May 31st, Dave and his family and Bev and I left Atlanta for Newark and Norway. At the same time, Amy and her family left Denver for Newark and Norway. The whole family flew on that leg from Newark to Norway and arrived on June 1.
I've put photos into a set of slideshows by days, and each link opens JUST the link to the thumbnails. There are way too many to look through, but for our kids, there are some they might want to copy so all are there. If you see one thumbnail you want to view full size, just click on it. The views of Norway are breathtaking! Click on any date for the link to the slides which will open in a new window.
Photos in the airport in Atlanta and Newark are followed by our first outing in Norway which was a relaxing walk through Oslo's Vigeland Sculpture Park which is famous for incredible works in stone and bronze of nude Norwegians - look closely at the image of the man juggling children and you will notice that due to the placement of the light pole behind and UNDER him! We then went to the old town fort, Kings Palace, and then took an incredible ride on a boat all around the fjord! The subway and trolley system of the town of Oslo is incredible. Kristine Winsnes Hyldmo was our guide for all our days in Oslo and was absolutely wonderful - words can not express our appreciation enough! We were also so lucky to be joined by Tone Winsnes, and her parents Hans and Elin. Tone had been in email contact with Paige for years and finally, they met!
I began the day with a face to face meeting with Torill Johnsen, leader of the dis-Norge genealogy organization for Norway. Torill has been incredibly supportive of my project to document the ancestry of the settlers of Hendricks MN and I presented her a gift of the 2 books just printed that documented that research.
We then met Kristine and went to the historic Viking ship museum after which most of the girls went shopping and Amy and the guys went to an outdoor historic museum near the Viking ship museum. The group came together and then traveled to Petra (Winsnes) and Rune Kvalg where a birthday party was held for Paige who became 15 that day! What an experience!
We left Oslo early in the morning and drove to the school where Arne Wiken is headmaster. Arne is married to Inger Bjugstad, daughter of Hans and Ingeborg Bjugstad. Arne led us to the old Bjugstad farm where Kristen Bjugstad was raised until he left in 1880 and Hans and Ingeborg came with Inger from their home in Gjovik. Another Hans Bjugstad, who is owner of the farm, was there at the farm and we were shown the inside of this home which is so historic to us. After our time at the farm, we left for Gjovik to spend about an hour there for lunch before leaving for Trollstigen.
We stayed at the incredible Trollstigen Resort where there little cabins were nothing less than fantastic!
I just saw the most beautiful video of that area on youtube - go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l73lsic-Yj4
Our photos are great - but the video is OUTSTANDING! The video includes Geiranger and we were at all the sites in the video! We did the Gerianger tipr on the 4th. Without exception, the response from everyone when we said we were spending a day at that area was "that's VERY Norwegian!"
We drove the Trollslsteigen mountain road which is a real national treasure. It actually closed due to snow the night before, but was open that morning and we drove the famous zig-zag route up and across an incredible stone bridge and at the top had a snowball fight! We drove on to Geiranger which is impressive for the overview down to the Geiranger Fjord and at the top there we had another snowball fight. We then took the ferry boat from Geiranger for about a 2 hour trip down the Fjords to Hellesylt and the photos from the ferry are breathtaking! We drove a neat route back to the Trollsteigen Resort for our 2nd and last night there.
The Trolls of Trollsteigen were busy in the evening and TP'd (toilet paper) our cabin!
We left Trollsteigen for the drive along the Atlantic Highway with it's famous beautiful countryside and bridges. Just before the famous curved bridge was an area jutting out into the sea and we spent about an hour just exploring the beauty there.
Our destination that day was to be with Olav and Kjellaug Winsnes Hyldmo (parents of Kristine who had taken such care of us in Oslo!) but first they met us at their cabin on a fjord and the photos of that are fantastic. Olav did all that woodwork and built that small house for his grandchildren who just a few weeks before had him there for coffee!
We went on from there to their home but did not take photos of their home when we arrived.
We visited Trondheim and were given the tour by Jens Winsnes and his sister Guro. We also met Jens' girlfriend Mirjam who is pregnant which kept her from the long walks. We had a great lunch at the home of Jens' mother Birgit. We visited the famous cathedral and if you look closely, you will see a statue of St. Denis! He's the guy holding his head. It seems he was killed in Italy but the legend was that he picked up his head and walked a few kilometers with it and then laid down where he wanted to be buried. My name is spelled as was his, and I often act as if my head is not well connected!
We visited the fort at Trondheim as there was a military demonstration in progress and it was fantastic. A walk down to the city and a great meal ended the day.
Bad news - I felt so at home at the Hyldmo's house, we don't seem to have photos but I'm betting Amy can help but she's now camping with the boy scouts in the Rocky Mountains!
Sunday was the day to begin our 6 days at Storstu'u Winsnes - the Winsnes Fishing Lodge. On the way down, we stopped at both the Storen and Budal churches and our first outing there was a walk to what now is an old lumber mill. That lumber mill is right on the foundation that was Litjstu'u Winsnes where my grandfather Jens Winsnes was born in 1882! The walk up the hill behind the mill was to the old home of John Estensen Winsnes who came to America with Jens but returned. The house is falling down, but the log work is outstanding and the waterfall there is a treasure. That evening we were on the river by Storstu'u with Matt Hayes who married Anne Marit Winsnes and together they now run the lodge. The baby carriage at the river holds Joshua, their 2 month old son.
The day was incredible. Ingebrigt and Berit Digre, and Kjell and Ingrid Digre, opened their cabins in the mountains for us for the day and the weather and people could not have been more wonderful. These cabins are to me, on the top of the world! The views are spectacular, and they had food and friendship to match. Ingebrigt and Berit's son Benjamin who is only about 5 or 6 years old can run up and down those hills like a mountain goat. The grandson of Kjell and Ingrid, Erik, is a fantastic young man and our grandchildren loved each moment. We climbed the mountain behind the cabins, had food and fun all day long!
