court-yard to the 8tables in half a minute;
and ere long were all sound asleep them
8elves in the hayloft, for ten p.m. is a dis
tressingly late hour for these early birds;
while we followed the lanterns of our two
hosts through a maze of carrioles and scat
tered lumber to the house. The front door
opened into the sleeping apartment of the
whole family. The station-master and mis
tress were reposing on a broad shelf high
above the ground, at one end of the room,
near the lighted stove—an arrangement very
much like that seen in Russian cottages in
the winter months; while some of the land
lord’s friends and the rest of his family
seemed to have leased six feet, more or
less, according to their stature, of floor
or bench, just wherever they chose. We
passed lightly through this room, and
entered another—rather dark and cold just
then, but soon illuminated and warmed by a
big fire which the landlord’s Sons made,
‘setting themselves hospitably on each side
of the hearth, to blow it up, in which they
succeeded excellently. They then fetched
cooking utensils and a mass of bacon, where
from the elder proceeded to chop us some
slices of monstrous thickness, which the
younger then fried with considerable skill,
smoking them, however, very much; but this
he seemed to consider an embellishment,
and we were much too hungry to care for it.
Our very modest supper over, one of the
young men conducted J. and myself to our
room—not very large or pretentious, cer
tainly, but fairly clean; and the other,
making up the fire with a couple of pine
logs, left the supper room in possession of
P. and M.

27th August.—We were in no hurry to
get up in the morning, as Gulsvig, the last
station to which we intended to carriole it,
was only seven miles, or one stage, away. We
should have indeed reached it on the last
evening, but for the delay that the Lostegard
station-master made in sending our horses
to Madame Brun’s. Avestrud by daylight
was not half so nice a place as Avestrud by
night. In the evening we had simply
looked upon it as a harbour of refuge, a
place where it was possible to get food and
shelter from the cold. All its characteris
tics—its yards and sheds, and indeed the
whole place—were then wrapped in the pro
found darkness, which was the veil under
which it showed to greatest advantage; for
when we came to look at it in the broad
daylight it was a very dirty, “tumble-down,”
badly kept farmatead, the station-house
itself being a most miserable one-storied
affair. Originally it had been whitewashed
by the hand of man; but since then time
had given it a complete coat of dingy
yellow and brown; and Nature, who hates
ugliness, had added some mural decorations
in the form of green and grey lichens and
mosses, which, however, did not succeed in
making it look anything but ill-favoured
and damp.

Starting at ten a.m., we passed in the fresh
morning air through some lovely scenery.
Isolated patches of woolly white mist hung
over everything—in strata along the hill
sides; in banks and clouds over the river—
in gauze veils across the road and amongst
the stems of the pine trees that lined it.
One moment we were in the clear, brilliant
morning air, and the next we had driven
into a dense fleecy fog. The river, when
for an instant we saw it clear of mist,
exactly doubled every rock and tree upon
its bank and its smooth mirror, unruffled
by even the very faintest breath of air; for
in the perfect quiet of the morning there
was not the smallest breath of a breeze even
amongst the tops of the pine trees, whose
branches, wet with dew, hung down in
sleepy, unmoving silence. The only sound
we heard, before the sun had reached any
height in the sky, was that of our horses’
hoofs on the hard ground, and their occa
sional snorting and blowing as they gained
the top of some steep rise. But when
the sun’s rising orb had grown red and
strong, the woods that lined our road on
either side, and through which the greater
part of our way lay, became alive with birds
of all sorts and songs. Woodpeckers also
were heard laughing in the depth of the
forests; crows and magpies fluttered to and
fro, or sate cawing and chattering on the
pine trees around us. The drive through
these vast green solitudes was truly very
pleasant. Occasionally we crossed a tinkling
miniature torrent by a big and very strongly-
built wooden bridge, which, being made with
regard to the flood-time, seemed quite out of
proportion to the slender summer stream—a
tiny thread of water. At last we emerged
into more open country, where there were
often low meadows and cultivated lands on
both sides; while at other times the river
shone on the left, and high cliffs of grey rose
on the right-hand of the road. As the sun
fell on these rocks the effect was curious.
They were fall of large patches and flakes
of bright mica, and the light flashed and
glinted from them in a way that was like
El-Dorado.

