Fjords. Mountains. Land of the midnight sun. We are busy planning a trip. We hope to see all this and more when we travel to Norway next summer. Both my husband and I have Norwegian roots, and we are going to see where our ancestors lived. We will get quite a tour of the country, because our families lived far apart from one another.
My husband’s family emigrated in the early 1880’s from the Ringsaker District of Hedmark, Norway. They lived between Lillehammer and the Swedish border, near Lake Mjøsa. We plan to stay in Hamar, the largest town on the lake.
According to family legend, water from this lake is essential for the proper baptism of infants. We actually have some of this water, collected several years ago by my husband’s mother. Our two grandsons were baptized using this water.
While in Ringsaker, we will visit the family farm and the Ringsaker Church where generations of Hjelmstads have been baptized, confirmed, married, and buried. We will also stop in to see the remains of Hamer’s thousand-year-old cathedral which is now protected by a glass dome. If we get time, we may visit one of the tall runestones in the area.
My family lived by the Norwegian Sea, in the Vesterålen and Helgeland Districts of Nordland, Norway. We plan to drive through the various parishes where they resided before immigrating in 1905—Øksnes, Eidsfjord, Bø, Hadsel, and Nesna. To travel between the islands of Vesterålen, we will take speedboats and ferries. Perhaps we will see racks of drying codfish, a sight that would have been familiar to my fisherman ancestors.
Even though we will be traveling in the summertime, we should take cool weather clothing for this leg of our journey. Nordland lies mostly north of the Arctic Circle.
One Final Stop
We plan to fly to and from Norway on Icelandair with a stopover in Reykjavic. We just have to visit Iceland’s Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, the most visited attraction in Iceland. So we will plan to extend our trip by one more day to do just that. Artic weather followed by a dip in geothermal pool sounds great to me.