SUMMER dusk. The red lights of Tynemouth breakwater dimming astern. Ahead, the grey sweep of the North Sea and a sky that already begins to contain a hint of the pale and lovely luminance of latitudes that lie within hail of the Arctic Circle.
The waves swish along the ship’s sides. The same waves that sluiced along the timbers of the Viking galleys. Course, due N.E. The exact course the Norsemen took, sailing by the stars and the smell of the wind, on their return to the fjords after a raid upon the tempting shores of Northumbria.
Gulls are following, wheeling above the masts with their eerie, faint cries. Many of them will keep with the ship for the whole four hundred miles’ journey, only leaving it when the blue outline of the Norwegian mountains surges up on the horizon next day.
The Vikings sailed for the landfall of Siggen, a 1,500-ft. conical hump on the island of Bömlo. To-day, a thousand years later, ships bound for Bergen still set their course upon it. The North Sea crashes dramatically upon the island’s outer rocks. Behind its stark shape yawns the mouth of the great Hardanger Fjord.
The white glint of the Folgefonn snowfield comes into sight; then fold upon fold of mountain and the fringe of closely-massed islands of the Norwegian skjaergaard. No country in the world has a more stirring sea-approach.
Two voices are there, one is of the sea,
One of the mountains; each a mighty voice.
So runs a verse of one of the sagas. Seventeen words. But Norway has never been more faithfully described.
Sea and mountain. Valley and forest. The four great topographical features are the setting of the salient trends of Norwegian national life.
Town life and the squalors of industrialisation play a negligible part in Norway. Fish from the sea, corn from the valleys, timber from the forests. That is the long economic tradition of Norway, and it has bred a free, virile and intensely hospitable race.
Countries in which the peasant type is predominant, and mountainous countries in particular, demand intimate, personal exploration. Norway, above all others perhaps, calls for an independent off-the-track attitude of travel.
The great cruising liners of a dozen nations penetrate the more famous of the fjords every season. Passengers return home enthusiastic over Sogne or Hardanger, or a glimpse of the Midnight Sun. But no true contact with Norway has been made. The green valleys hidden behind the mountains, the forests where the elk stand like sentinels between the pines, the little fishing communities dotted among the coastal islands or secreted in the recesses of the lesser-known fjords, do not reveal themselves to the herd tourist. But they have warm welcomes for the individual traveller who has come to wander among them and share their life.
In Norway, then, travel by the normal methods of the country—on foot with a rucksack; by the automobile services which take one far into the inner territories which the herd tourist never sees; by rail to a centre like Voss or Lillehammer or Fagernes, and from there make short radial excursions over the region; by the little local steamers which ply along the coast and in and out of the fjords, carrying passengers, livestock, goods and mails.
Bergen, the second city of Norway and its greatest port on the western coast, occupies the key position for all travel in the famous fjord districts.
The whole coast of Norway, from the North Cape—four hundred miles above the Arctic Circle—to its southerly tip at Lindesnes in the latitude of Aberdeen, is savagely riven into innumerable fjords that lead the sea to the very hearts of the mountains. But to the north and south of Bergen there are fjord regions of especial drama and grandeur, and the town lies midway between the Hardanger and the Sogne Fjords.
For sixty-five miles the Hardanger Fjord winds inland through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. In many places the smooth granite walls of the mountains fall sheer for nearly four thousand feet to the dark fjord waters. Yet where the valleys run down to the fjord side the grass is vividly green, and farms and hamlets lie amid fertile orchards.
The Sogne Fjord is in grim contrast. Here the scene is almost unbrokenly harsh. The fjord creeps like a sullen snake for 112 miles, curling through the immense rock buttresses of the mountains deep into the country. Its drama is almost terrible in its unalloyed hardness. But it is magnificent.
The ships that run to Bergen from England tie up at the quay-side terminus of the Bergen-Oslo Railway, which is one of the world’s wonder works of engineering. The railway traverses the country from west to east, climbing the great central mountain chain. The three hundred miles of track lie through amazing scenery—following a rock ledge above the Sör Fjord; running over the barren mountain wastes far above the tree line, where the snow lies thick even at midsummer and the lakes are stiff in ice; winding through calm valleys where the peasants are at work in the fields; cutting into the shadowy depths of vast forests. The journey takes about thirteen hours, and to travel over the route is one of the finest ways of getting an insight into the Norwegian scene.
At Voss, sixty-seven miles from Bergen, one reaches a centre that is the natural junction point of the Hardanger and Sogne country. The heads of both these great fjords are not far distant, and Voss is a local capital of much interest.
Beyond Voss the first serious ascents of the railway begin, the line running along the high ridge of the Langefjell. As the track leads deeper into the mountains the dark forests fall away and the snow peaks rise up level with the train. To the south gleams the Hardangerjökul glacier, a citadel beyond the naked waste of rock and stunted dwarf birches. Soon even this meagre vegetation ceases, and the landscape becomes utterly bare.
The highest point of the railway is reached near the station of Finse, which stands at 4,000 feet. Finse is a popular winter sports centre, and all the upland stations of the line—such as Haugastöl, Geilo, Ustaoset—are situated in splendid ski-ing country.