Gulsvig og Krøderen
Thus we did the seven or
eight miles from Avestrud delightfully,
bowling through varied and sometimes
lovely scenery; and before the day was half
a dozen hours old, came in sight of the head
of the beautiful lake of Kröderen, and the
white posting-house of Gulsvig.
We drove up, and passing between the
usual white gates, entered a large common-
like expanse of close velvety grass. There
on our left stood the clean airy two-storied
station-house, with its windows and doors all
open, but not a sign of any living being in
it. A few yards from the front door our
four carrioles were brought up in a line, and
beyond them the smooth turf sloped gently
away down the bill until it came to the
borders of a belt of pine trees which
occupied the intermediate space—a few
hundred yards—up to the very brink of the
lake. And then the lake itself was a marvel
of loveliness, stretching far away into the
distance in a belt of turquoise, and hemmed
in on either side with undulating hill, the
clear shore being fringed with black-green
forests of pine and fir.

We undid our luggage and carried it into
the house, and afterwards had nearly as
much trouble to find the station-mistress as
at Eidsvold. We tried the dining-room and
the kitchen, and every room in the house;
but there was no one to be seen. The
windows and doors were all wide open, and
the air of heaven blew through the rooms
in all directions. Everything was painted
white, and the whole house looked deli
ciously fresh and cool. The station-mistress
appeared at last, and showed us to our
rooms—large and comfortable—with wash
ing-stands, and actual soap and water in
them, laxuries which were never used, nor
ever known, I fear, at Avestrud.

After breakfast, as M. wished to sketch
the lake, we put up some lunch, quantum
suff., and taking rods, guns, rugs, etc.,
walked down the road, which we found
led us towards the shore close by the
steam-boat wharf, and so out to the end
of a sandy promontory, whence we hailed
some people in a boat, and asked them if
they could lend us a craft of some kind.
This they were very ready to do, and
coming ashore they turned out the hay
that they had been cutting on the neigh
bouring island, with which their boat was
laden down to the gunwale; and, after
receiving twopence-halfpenny in Norwegian
money, which was the hire of their boat for
a day, even in this busy season, they Bald,
we got in and they pushed us off. The
boat was decidedly wet, as is very often
the case with Norwegian craft; and there
were no seats, which is also usual. So we
spread shawls and wrappers, and lay down
on the bottom. P. and J. each took one of
the strangely-shaped native oars, and pro
ceeded to row us. We did not go very fast;
but, then, there was not the least hurry.

J. said that he thought a mile in four
hours an excellent pace, when the plea
santest place was “where you were.” The
lake was as stifi as it well could be—not
a ripple to be seen; but there was an eddy
ing current made by the river on this side
of the shore which, sweeping round the
bay, drifted us out to a couple of little bush-
covered islands containing not more than
a dozen acres of land on both of them;
but with their miniature streams, cascades,
stretches of woodland, and tiny sandy
deserts, these islets were domains for a fairy
king. On one of these we landed, and beat
through the long grass in the bootless hope
of finding some hares with which many of
these spots are stocked; but, excepting a
stray woodpecker and a few summer snipe,
there was nothing living to be seen on it—
a curious fact, considering the favourable
situation.

By the time M., who had stopped in the
boat, had finished her sketch, J. had found
some ducks, as he said, in a bed of reed
a few hundred yards farther down the shore;
but these, after we had performed a very
long and anxious stalk to circumnavigate
them, turned out to be nothing except the
ends, rising above the water, of submerged
logs.

We explored a neighbouring island which
was more thickly wooded, and, if possible,
more beautiful than the first, but equally
destitute of furred or feathered life.

