M. A Wyllie.

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when we again steamed out to sea, on our way to
the Nord Fjord, which runs parallel to the Sogne Fjord,
one degree of latitude farther north. This district, with
that of Nord Fjord, in the old days formed the ancient
Firdafylke. It was delightful to linger, but still it was
necessary to have some hours of sleep. Oddly enough,
it was the days at sea, when the clatter and noise of the
working ship merged into that of the water rushing
past, that it was possible to sleep. Towards the end
of the journey it was difficult to say if the fog-horn had
sounded or if the anchor had been let go during the

We laughed heartily early in the cruise when the
captain had told us that he had been asked seriously,
by a poor soul suffering from insomnia, if he considered
that the quiet of board-ship life would restore him so
far as to enable him to sleep. The slightest noise
woke him at that time. The captain answered, " Yes,
come on board and see." In this he was right, but it
was the noise that made the invalid sleep, and not the
quiet. For a man suffering as he was, I should say, take
a cruise where the ship is constantly in motion.

Before turning in I asked the night steward to tap
gently at my cabin door as we came to the mouth of


the fjord. The tap came all too soon. I rose and went
on deck, and watched the giant rocks gather and separate,
assuming new groupings and forms as we approached
and slipped past them. The sea birds rose and dipped
again in our wake, flying away with shrill cries and
beating wings. For the rest all was silence in these
rock-begirt waters. To the right there was some relief
in the grey moss-grown rocks by a few slender waterfalls.
Then came Hornelen, for which I was missing sleep and
comfort. There it stood, rising sheer out of the water
for 2940 feet in an extremely narrow passage at the
north-east angle of the island of Bremanger. It looked
a huge wall of granite, tremendous in proportion to its
surroundings, the summit considerably overhanging the
base. The driving mist that had arisen with the dawn
gave it a look of ghostly and threatening aspect. The air
was chilly, the deck uninviting and damp, and no place
for pleasure seekers. Tightening my rug around my
shoulders, I again retired to the seclusion of my cabin.
The ship steamed on ; up the Nord Fjord that bifurcates
at the head of Daviks Fjord. Eyds Fjord branches a little
more to the north, and so too Hornindalsvand. Is Fjord,
a little to the south, changes its name at each little bend,
and winds away in six branches or minor fjords, four of
which are connected to big lakes, at whose head descend
the Jostedalsbrii glaciers.

The next bend after Is Fjord is Hundviks Fjord, with
its branch, the Gloppen, noted for its beautiful walks
and good trout fishing. Steamers ply three times a week
to Bergen, and five times weekly to Faleide, Loen, and
Olden. These last are three magnificent spots to visit. The
main fjord again changes its name to Ult Fjord, and
the last bend to Invik. Visnaes was just in sight as I
passed through the saloon, where early breakfast was

LOEN 169

being served to the party who were leaving for the
overland tour to Merok. The outlook was not cheerful.
Visnaes was hardly visible, owing to a damp mist that
lay across the fjord in bands, rising and mixing with
the smoke from the hamlet.

Vectis slowed and stopped whilst a launch and boat
were being lowered, then steamed slowly on to Loen,
dropping anchor in the bay formed by the head of the
fjord. The sun was just breaking through the mist.
The fjord lay like a piece of glass, a clear pearly grey.
Each dip of the oars and wake of the boats as they
pushed off from the shore left a sparkling trail behind.
Every line of a pretty white yacht was reflected, backed
by the high mountains upside down. The two big
hotels standing a little back also reflected in long white
lines quite double their height, and with twice as many
windows. To one side ran the road by which we were
to drive to Lake Loen. It rose upwards through fields
of long flowering grass, to a group of houses near which
on the right-hand side stood the church at the mouth
of the Loendal. A few more farms indispersed with
little birch trees gathered here and there by the
mountains. The Lofjeld rose to the north with its zone
of birch and fir, through which trickled little veins of
waterfalls (little only from their distance). Then came
rocks and patches of snow, and above all the almost
perpendicular steeps witli rounded back on which lay
perpetual snows. To the south the Auflemsfjeld towered
some 5090 feet high.

