Norge 2006

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Tying up some last minute loose ends at the office, I finally jump in the Volvo to drive home to get my father (who's waiting at our house) to start the long trip back home to Norway. Becky and Sonja drop us off at Seatac. Time to start my 10-day holiday. As usual, the SAS Airbus A340 is a pleasant flight. It really makes for an easier 9 1/2 hour flight when you watch a multiple of movies at your choice, and play video games or just play with the outside cameras (Which allow you to look straight down or forward). Speaking of movies, I watched The New World with Colin Farrell. I would rather eat worms than see this movie again. The best Hoover money can buy sucks less. More interesting on the flight back, I saw Syriana and V for Vendetta. Both were excellent except for Natalie Portman's British accent. Wasn't Kate Winslett or Kate Beckinsale available? Hell, Judi Dench!

The weather was for the most part very warm. I thought once we got north of the Arctic Circle it would be cool with temps in the lower 60's (about 10-15 celsius). I was wrong, as it was brilliantly sunny with temps around 20-25. I was struggling with my clothing choices.

We stayed at Liv and Olaf's house the first couple of days. Actually, the house belongs to Liv and Olaf's son, Klaus. I slept in his fully furnished basement. I was glad to be down there since it was refreshingly cool. Klaus was actually up fishing in the Bodo area. Liv is my father's 88 year old sister (she now lives nearby at an Assisted Living Facility). We stayed there for two nights while visiting various relatives in the Oslo area. On Monday we drove north to Trondheim - Norway's third largest city (after Oslo and Bergen). We drove through Lillehammer, which should be a familiar name to most.

After Lillehammer we pointed the diesel Opel further north, eventually passing the Arctic Circle. We passed into the Polar Region going over a mountain pass, hence the need for some extra clothing as you can see in the picture.This would be the one and only time it was cold.

Off to the Saltstraumen which is the most powerful maelstrom in the world. This narrow pass - known for great fishing - reaches speeds of 20 knots when the tide is at its max. 400 million cubic meters of water funnels through as the Skjerstad Fjord goes up and down 4 times a day. Pretty amazing to see the whirlpools or cauldrons form. You would not want to go for a swim, unless forced to watch The New World.

Bodo is just a few clicks away, and that means visiting the flight museum and also Eilert Kjelstrup's house. I'm not a 100% sure how he's related to me, but it goes back several generations. We also met Eilert's family including his daugther and his grandchildren. Fun!! And special thanks to Eilert for giving us his copy of the Kjelstrup family tree. This thing is huge and dates back to the early 1700's. We'll make copies for us living in the US.

The real goal was to head even further north to get Steigen, which is near the Lofoten area of Norway. This is an area know for fishing and lots of rain. Of course it was sunny and hot, so not unlike Seattle in the summer. My father last visited Georg Kjelstrup in 1956, so it was definitely time for a reunion. Georg lives on a nice farm with a view to kill for. Nearby is Steigen Church (Steigen includes Engeloya - Angel Island) where suddenly the name Kjelstrup is like Smith in any US phonebook. It was interesting to see graves of relatives dating back to the early 1800's. I now know where the Kjelstrup's comes from. While Steigen and Engeloya is a very pretty area,it can be tough. You are far north, in fact you are north of Iceland and Fairbanks, Alaska. However, Norway is warmed by the Gulf Stream which pumps warm water from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to the Norwegian coast. So if the choice is to spend a winter in Fairbanks or in Steigen, Steigen will win since the winters are not as cold (but probably a lot rainer).

We went even further north to Narvik. This would be the furthest north we'd get. Once again the weather was warm and sunny. Time to start back south to Bodo where I did some shopping before starting the journey to Seattle. Three flights and about 13 hours in the air I was in Seattle. And back to work the very next morning

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