We were proffered some of this particular
cheese for breakfast at Gulsvig. It was on
the table when we came in; but immedi
ately afterwards it was removed to the grass
plot outside, and we made as good a meal
as we could on the fresher kind, the flad
bröd, and some doubtful beefsteaks which
had probably been brought up the lake from
Christiania.

The aspect of the country around the
house was not so wild as that through which
we had lately passed. The hills which shut
in the river whose course we had followed
from Bjoberg, lost now much of their rugged
aspect and angular outline, as they spread
out on either side of Lake Kroderen; and
from this elevated spot, looking due south,
they presented the appearance of a heavy
“ground-swell,” as it were, of the earth
itself, undulating easily one into the other;
many of them well-wooded, but some bare
arid of a brighter green than the others.
Yet we found that the tracts which pre
sented an apparently smooth surface seen
from above were, when once entered, a wild,
entangled labyrinth of growing and decay
ing vegetation — thickets of all ages and
sizes matted together and interlaced over
head; while under them the earth wa lit
tered with dead roots and fallen leaves, the
accumulation of centuries, bound together
into au almost impenetrable mass by strug
gling underwood and coarse, long-stemmed
heather. In such places—the haunt of the
capercailzie and solitary woodpecker—there

We, without canine assistants, did but
little during the day in the shooting line,
although we wandered over a large tract of
country. Had it not been for the lake itself
we might have roamed about all night; but
as it was, we found the beach a safe and
certain path homewards, and after a dozen
useless attempts to recover the route by
which we had gone forth in the morning,
we were forced to abandon the woods and
keep along the margin of Lake Kröderen,
which eventually brought us out into the
high road a few miles from Gulsvig. On our
way back we passed several snow-plougha,
now out of work and turned upon their sides
against the banks of the road. They are
very cumbrous implements, but do their
work well. Two heavy boards on edge are
brought close together at one end, and kept
in their position by cross-pieces and bolts,
the distance between them, however, gradu
ally widening until the other ends are
reached, where the intervening space is
about six feet. Thus a V-shaped frame is
made, about three feet deep. This, ‘when
the snow has accumulated so much as to
stop traffic, is drawn along the road, sharp
end foremost, by horses; it sinks into the
drift by its own weight, and pushes the snow
into the ditches right and left with its outer
sides. These ploughs are very numerous
along all the roads, and at first they at
tracted our attention very much; as it
seemed curious they should ever be needed
in a neighbourhood where the weather and
the whole appearance of the place was so
charming, and so much like one of those
happy regions in France or Italy favoured
with eternal sunshine, that it was hard to
think it could ever be really Arctic weather
hero. We were indeed very lucky in having
so much sunhine as we did, for the time
selected for the journey was somewhat past
the best season. In May the days and
nights are still very cold. June, July, Aug-
ust light lunch which we had taken in the
middle of the day had not destroyed our
power of appreciating dinner; and our
healthy expectations were soaring high
when they were brought down suddenly to
the ground upon our “dinner” making its
appearance in the hands of the station-
mistress. A single small dish obviously
contained all that we were going to get;
and it was with suspended animation that
we gazed as the cover was solemnly lifted.
Lo! nothing but about a pound of the beef
steak which we had seen at breakfast. P.
expostulated with the landlady; but not
only could she not give us anything more.