The first horn sounded at ten for the boats, and by the
time the second horn was about to rend the air with its
raucous voice a large party had collected in the gang-
way, at the head of the accommodation ladder. It was
a boat full that put off for the shore. As usual the


stolkjaerres were waiting on the quay, and were soon
jogging along the road we had seen from the ship. As
we drove through the valley the trees in places almost
closed overhead. We came up with bright-faced tall
girls, stepping out, their kirtles kilted well up, clear
of the muddy road, in scarlet bodice with little white
shawls thrown over their heads. It was amusing to see
one damsel after the other catch hold of the rail at
the side of the driver, and with one foot on the step
climb deftly into the seat alongside him. By and by
my turn came, and I who was alone in front felt a
heavy weight aft, my seat in the meantime becoming
most uncomfortable. I turned and saw a staid-faced
maid was seated behind, her hands demurely clasped in
her lap. I made my driver stop, and invited her to
fill the seat alongside me, and then jogged along
comfortably enough. Later I realised that we were
carrying with us the light-handed Phyllises that were to
minister to our wants at the rest house at the end
of the lake.

The little steamers are not very comfortable or very
clean, but the views from their decks are superb. In
Norway one seems always to be using the superlative,
but in this case, as in the Naero and Geiranger Fjords,
it is quite allowable. Nowhere did I see any more
beautiful lake, beginning as it did with f]shermen"'s
huts, upstanding hay behind, and outspread nets, and
upturned boats on the rocks in front. To one side was
a great shoulder thickly clothed with firs ; on the
other, a thin tongue of land with waving birch and
meadows ; and in the middle three rocks, with one,
three, and five trees on each. The winding vand
beyond was shut out by one mountain bluff' after
another, growing paler and paler, till the last lap lost


itself in the clouds, with a blue tinted glacier spread-
ing beneath.

Sandenib rises on the left, with Auflemsfjeld and the
Melheimsnib on the right, all over 5000 feet high.
From all the mountains, especially the Ravnefjeld,
the glaciers terminate abruptly, and melt into rills and
waterfalls. On the west side of the lake is the huge
Hellesaeterbrae, from which ice avalanches fall, spreading
out below like a fan. Wherever a scrap of soil lodged
there was the small farm. Here stands the farm of
Rodi at the foot of Kvoernhusfjeld, and the farm of
Rodal backed by Skaalfjeld, with the Skaalebrae out-
pouring above. The lake contracts to a strait, and in
front towers the Nonsnib, rising sheer to the over-
whelming height of over 6000 feet. Passing through
a bend of the lake the basin of Naesdal opens out
with the Ravnefjeld on the west, the great Nonsnib
to the south, and the Bodalsfjeld on the east, with
the Kronebrae and the Kjendalsbrae peeping between.
Nothing that I have ever seen can beat the grandeur of
the scenery around Lake Loen.

It was but a year ago, under the towering heights at
the base of Nonsnib where the land looks so rich and
fertile, that the turf-roofed gaards of Naesdal stood.
These were Avithin hail of the gaards that stood on the
land at the mouth of the Kvandals-Elv, which watered
the valley. This was a most sociable spot in a country
where the farms lie scattered with miles between. A
cheery spot, but a little way from the jetty of Kjendal,
where the little launch brought numerous parties of
strangers all the summer long, and where for part of
the day the gaily dressed maids bustled, and laid long
tables ready for the hungry tourists who visited the


In front of the gaard rushed the strait with a tongue
of Bodal clothed in verdure rising on the opposite shore.
Behind the gaads were the lush fields of meadow-land,
intersected with patches of bright green corn and the
darker green of the potato. As the land receded,
getting steeper and steeper, it clothed itself with birch
and alder, which climbed to where the glacier^s snows
lay in streaks upon the rocks, and melting ran in a
silver cascade from ledge to ledge. The eternal snow
glistened above in the slightly hollowed shoulder of
Nonsnib, which in the early morning threw its great
shadow over all — the fjord in front, and the upward
slopes of Bodal. None saw in it the shadow of death.
But late one winter's night, when the snow lay thick
over all, and the hard frost gripped and split, Nonsnib
shivered as he felt the stab of the cold enter deeper
and deeper into his side. But groan as he would, the
frost jutul stabbed deeper still. With a roar that was
heard miles and miles away his great side fell out,
carrying with it the smiling prosperous gaad of Naesdal,
with its sleeping bondi, his sons and daughters, young
men and maidens, and his children''s children, sixty
souls in all, to the bottom of the fjord, a hundred
fathoms below. The fjord rose 300 feet in pro-
test, and burst its bounds, carrying boats and sheds,
fishing gear, cradles, spinning wheels, and roofing
to the head of Loenvand. There they lie scattered on
the shore amongst the boats and nets of the fishermen.

