Published: July 15th 2007July 15th 2007
It's been about 4 days since I last had the pleasure of having internet (It's amazing how dependent we are on internet now!!!) and there is a certain gladness you have when the internet place is open when you venture back into the city. I spent my last 4 days in the area of Norway in which my family lived and immigrated to North America from. The farm in which they lived and worked is near a hamlet called Åraksbø by the town of Bygland...which is beside the Byglandsfjord (complicated isn't it!!) I rented a vehicle from a company called, "Rent-a-wreck" and believe me, they don't disappoint. My Toyota Corolla, which I gladly named 'Hildy' for reasons I will keep to myself unless you ask, took me from Kristiansand, north to Bygland. The city of Kristiansand completely SCREWS you at every avenue if you are a driver...so since the rental place was literally FEET away from the outskirts of the city..i had to pay a 10NOK toll just to drive INTO the city and then quickly drive OUT of the city. UGH. Not only that, but as I passed the town of Evje I had to pay ANOTHER toll, this
one was 30 NOK. When you get that deep into southern Norway, there really is not much to do...however, given the proper day the landscape is enough to keep you quite occupied. I stopped at a hotel called the Satesdahl Hotel, owned by a man who has been helping me research my family history, and quickly dropped my bags off in a room that was unreal. It had 4 beds in all, 2 beds on the main floor with a loft high above the main floor with two more beds. The view to the south was directly on the Byglandsfjord lake and the accompanying mountain that stretched along the whole Fjord. With this, I drove to the town of Ose for some authentic Satesdahl Komper!
Some of you may think me nuts, however Komper is a norwegian dish that we typically have RARELY simple because its sooo hard to make and that once digested it lays in your stomach like a lead pellet! The town of Ose had about 30 inhabitants, so a new visitor is something completely different, especially one who has a VERY limited knowledge of Norsk. The gentleman gave me my Komper and Cranberries and I
enjoyed every last bite of it. I made my way back to the hotel for the night and basically sat near the edge of the Fjord and just listened to my iPod and chilled till night. By the way, ONE television station! In the morning I was met by a older gentleman who was having coffee and in broken English he said 'I Take you to Segberg, Ya'. How was I to complain. The older gentleman led me up to Åraksbø and up to a farm where an older gentleman was outside with his work gloves on. I got out of my vehicle, introduced myself and as quickly as I got there, we were both in 'hildy' and driving further up the mountain. We stopped at a farm yard which looked oddly familiar and there on a sign was the name, "SEGBERG". The gentleman who I had met at his farm was Torkjell Segberg (Not a relative by no means) and he started to show me around the farm. The farm overlooked the entire valley below and the view was breathtaking. The farm has been there since the 1600's and all the buildings are still the originals, though they have
been fixed up quite a bit. What set this day apart more than the others was that ever since I arrived in Norway, the weather has been disgusting. Its rained constantly and been overcast when it Isn't raining...however, for some reason...the sky was blue and sun was shining on this day. At the edge of the hill that plunged into the valley below was the Storehouse, which has been marked (supersticiously I might add) by all the inhabitants of the farm. There on the top of the doorway, on a seperate piece of wood was the name 'Jakob Segberg', which would have been a relative of mine and he would have left it right before they moved away from the farm. I spent roughly about 3 hours on the farm, just taking pictures and staring down at the valley below.
The names always stay with the farms in this part of Norway. Segberg literally means 'Seat of the mountain' since the farm rests at the plateau of a high rocky cliff...and then dips into the valley below. From the side you can understand why 'SEG' (Seat) and 'BERG' mountain became the name. My family adopted the last name when
they moved onto the farm, before that they would have had names corresponding to the hamlets or areas in which they lived. Using this difficult concept, I understood who my Great, great, great grandfather was. Since my ancestors name was Lars Tomasson Segberg, he was the 'son of tom' and his dad came from Skreland, which was just behind the mountain where the farm was. Family history going further back, the next member of my family was named Tom Skreland. UGH, how complicated that I put you all through that! HOwever, for those members of my family that are getting this, it will interest them to no end. ANYWAY, that aspect of the trip aside...I cannot say enough at just how unreal the landscape was! Maybe there is a complete reason why I feel some comfortable in the mountains, specifically the BC interior. I spent the day with the Segbergs, even invited down for a norwegian late afternoon lunch, which was Cauliflower soup and pancakes!!! THey laughed at me when I said we only eat pancakes for breakfast! They would NEVER eat pancakes for breakfast...rather more for lunch. I know a tonne of kids who would LOVE that little custom.
I then wished them a 'Ha Det' and made my way down to Evje for my next two nights. It was tranquil as hell...the hostel was an activitie centre and at the time was hosting an english school who were doing a tonne of different activites. I, however, being in the mood to planning the rest of my trip, used the time to call hostels, figure routes and come to grips with how I would spend my next 2 12 weeks.
On day two in Evje, I ventured into town for the strawberrie festival, only to be greeted by NO STRAWBERRIES. The locals had eaten everything right up and as the torrential rain poured down on us, I walked around and awaited some damn strawberries! During my stay at the hostel, the local guidesworkers were sooo sick of the english kids that when they would walk in the kitchen and see me cooking, they'd start talking Norwegian to me with complete conviction. I had to stop them, sadly, and say...Nie. Jeg er fra Canada. They would notice what I was making (Komper and lefse) and just assumed I was Norwegian. I enjoyed the relaxation of my last place and
basically read the entire book, "The Count of Monte Cristo" and was enthralled with it the entire time.
Anyway, LONG, LONG, LONG story to sum up my past 4 days, I now have a plan for the rest of the trip. I will be travelling to Oslo on Tuesday then make my way for two days up to Lillehammer (site of 94 olympics) and then take the Bergen Railway across the country to, obviously, Bergen. From there I will do my best to do a tour of the massive Fjords there on the west coast....then down through Stavanger and then sadly end my little journy. Anyway, there sould be TONNES of stories that happen along the way. I will stop the madness that has been READING this particular blog...if you've made it this far...good for you. Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I like BEING there. hahaha
Ha Det Fra Norge,
There are more photos below