krøderen1903Wilse: Krøderen 1903

Med dambåten på Krøderen
3rd August.—We were all up and at
breakfast as soon as the sun appeared over
the distant hills. Our baggage had been
packed and put ready overnight, and now
we placed the more cumbrous articles on
the three hired carrioles we had brought
from Lærdalsoroen, and gave some men a
few skillings apiece to wheel them down to
or five hundred yards from the house. We
followed them more leisurely, after P. had
paid the bills and thanked the hostess, with
as much sincerity as was possible, for our
entertainment. The little lake steamer was
very impatient to be off, for when we
reached the wharf there lay the grim little
tug loudly whistling—the passengers already
on board; about a dozen rough agriculturists
with their wives, very noisy and awkward,
tumbling about and playing hide and seek
with their own and other persons’ baggage,
adding to the general good-tempered confu
sion. The lowering of our carrioles down an
incline of boards concentrated their atten
tion for a few minutes. They (the carrioles)
were hoisted over miscellaneous agricultural
implements and domestic property—sjades,
shovels, boxes, vegetables, ropes, harness,
tubs, etc., etc.— and were finally lashed
down on the deck, well “for’ad,” side by
side, whereupon their carrioling, as far as we
were concerned, was at an end, P. having.
instructed the captain to have them for
warded to Christiania when we reached the
far end of the lake.

They had done their duty excellently,
being all of them nice, clean, well-made
conveyances, and much superior to those
we should have received at each station had
we not thus hired them for the whole jour
ney from Lærdaisorœn to Christiania. But,
perhaps, tourists who do not care about
being pitched out, and perhaps over a preci
pice, will be glad to be warned against such
a carriole as the one I used. This, though
strongly built, was constructed with its body
too high above the axles of the wheels to be
perfectly safe. Doubtless the make was an
advantage, as far as speed went; but my
little trap was never very steady on its
wheels, and once, as already mentioned,
it went over bodily with very little pro
vocation; while, when you do tumble
off such a vehicle, it is an episode to be
remembered.

The only place on board the steamer with
any signs of order and cleanliness was well
aft in a little open cabin, much the same as
the one we occupied on the Lake Miosen
steamer; so this, accordingly, P. appropri
ated for us, paying, of course, a few extra
skillings for the privilege. But it was well
worth it. The crew were not numerous:
there was a captain whose staff of officers
was a long iron-shod pole, for guiding float
ing pine logs out of the way of the ship;
the stoker, also an important functionary;
the stewardess—I am happy to say the least
necessary person on board for ladies, thanks
to the smoothness of Lake Kröderen; and
lastly, a boy, whose duty it was to do every
thing the others could not, or did not.

About 9.30, and after we had been de
layed for sundry belated passengers, the
stoker sounded one final whistle and the
screw began to move. We congratulated
ourselves with the idea that we were at
last really going to start; but it was not so,
for now our French friends of yesterday
made their appearance on the wharf, armed
as usual in full costume, re
splendent in pearl-buttoned leather leggings,
and a wealth of steel buckles, bright dagger-
hilts, and all the adornments that back-
woodsmen wear at theatres. They de
scended, and we started. The screw turned
slowly and we prepared to run the gauntlet
of a narrow passage between two high rooks
that formed a gateway to the natural har
bour in which we had been lying. The
captain stood in the bows and gave very
numerous orders, both with hand’ and voice,
to the boy who acted as “middleman,” and
that youth transmitted them to the stoker.
I don’t know if it was customary, but we
certainly ground against the cliff to the left
in a rather alarming manner in our first
attempt to get through this needle’s eye.
The captain, however, ably seconded by the
stoker with the fire-shovel and by several of
the passengers with umbrellas or anything
else they could snatch up, pushed us off
again; so that with a little more help from
the screw and a few slight bumps against
the cliffs on the right, we got through, and,
with a chorus of triumphant screams from
the steam whistle, we fairly started down
the lake.

The hills still maintained their evenly-
undulating and rather monotonous cha
racter, clothed, as they almost always are,
from summit to foot in a dense robe of dark
pine groves, which is only very rarely re
lieved by patches of paler colour, where
some small farmer has cleared off a few
acres of land and sown his crops, or where
from natural causes the firs have died and
left the ground bare and rock-bestrewn.
Here and there the deep green of the hills
was streaked with white where a watercourse
came down from above and cut itself a
channel to the lake. If these torrents were
of any considerable size—and their course
made it possible to float timber down them
—at their confluence with the lake there
was often a group of two or three houses,
with a modest wooden wharf jutting out on
piles into the lake; and at such places we
‘stopped, if there were any passengers to be
taken up or set down.