This all happened at night on the 15th of January
1906. The lake that was 100 fathoms deep is now
only 20. The level to which the water rose is recorded
on a monument, and the sister-ship to our steam launch
rests high and dry amongst the birch bushes on the top
of a hill. A big faint scar on the mountain side is now


the only indication of the disaster which overwhelmed
the smiling homestead of Naesdal.

All was bustle on the landing place of Kjendal. The
manager of the hotel at Loen and his waiting-maids
were carrying box after box of food and hardware to
the wooden restaurant, and he let the fact be known
that if the passengers would go their various ways a
hot lunch would be ready on their return. Carts were
in waiting to drive to the foot of the glacier. Colts
waited in readiness to start with the cavalcade, and
gamboled ahead of their sturdy mothers all the way.
The road was bumpy and rough, but the stolkjaerre
went over everything, till we arrived at a swamp, where
willow and birch bushes thickly covered the ground.
The sound of footsteps was hushed in the springing
moist turf and the noise of the waterfalls. The last
part of the way was over large grey boulders and
stepping-stones to the foot of the glacier. It resembles
a great torrent frozen to the mountain side, whilst above
lies the pure white snow from which the glacier is borne
glittering in the sun. The glacier at Fjaerland fell from
the edge of a snow plateau. The glaciers from Jostedals-
bra flow from it, and at its base the stream issues from
a magnificent vault of blue ice. It was not safe to go
too near, as stones were pattering down all the time,
and in some cases rebounded a considerable distance.
Arriving back at Kjendal, the manager had been as
good as his word. Lunch was waiting. A hungry
party sat down to salmon with cream sauce, stewed
mutton, some kind of batter eaten with bilberry jam,
and very good light Norwegian beer. It was a drowsy
party that once more retraced its way down the beautiful
lake. Every seat in the stern of the launch was occupied
by the men, and soon the " Vecti "" slept, whilst a


Norwegian, in rapid English intermixed with Norsk,
told me the harrowing tale of Nonsnib.

Merok (or Moeraak) is a small hamlet nestling round
the head of the wondrously beautiful Geiranger basin.
It is dominated on one side by the Saathorn, some 5835
feet high ; and on the right by the snowfields of the
Flydalshorn. The sound of rushing water fills the air,
from the roaring, foaming Storfos, that from the heights
above looks like a band of silver against the dark face
of the mountain. It gathers force as it flows, and is
joined by the minor waterfalls of the Kleivafos, Stor-
saeterfos, and the Holefos, and spreads its pale green
glacier waters in a broad green line for miles down
the fjord. The few scattered houses forming the ham-
let are built on an old moraine, above which stands the
little church with its small white spire ; and beyond
again a fair sized comfortable looking hotel, which is
not the only one. Though the place is so small it
is a good centre for excursions. We thought it quite
odd to find two other great ships besides ourselves
in the basin. The Blucher, a German ship far bigger
than Vectis, and the Argonaut. In no other part of
Norway did we meet so many tourists at one time
on shore. Launch after launch towing two and three
boats disembarked their passengers on the small quay,
where a big array of superior looking, highly varnished
and red-cushioned stolkjaerres awaited the arrivals.

With very few exceptions the horses were a light
drab colour, hog-maned, and with their tails plaited
with bright coloured braids. The stolkjaerres were
soon occupied, and the long line trotted off in their
order, which often makes it very dull work for the
cars in the rear should the first horse be a slow one.
The etiquette brought about by the width of the


roads prohibits one car from passing another. The
road at Merok is a wonderful piece of engineering,
smooth and well kept ; it winds and winds in a zigzag
up the face of the cliff' with uniform big blocks of
stone placed on the edge of the steep. The numerous
bridges are built like the cyclopean walls of old, of care-
fully sized blocks without a trace of cement to bind
them together. Here the comparison ends. The ancient
Greeks did not understand the building of arches ; the
Norwegians do. It is good to scramble over the edge
close down to one of these, and admire the perfect
construction that stands the bruising and beating of
the torrent as it rushes through. The water strikes the
boulders in its descent, and throws a fine spray over
the long-bending grasses and delicate harebells that
line its path on either side.

