NORWAY-L ArchivesArchiver > NORWAY > 1999-08 > 0935265191
From: Randy Seaver <>
Subject: Trip report - General
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 12:53:11 -0700
I want to provide a trip report on our experiences in Scandinavia. This
note will be a general overview. I will write several other notes
describing the Norway research accomplished.
My wife Linda (maiden name Leland) and I wanted to enjoy the people and
places in Sweden, Finland and Norway. We had hosted two girls from Finland
in 1994 as exchange students (we called them the Olympic Shopping Team from
Finland), and had stayed in close contact with Mia Henriksson's family of
Tornio. They invited us to stay in their home, then travel with them to
Helsinki, with a possible trip to Kuopio to visit the second girl, Anne
Karhunen and her family.
As background, Linda had one set of great-grandparents who came from Norway
and settled in Dane County WI. Torger Sjurson (Liland) came from the Voss
area in Hordaland with his family in 1855, and Anna Ellingsdatter (Natvig)
came from the Sogndal area in Sogn og Fjordane with her family in 1863. I
have done research on both of these lines, and hoped to further my research
We left San Diego on 29 July on United to Chicago, then on SAS landing in
Stockholm on 30 July, and stayed in the Hotel Gustav Vasa. Stockholm was
interesting, and we took several tours. We also visited the Skansen open
air folk museum, the Gustav Vasa boat reconstruction, and the Royal Castle.
On 2 August, we flew to Luleä in the north of Sweden, then were picked up
by Kalle and Mia Henriksson. They drove us to their beautiful home in
Tornio, which is on the border with Sweden at the top of the Gulf of
Bothnia. We stayed four days in their home, visited sites around Tornio
and Kemi, met their extended family in Kemi, and took a day trip to
Rovaniemi at the Arctic Circle, with a sidetrip to a lakeside cabin to see
Kalle's uncle. We experienced our first sauna there and engaged in an
Olympic darts match (USA vs. Finland). They enthusiastically introduced us
to Finnish food, with great success. We had lots of cloudberries,
lingonberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries in Finland. Their
hospitality was wonderful and we quickly became fast friends. Kalle and
Aila are professionals, and they all spoke English well.
On 6 August, we and the Henriksson's drove from Tornio to Oulu to visit
Mia's university, and then to Kuopio in the center of Finland. Mia had
contacted Anne, and her parents had invited all of us to stay with them
there. They spoke very limited English, but the girls are great
translators. The food was different and delicious. We stayed two days in
Kuopio, and toured the city. Wonderful hospitality again.
Then it was off to Helsinki for three nights. During the drives, Mia
taught me language lessons, so I could do basic greetings and pleasantries,
count to ten, and tell what I had for breakfast. I felt like a trained
monkey sometimes, but it was fun. Linda helped Mia with her Spanish (this
girl is fantastic - she knows Finnish, Swedish, German, English and is
working on Spanish). We toured Helsinki one day (I really enjoyed
Suomilinna - the island fortress). One day we took the catamaran over to
Tallinn, and visited the marketplace, the castle area, and the old town
area. We said goodbye to the Henriksson's after 9 days with them - they
drove back to Tornio on 11 August after dropping us at the airport to fly
In Oslo, we stayed at the Hotel Munck, which was just north of the central
city. We walked often to the harbor area, took a boat tour, and visited
the open air Norway folk museum (we sampled lefse and the potato pancake I
can't remember the name of), the Viking ship exhibition, the Kon-Tiki and
Fram ships on the Bygdøy peninsula. I had arranged to meet Oslo listers
for dinner on 11 August at the Tempest restaurant. Elin Galtung Lihaug,
Odd Braathun and Ole Kjolseth met us for dinner, and we had a great time
sharing and getting to know each other. They helped me with place names
and advised Linda on troll books. Ole helped me with a genealogy mystery,
which I will describe in another note.
As we left the hotel on Friday the 13 August, Linda fell down three steps
and injured her legs - bruises and swelling, but no fractures. We spent
most of that day on the train to Voss. After checking into the Rondo Hotel
(one km from the town center), I walked into town and checked out the
information center, the graveyards, the bookstores, and the library.
I called Bjorg Liland (on the advice of Jeri Walker, another
lister/researcher) and on Saturday she graciously drove us around the Vangs
Vatnet (lake) to the Liland farm, where we met two Liland ladies. This
will be the subject of a separate note. We also had a short meeting with
Svein Ulvund, who has a great Voss web site with digital pictures of Voss
farms and sights. He knew where all the farms were!
The next day we took a great tour out of Voss - Norway in a Nutshell. This
is highly recommended! Our tour went by bus to Vik, up through Vossestrand
and the Myrkdalen valley, past snow capped mountains and rushing waters.
Then we caught an express fjord boat to Balestrand and Vangsnes, and
transferred in mid-fjord to a ferry boat to Gudvangen. The fjord arm into
Gudvangen is spectacular. After a short bus trip to Flåm, we caught the
Flåm railway to Myrdal. This 20 km trip rises over 800 meters, through the
Flåm valley and past several spectacular waterfalls. The trip concluded
with a short train trip from Myrdal to Voss.
On Monday, we took the cable car lift (over 800 meters high) up the
mountain overlooking Voss and had lunch at the small restaurant there. In
the winter time, Voss is a ski resort. The view was fantastic, and the
fish and chips were excellent (and cheap)! I went to the Voss library on
Friday and Monday, and will discuss the results in a separate note. I also
bought the Vossestrand Ættebok and several topographical maps with Voss
area farm names.
We took the train to Bergen on Monday evening, and stayed at the Hotel Park
Pension, which was up a hill south of the main part of town. It was the
nicest hotel we stayed in, but we had to use taxis because of Linda's legs.
We went up the tram to the top of Fløyen hill, went to the aquarium, and
toured the Bryggen museum.
We flew back to Stockholm on 18 August, and returned to San Diego on 19
All in all, it was a fantastic trip. The highlights for me were being with
the families in Finland, the meeting in Oslo with listers, the Voss tour,
and the Liland farm visit.
I was able to keep track of the news, sports scores and email by using the
internet at the Henriksson's and at libraries in Helsinki, Voss and Bergen.
I'm sorry this is so long - but that's me! Thanks for listening -- Randy