On Tuesday we drove to Melhus to meet Hans Jakob Winsnes, his wife Tanya, and their five children, Talon, Moses, Abraham, Hadassah, and Tamar. Tanya's parents also were there as they have moved to Norway now from Canada. Beautiful family!
These images start at the Winsnes Fishing Lodge and show Matt Hayes workbench! The preparations were made for a day at "Wind Lake" which was most likely the source of the first letters of our family name. The stream from the lake meets the Gaula River at an elbow or "nes" thus the source of the family name for the area. Jakob caught a great brown trout for lunch, but the rest of us just enjoyed trying with spinning lures without sucess. But it didn't matter as the setting and world just seemed beautiful. Late in the day Matt joined the group and he and Jakob stayed while we went home for dinner. Matt caught as many as 15 later but don't remind Jakob of that as he was 'skunked'.
Dinner at the Lodge was worthy of a 5 star restaurant as usual!
What would a trip to Norway be like without meeting our friends from the Netherlands, Jan and Renske Sluiter, in Roros! An incredible happening was that we found just before the trip that they were on a camping caravan in Norway and would be within 2 hours of Roros on that Thursday so we planned to meet there and it was realized! The kids saw the town, and we older people had a wonderful time eating and talking. We finished the day again fishing almost until midnight!
The last full day at the Winsnes Fishing Lodge and we fished on the river as the Lodge prepared for a party that evening. Family came to the diner and it was so great seeing them all again and this time we also got to meet Kristine's sister, and more family that we had not previously met.
Dinner was great, but the family and love made it all so meaningful. It is such an honor to me that these people, throughout the whole 2 weeks, were so helpful, full of great spirit, and such loving people. Just incredible.
All good things come to an end, but other good things then start. We left Storstu'u and on the way stopped at a village that was having marching bands in the streets - talk about Norwegian! Then we ended up at the home of Hans and Gerd Bjugstad for another incredible welcome and evening. Their daughter Ingun and her boyfriend Martin were there and since we had met their daughter Hanne and son Lars Ivar our first Monday at Oslo, we had now met the whole family.
The kids left for the airport and home, and we left for Svanskog Sweden with the Bjugstad's. This was to find the homesite of my great grandmother, Augusta Eriksdatter! We have photos of the border, and our arrival in Svanskog which was orchestrated by Olle Anderson. There we met relatives and historians who led us back in our history to the actual homesite of Augusta! That area is now forest, but the site was protected by law, signs, and even flagging to make certain it is not lost forever. Even on private lands, these sites are protected which is incredible. In the book on my lineage it states that she was born at Rallsbyn and you will see the sign actually naming this spot. She moved with the family to another site which in the photos is shown only with a large pine tree now where that home was (another photo show us talking to nearby residents). The photos in the cemetery are those of our relatives, and if you look closely, you see the grave named the family of Gustav Erikson - he was Augusta's brother!
We stayed in a beautiful 'hotel' at Svanskog which actually was the major land owner's house. We were presented from the Historian and Olle, a document defining the agreement from the land owner to Erik Lennartsson for his use of the land which was Rallsbyn and to our amazement, the woman owning and operating that faciility then invited us upstairs to see a painting of the landowner who signed that document with Erik Lennartsson. That man is shown in the photo at the end of the series. My GG Grandfather signed that document with that man - well, it actually says his hand was on the hand of the man who signed it!
Monday morning and we went to see the museum buildings for Svanskog and the photos of these homes and workplaces are worth the time to look at also as the old equipment and buildings give you a great sense of the lives of the people from the time of our ancestor's lives here. The work of the people to relocate these buildings here and to keep them so restored and to provide to us this view into history is so fantastic. Look at the old work shops in detail!
Delmer Hagen Day in Brandbu Norway!
The man who has for almost 30 years farmed the Winsness farm in Norway, has Solberg ancestors from Brandbu. He showed me what he knew of his lineage while I was helping at his farm in ND in May, and I promised to try to find the location. Gerd Bjugstad realized she knew a man of the surname Solberg and it turned out that the man, Ivar Solberg, was born and raised at the major farm Solberg in Brandbu!. Hans Ivar, Ivar Solberg, and I drove to Brandbu and there met Ivar's brother Hans for an incredible day. The photo begins with us at the site of where the house of Anders Solberg lived as a "husman" or tenant farmer. The 2nd photo is of a small field by the house, most probably where he grew food for his family as he worked big fields for the owner of all the land. In another photo, we are standing in a wheat field and that is where Anna, who married Anders, lived. There then in the 3rd photo is a view looking way up to the Solberg farm, but that little wood cabin on the left about half way up was moved from that wheat field - it is the home of Anna!
Those first photos are duplicated later, but the remaining photos are in their true sequence and include where an old historic church had burned down and we passed the area on the way to Brandbu.
Photos of us with Ivar and Hans Bjugstad at the farm follow and then we men took a walk through the fields and old roads to see the actual sites. Off one field was the 'cabin' of where a man lived maybe 30 years ago as what we would call a hermit. The photos include one which looks across a beautiful wheat field to several buildings close by. Those buildings are where Anna worked as a nurse! Her home would have been uphill to the right in what is another wheat field now.
In the 6th and 7th set of images is that of the old Stav church where both Anders and Anna would have been christened.
The 8th set of images is an old Viking site - most probably a burial ground - incredible history here!
Well Delmer, thanks for all you do for us each year at the Winsnes farm in ND - this day was for you!