The visitors, English and German, glanced at each
other, as only rival nations can, as they met on the
road. The more active members of both parties dis-
carded the stolkjaerres, taking short cuts from one level
to another up the steep stony banks. Up one steep
Teuton and Briton joined hands. Neither could have
done without the other. The obstacle to be surmounted
was a boulder, round, long, and smooth, with but very
slight foothold in a crevice where it joined on to
the face of the cliff". Young Germany was thin, tall,
and spectacled. Frau smiling and stout. Herr very
stout, red in the face, and carefully enveloped in a
soft brown shawl whose fringed points hung down back
and front, nearly touching the ground. Frau said
" Com," and young Germany sprang to the front,
making a dash for the rock, his finger-tips barely
holding on to the ledge. The Briton brought up
reinforcement in the shape of a big birch bough, which


supported him in the rear till he had a firm hold.
Herr waved and shouted, " Cherrmans to dee front,""
quoting Admiral Seymour. Holding on to young
Germany ""s outstretched hand, the British scrambled up
next. Frau was hauled up, laughing, bunched and
plump. Herr exclaimed : " It tis impossible ; mein fat
will not allow " ; but Briton and German held out a
helping hand, and Herr, willy-nilly, amid much laughter,
was hauled to the top, " Mein Gott," he panted, " the
fat of the son of my father was never meant to climb."

Towards the end of the winding road, and after
crossing a noisy brook, a corner was found suitable
for the artist to wield his brush. To one side was
the typical new gaad (or farm), with its big living
house, bare of any ornament, painted white picked out
with red. The storerooms were below, and behind
the great barn with hayloft and stables. Every avail-
able morsel of soil was carefully tilled up to the bare
rocks, where pasturage stopped. The firs and birch
continued the march, crowning the summit of the near
hills. Beyond again lay the mountain peaks, purple
in the distance, seamed and lined with great patches
of snow.

At our feet in a slight hollow was an old farm,
far more picturesque in every way than the new. What
paint could beat the silvery grey of the old timber !
And what roofing could possibly compete with the
birch-barks covered with flowering turf! The buildings
cluster closer together, like some small settlement, and
give a look of comfort that the newer farms do not
possess. All around is the waving grass, and a mass
of our ordinary English wild flowers, — giant harebells,
that go so well with the mauve scabious ; cow parsley,
with its light, lacey, flat heads of bloom ; long thin-


stemmed buttercups ; great pink heads of sweet clover ;
small heartsease, and patches of pale yellow snapdragon.
The grass stood high, ready for the little scythe that
cuts round every stone, great or small. The careful
husbandman does not miss a blade up or down the
hill, on the bank or in the ditch.

Lower still were thick groves of trees, the thin spray
of the hidden waterfalls rising above the leafy boughs,
and then came a rich level of lush pasture, of an
intense green. In the mead the men worked in their
shirt sleeves, though the rain had begun to fall, and
soon came down steadily. Unable to cope with the
weather, we resumed our upward walk to the farm of
Flydal, from which we obtained an excellent view of
the Hydalshorn and the Blaahorn, while still higher
was the Flydalsbrae, a snowy glacier scarred by huge
crevices. On our way back we stopped for a moment
to look over a jutting rock, an abyss several hundred
feet deep to the level of the valley below. The Storfos
huiTying to the fjord lay at our feet. Great rocks
strewed the meadows, intersected with copses of birch
and alder. From this coign of vantage we looked into
the amphitheatre which forms the end and head of
the Geiranger, which fitly closes this magnificent gorge,
forming a contrast to the bare rock sentinels on either
side, ending as it does richly clothed with woods and

Overwhelming is the word that seems to describe
this wonderful Geiranger Fjord. Other fjords we had
steamed through were fine, beautiful, and even sublime,
but none came up to Geiranger. Perhaps it was the
evening light that made it look so stupendous ; but
be that as it may, Geiranger is the fjord one remembei's
best. The narrow dark waters reflect the long white


waterfalls that everywhere tip over the edge of the
cliffs. The many curious formations, and the farms
perched on what look inaccessible heights, all combine
to make this one of the most weird arms of the sea.

