Sunday 30 July 2023

Norway Day 10 -Sunday 30th August - Hardanger Maritime Museum and Steinsdalsfossen waterfall


The fine weather of the day before was replaced by rain. Breakfast in the hotel was good. Photographs were taken, the car packed and the bill paid. Unfortunately the view of the Folgefonna glacier we had seen the previous evening was lost in cloud.

Rather than driving to Bergen we decided to first the visit the Hardanger Maritime Museum in the next village of Norheimsund. We had expected our visit would be quite a quick tour  but in the end we spent almost 5 hours in the museum. It is an informal museum dedicated to the protection of old vessels by keeping them in the water and transferring the skills needed to maintain them to the next generation. The museum started in 1984 as a social project for unemployed youth when they restored a 73 foot sailing vessel Mathilde. The restoration took 5 years and the boat has sailed on the fjord ever since.


The museum has now expanded to include more vessels , workshops and a  rope making walk. They also sell traditional rowing boats they make by hand. The layout is very informal and you are free to wander round the workshops. We walked  round the workshops, outside vessels then climbed the stairs to the rope walk where  they make all the ropes for the boats they are refurbishing. Visitors can make their own sample short piece of rope by hand. We followed the instructions. We started by cutting 3 lengths of string from a large reel and tying 3 separate loops between the winding jig and a stick. Lyn had to tension  the strings and it was then over 7 minutes  of fast winding the handle to get sufficient  twists on the string to shorten it to the required length. The twisted lengths of string were carefully removed from the stick and tied together. A wooden bobbin was then placed between the 3   lengths of strings we had twisted and after some more winding and moving the bobbin to lay the lengths of twisted string  we were the proud owners of a short length of rope. We could see why the twisting  was done by a machine for the ropes they manufactured.

We visited the cafe for lunch. They had run out of savory items so we had to be content with a coffee and piece of cake.  The weather improved by the afternoon. Our ticket price included having a traditional rowing boat on the fjord for 30 minutes. We went back to the car to change into canoe shorts and shoes in case we got wet. Once we had master the oars and not facing the direction of travel we were soon near the village. More photos were taken before rowing back.

Returning to dry land we changed out of canoe shorts and then  explored the areas of the museum we had missed and then went back to the cafe for a coffee. This one was free as we used the time to complete an online survey.

It was after 4:00 before we left the museum. Our first stop was just 20 minutes later at the Steinsdalsfossen waterfall. The waterfall was formed in 1699 when the river found a new path and has attracted visitors to the area ever since. It is possible to walk behind the waterfall offering a different perspective. It was a short walk from the large carpark to the waterfall.  We took the wheelchair but fortunately Lyn was able to walk up the slope. It was then a 90 minute drive to the apartment we had booked in Laksevay just outside Bergen.

We had a flexible check in. On arrival we had to car outside the door to the underground carpark. It was then an airbnb message to the owner and a few seconds later the roller door opened. The correct parking space was located and  key and door fob retrieved from its hiding place. A numbered door then had to be located so we were in the right stairwell and on reaching the first floor had to find the correct apartment . The apartment doors were not numbered but a small label with the owners name was eventually found . The luggage was transferred from the car. It was quite a a walk so Lyn had to take the wheelchair.

It was time for a quick drink before we had to drive in Bergen to find a supermarket to buy food for tea. The majority of Supermarkets in Norway do not open on a Sunday. We had googled the previous evening and found a Mango Supermarket that was open a few miles from the apartment on Loddefjoid . We were fortunate we were able to find a space to park outside where you had 30 minute free parking. The supermarket turned out to be located in a shopping centre. They had a good range of fresh vegetables but some areas of the shop had been closed off. We purchased the ingredients for a mushroom and nut stir fry .

We returned to the apartment to cook tea and admire the views of the fjord.

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