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A love story

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Imagine if you will –the most perfect summer day. A warm sun, a gentle breeze and a clear blue sky.

Now try to visualize –the ultimate outdoor theater. Hundreds of people sitting on a grassy hillside overlooking a natural stage set in Viking times. Behind the stage, magnificent mountains and a sparkling Norwegian fjord.

A perfect setting for the timeless and tragic legend of, Viking Hagbard and Princess Signe.

Hagbard and Signe were from the same village, played together as children and fell deeply in love as teenagers. Hagbard is sent off to war and Signe promises to wait for him. Three years later thinking Hagbard is dead, Signe’s father has arranged for his daughter to marry a Russian prince. Hagbard comes back and Signe who is still very much in love with him, refuses to marry the prince. Her father is enraged and insists she honor her commitment, for the good of the village and to protect his reputation as a leader, and man of his word.

He bans Hagbard from the village and locks Signe up. Hagbard disguises himself as a woman and sneaks into the cabin where Signe is being held. The reunited lovers make plans to escape and runaway together, but are caught in the process. A fight breaks out and many people are killed.

Hagbard is captured, tried and sentenced to hanging. A distraught and desperate Signe begs for his life, but to no avail. On the day of Hagbard’s hanging a brokenhearted Signe sets her cabin on fire and also dies.

Singne’s father is grief stricken over the death of his daughter. Her mother, who had also begged for the lovers freedom leaves him.

He is left broken and alone.

Although sad and tragic, the play was also filled with music, dance and sword fighting. There were horses and a witch. They also carried in what looked like a real lamb (my husband assures me it was not) and slit its throat as a sacrifice to the Viking God, Odin. I found myself totally seduced by the surroundings and captivated by the Norwegian history. This production, bringing both tears and smiles, was absolutely mesmerizing!

Hagbard and Signe

Hagbard and Signe

the orchestra

the orchestra, and the small cabin where Signe dies in the fire

the witch

the witch, and Hagbard dressing as a woman so he can sneak in to see Signe

the sacrifice

the sacrifice

children singing and dancing

the village singing and dancing, in happier times

Hagbards trial

Hagbards trial

Hagbard and Signe's last goodbye

Hagbard and Signe’s last goodbye

the stage

the stage

the view was as dramatic as the play

and the view, which was every bit as dramatic as the play

The World’s End

I ran away from home this week.

I went with my husband on a business trip to Tønsberg, which is the oldest town in Norway. While he was in meetings, I explored the city and visited the Viking graves.

The oldest (red) house still standing in Tønsberg built 1690, restored 1971

The following morning we went cycling on the trails outside the city. The weather was perfect.

We later drove to Andebu, to visit the wooden medieval Høyjord Stave Church. It’s presumed there was once over a thousand of these churches spread across Norway and now there are only twenty-eight left. This one dates back to 1150.

We also went to a place called Åsgårdstrand, in search of the artist Edvard Munch’s house. He is mostly known for his famous painting the scream. It was in 1889 that Edvard Munch (1863-1944) spent his first of many summers in Åsgårdstrand. He once called the little house, the most pleasant house he ever lived in. Everything inside the house is exactly as he left it.

The artist painted many of his famous masterpieces here. The Dance of Life 1899-1900 is my favorite. This painting is from the beach in Åsgårdstrand. The theme of this work is a woman in three stages of life. The young innocent, full of anticipation. The mature woman in the middle of the dance of life and the aging woman observing from the outside.

Nasjonalmuseet.no credit

Just before dark, we drove out to the southern tip of an island called Tjøme. To a place called Verdens Ende, which means, the world’s end. Standing on the rocks looking across the vast area of ocean, I really do feel as if I’m at the end of the world.

There is usually a lot of sea lions out here

You know you’re at the world’s end when you find a telephone booth!?!

Remember these?

Vippefyret is a replica of a medieval lighthouse.

This could be a very dangerous place in a storm.

It may take a while for me to get home…

Something big, part 2

 

The three books you see above are always lying on my desk and thats why there is no excuse for bad grammar or misspelled words! (thats me being hard on myself for misspelling ladder in my last post) However, most of the time I’m doing three things at once and we all know how that goes. Anyhow, blogging is supposed to be fun-right?

Now back to the story…

Where were we? Oh yeah, Hjemmet (Norwegian women’s magazine) is coming to photograph the house and the two culprits below got paint all over my floors. Don’t let their innocent faces fool you…

 

I learned something very useful this week, baby wipes can be used for something other than their intended purpose. They’re great for removing paint off floors and furniture, so the dogs still have a home.

I took out my husbands stitches today, well three of them, he had to take the other seven himself. Here in Norway we don’t bother the doctor with such trivial things (we’re Vikings, you know). He also fixed the broken boards on the deck, the only problem is, they’re much newer and lighter than the others now. We may have to replace them all. Otherwise, outside is looking pretty good. As for inside, I had to call a friend for help.

My friend Anja has an eye for decorating and many thoughts. It helped to get a new set of eyes and another opinion. Together we came up with some good ideas. We made a list of all the changes and the things we needed to buy (nothing big…). I also borrowed quite a bit of stuff from her (crystal candle sticks, throw pillows, a large ceramic angel and a very special fruit bowl…)

I decided to let them photograph the living room, kitchen, dining area and outside. These are the rooms I wrote about in the book and have the best views of the sea. I’ve also decide to set up small areas in these rooms to photograph instead of the whole room. Some examples of what I mean below, but remember I’m no photographer!

 

 

 

We have a large patio at the front of the house which sits above a high cliff, from here you can see out the fjord and into the North Sea. This area is the pièce de résistance and I intend to do it up good. I’m setting the table with a seafood extravaganza and will take pictures, for you to see on the day they come. The big day is Friday, June 15 and the only thing that can spoil it is the weather… What are the chances of that in Norway?

To be continued…