Steaming quite slowly, we wended our way down,
passing on our right the gaard of Grande, overtopped
by the Lanshorn. A little farther down the cliffs took the
curious resemblance of some giant's profile, and high above
the water rose the famous pulpit rock. The next bend
revealed the Seven Sisters waterfall streaming down the
face of the worn grey granite ; seven they say, but this
must be when the snows are first melting. We could
count but four side by side. High up on the slope near
them is the gaard of Knivsflaa ; its fields slope down to
the perpendicular cliffs of the fjord, and look all but
inaccessible to man or beast. I heard it was necessary
to tether the babies for fear of their rolling over the

Under the deep shadows of these mighty cliffs the
ship glides along her course, bordered on either side by
walls of grey granite, down which are great black stains
as though water was soaking into the surface of the stone.
The scenery was so stupendous that a hush fell over us
all, as though we were in church. High above the
water fell, but from a rock so steep that it lost itself in
falling. Another betrayed its existence only by the
stretch of white foam on the fjord below. Falls seemed
to come from out the clouds, and others like light white
veils blew to one side or another. Under the deep
shadows the ship crept silently on.

We steamed out to sea and through Molde Fjord in
the night, and right along the arm of the Romsdal
Fjord, anchoring in Is Fjord off Aandalsnaes. One blast
had sounded for the shore, which at the moment looked


anything but tempting, A cold drizzle was falling, and
the outlines of the mountains that girdled the fjord were
dimmed and in some places entirely blotted out. This
stretch of water, usually so beautiful, was wrinkled and
fretted, with dull-coloured wavelets striking yet another
dreary note in the universal grey. Nevertheless the
shore boats were full. Some were for driving ; some
for walking. At the quay the stolkjaeiTes and carioles
were waiting in close line, the horses more gaily equipped
than in most other towns.

Aandalsnaes, or Naes, is the chief approach to the
Romsdal, and the enchanting valley of the Rauma. At
first the walking was but slow, as it was necessary to
stand aside as each cart passed. It was better, on the
whole, to look at the houses and hotels, and drink in the
sweet smell of flowers, till the last had driven by, and
then step out along the moist red road. This valley has
a world-wide fame, and is really beautiful from the
entrance at Naes to the foot of Rorasdalhorn at
Horgheim, a distance of about eight easily walked
miles. The great Romsdalhorn, 5100 feet high, dominates
the valley. It is first seen with beautiful delicate woods
in the foreground, of alder, birch, and ash, growing thickly
down the banks, and flourishing on tongues of land that
stretch into the river. These form broad pools, which
in their turn reflect every leaf and branch of the over-
hanging trees. Silver sand and pebble beaches fringe
the edge.

As one ascends the valley gets wilder, the mountains
rising patched with forest growths. The trees look
up and around, finding room to expand their arms here
and there. They clothe the ravine's side like only
Norwegian trees can ; the juniper, fir, the birch with
her rustling leaves, and the heather cluster together,


reminding me of the prologue of Arne by Bjomson,
in which the trees are supposed to talk together, and
have made up their minds to clothe the mountains.
" Before long the Juniper began to slip. ' Catch hold of
me,' said the Heather. Juniper did so, and when there
was only a tiny crevice the Heather put in one finger,
and where the Heather put a finger in, there the
Juniper worked in her whole hand. On they clambered
upward, the Fir slowly following them, and the Birch
labouring after. ' But it's God's own work,' said the
Birch." This last exactly expresses what one feels
in this marvellous country.

Higher up the pass is more like Glencoe than any
other place I know, but on a much grander scale. Like
Glencoe, it too was the scene of the massacre of Colonel
Ramsay, Captain Sinclair, and nine hundred Scotch
auxiliaries, who had landed a few days before at
Veblungsniis (the little point across the Roma in front
of Naes) when trying to force their way through Norway
to join the Swedes, then at war with the Norwegians.
They were intercepted by an ambush of three hundred
peasants at this spot. The natives had felled trees and
collected a huge pile of stones on the hill above the
road, which they hurled down on the invaders. Most
of the Scots were thus destroyed, and almost all the
survivors put to the sword. This happened on the
26th of August 1612. Details can be found in Thomas
MichelPs History of the Scottish Expedition to Nortvay.

This glen is said to be a great fault, with an anticlinal
axis, and an upthrow of granite in the crack. But since
the world's crust was bent and broken the glen has been
full of ice. The breadth from cliff to cliff may be about

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