My sister and I are back in Sand, our father’s home town in Norway. My aunt’s house (in our family for over 65 years) has been sold, and we are here to help pack up some things and to say goodbye. Coming back to Sand will never seem the same, if ever we even come back. This summer is the coolest and rainiest in the last 50 years, according to Norwegian news. We have had rain and sun, but it does feel more like September than July.
One of the things I love about coming to Norway is how clean and orderly everything is. You just don’t see any junky houses or cars, and the ferries always run on time. Sand is a sleepy little town, with cute old wooden houses, and just a little bit of tourism. It isn’t as busy and industrious as it used to be when my father lived here. There are just a few shops, and some are not open every day. The bank only changes foreign currency on Mondays and Thursdays. The biggest draws for the town are fishing, the Ryfylke Museum and the Fjordhotel. I had good luck at the local antique shop, finding a beautiful woven Hardangar table scarf and a bowl decorated with rosemaling. The exchange rate is the best we have seen in many years, 8 NOK to $1.
A major pastime for us during our trips to Sand is walking around the town visiting relatives, alive and dead. It is no wonder that we are related to a good percentage of the town, as our grandfather Hans Kristian was one of ten children. From the 1920s until his death in 1940, our great grandfather owned the town’s magnificent Victorian-era Karhus Hotel. It then passed to his children, who sold it in the late 1940s. It burned to the ground in 1965.
Our second cousin May-Britt treated us to a wonderful lunch, her open face sandwiches almost too pretty to eat. Of course the lunch was topped off with fresh local strawberries and cream, a daily in-season ritual.
A short walk from my aunt’s house is Suldalslaagen Fossen, also known as Sandsfossen. The first written record of salmon fishing in this area was in 1000. We saw people fishing at the falls in the evening.
One day we walked across the bridge and hiked up the other side. The scenery had me half expecting to see trolls, but instead we found wild blueberries
Tomorrow we will take the ferry to Stavanger, then catch the train to Kristiansand. In Kristiansand we join the crew of the Statsraad Lemhkuhl for the last leg of the 2015 Tall Ships Regatta. Our father was a cadet on this three-masted barque in the late 1930s, so in his honor we have signed on as crew members for 5 days, sailing from Kristiansand, Norway to Aalborg, Denmark.