We greatly amused ourselves by watching
the men and women; not that there was
much to see in the country people, for they
were simplicity itself, both in garb and man
ners; but then, their very simplicity was in
teresting, and it was odd to note the manifest
importance they attached to the rare and
serious voyage of a dozen miles or so to the
nearest market. Such affectionate family
partings! such evident confusion and be
wilderment of the mothers with half a dozen
unruly little ones! such solicitous care of
certain big brown baskets—stuffed appa
rently full of short hay by the dealers in
fresh eggs! and then the orders and counter-
orders for trifles only to be got at “the
town “—forgotten by the women until the
last moment, and suddenly poured into the
ears of their luckless brothers and husbands
with such a torrent of cautions as, I felt sure,
must have inevitably overwhelmed all re
membrance of what the orders actually were.
We could see and hear the greater part of
what took place on the wharves, as we sat
in our cabin alongside; and then, when we
started again, many a parting instruction
was shouted after us and would be answered
by waving of hat or handkerchief from the
special fellow-passenger to whom it was ad
dressed, until a bend in the lake or a rise
in the banks, hid the tiny homestead from
us, and made shouting and waving useless.

Were Kröderen in England it would be
praised to the skies, and thronged with
tourists every summer. It might even be
much praised here, as it is by Norwegian
travellers if they begin their sight-seeing
with it; but to those fresh from the Lærdal
Ely and Lakes Miosen and Lillie-Strand, it
must inevitably appear tame and common
place. Not so much, perhaps, from its actual
scenery; but because in this, as in many
other respects, early impressions are the
strongest.

Spoiled by splendid views, we thought
very little of the lake and its quiet banks,
and were rather glad when the smooth
ness of the water told us the shores were
drawing together, and that we approached
the end of our voyage. When the sur
face of the water had reached a mirror-
like state of calmness, wild fowl of many
different sorts made their appearance, diving
and swimming about on all sides, and’
delighting the hearts of the three French
gentlemen, who got out their guns and kept
up a perfect fusillade. The rifle with which
one of them was armed was especially noisy,.
and the captain promised to stop if any—
thing was killed; but it was never necessary
to do so.

This seemed a great place for water-fowl.
We noticed several kinds of duck, and one
or two divers. When we reached the
southern end of the lake, we saw a long
iron bridge spanning the river, which was
the effluent; and on the bridge one or two
of the inhabitants of the neighbouring town,.
armed with guns keenly promenading up and.
down the structure. Every now and then a
luckless duck came skimming up the liver,
and rose in his flight to clear the bridge.
Immediately he was fired at by the sports
men; but generally he was none the worse
for it, though occasionally an unlucky bird
would fall

krøderbanen

Wilse: Krøderen 1926

Krøderbanen
Disembarking from the boat, we had our
luggage taken up to the railway station,
which we were glad to find was n1y at
a very short distance from the steamboat
pier; and there, we patiently waited some
time for the next train, as our arrival had
been rather earlier than usual.
A curious little station it was; but it
seemed, after the beautiful wilderness, a
wonderful evidence of civilization to us.

The platform was quite open to the sky,
and the ticket office was a very strange
little place, with a tiny pigeon-hole for
communications between the station-master
and travellers. The time bills and adver-.
tisements (of which latter there were not
many) were printed in small blue type.
At last our train came snorting and
puffing into the station. We mounted into
a fairly comfortable carriage, and then gave
ourselves to the new luxury of caprioling by
steam. The journey was not eventful, and
the scenery quiet. At one spot we saw a
river with its surface covered for more than
a mile with a compact mass of fir logs. So
close together were they, that although the
stream was very broad it was quite possible
to walk from one bank to the other over the
floating timber; indeed, we noticed several
men half-way across, walking about the
mass and driving off “flocks” of trunks
from the lower parts with the long iron
shod poles they carried in their hands.

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