Beyond Finse the descent of the eastern slopes of the mountains begins. There is a long and lovely stretch where the track leads down the broad Hallingdal valley. Later, the lowlands of eastern Norway are met, and the train threads the forest and pastoral region that surrounds Oslo.
The Norwegian capital is a delightful city. Ringed by forest-covered hills, it stands at the head of its own beautiful fjord.
The best way for a stranger to begin orientating himself in any new city is to make a dead line for the principal café and there take stock of things. The travel bureaux will provide him with maps and booklets and a personal guide if necessary. But the assimilation of a place’s idiom and atmosphere is entirely a matter of individual observation. And for this there is no finer vantage-point than a leading café.
All Oslo meets itself at the Grand Café, which will be found mid-way along the wide and lively main street of the city—the Karl Johansgate. At one end of the Karl Johansgate (Norwegians call it just Karl Johan—and the “gate” has nothing to do with a portal, but means “street” and is tacked on as strasse is in German) stands the Royal Palace; and at the other end is the Östbanestation—the East Station. Between these points Oslo life pulses most strongly—notably in the Grand.
From the tables of the Grand you can watch the Oslo pageant pass by the huge plate-glass windows, which are removed in summer to form wide openings to the street. And Norwegian beer is among the best in Europe. So it can be a very pleasant pastime, this dawdling in the Grand during one’s first hours in Oslo in order to get the hang of things.
There is a long buffet at one side of the café. Upon it are arranged innumerable delicious single-deck sandwiches. They are a feature of Norwegian food and known as smörrebröd. Or you can get a printed list of them from the waiter, and enlist his help in choosing. There is one excellent concoction which appears as Skrapet kjöd m. egg og lök. Finely scraped raw beef, with the yolk of an egg and a little chopped onion, the whole mounted on a slab of rye bread. With that and half a litre of pils (light beer) the orientating process proceeds with delightful smoothness.
Those very attractive blondes out in Karl Johan wearing rakish black peaked caps are university undergraduettes. The soldiers with black horsehair-plumed hats and wide white stripes down their trousers belong to the Guard, and are on their way from the Akershus fortress, at the head of the harbour, to the Palace for watch duty.
Across the street from the Grand is the Stortingshus, the Norwegian parliament building, and a comely little garden with seats under the trees. This is another pleasing spot in which to loiter and see life go by. The blue Oslo trams whirr along the streets; from the harbour sounds the note of a ship’s siren. Beyond the end of the Rosenkrantzgate the fjord shows, and the dark humps of the islands form the background for the white sails of the yachts.
The route to Oslo from England is maintained by the Fred. Olsen line, whose neat comfortable little steamers, the Blenheim and the Bessheim, run twice weekly from Newcastle during the summer, and once a week in the winter.
Lindesnes, the most southerly cape of Norway, is sighted twenty-four hours after leaving the Tyne; thereafter the way lies along the coast and through the calm waters and lovely scenery of the Oslo Fjord—a journey of twelve hours, with stops (in summer) at Arendal and Horten.
One of the most characteristic features of Norwegian life is the amphibious summer holiday—bathing, sailing, fishing, camping—along the shores of the Sörland (south Norway) and the Oslo Fjord. Here there is none of the stern, rocky bleakness of the western seaboard. The mountains lie far in the interior, and the mainland hil$$$ that run down to the coast are gracefully undulating $$$ covered with pine and fir forests whose scent carrie$$$ far out over the water.
Along all its length the Oslo Fjord is studded with small islands, tufted with pines and all possessing snug little inlets where a boat can be anchored and a camp made. Every fjord-side town has its yacht club—jovial, utterly democratic clubs where the stand-offish Cowes atmosphere is nowhere to be found.
A man can own a yacht in Norway as he owns a second-hand baby car in England. Week-ends are spent in small cruises, sleeping in the boat’s cabin, or in a tent pitched on an island strand. The Norwegians have brought the preparation of tinned food to a perfection unknown elsewhere; and such dishes as lapskaus, a very first-class kind of stew, taken from a tin and cooked up over a camp fire, or on a Primus stove aboard the boat, provide an open-air meal on a level with the cooking-craft of the best housewife.
From May until September the Oslo Fjord is the play-ground of the capital, and of every other town and village that lies along its shores. The islands, and the narrow waterways and lesser branches that they form, are spread along both sides of the fjord, leaving the wide central fairway for the big shipping. Local steamer services link up the different resorts, sailing intricate routes through sounds so narrow that at times the stretching branches of the firs almost brush the decks.
In an hour’s journey from the busy heart of Oslo one can reach wild, untouched surroundings, finding a remoteness and a peace that only the primordial scenery of rock and forest and deep, still water can give.
One of the best ways to see Oslo is to take the electric railway (the Holmenkollenbanen) that starts from the end of the Karl Johansgate, near the National Theatre, and get out of the city. From the heights of Holmenkollen, or, still higher, from Frognerseter, the views embrace a huge panorama of city and fjord and the nearer forested hills.
There are good restaurants at both these places, and the walks lead through forest paths. Another good view-point from which to see Oslo is at Ekeberg, also reached by railway in a few minutes.
Having gained these bird’s-eye views and a general lay-out of the city and its environment, one can descend—by rail, or on foot until the trams are met with—and enter Oslo again.
Oslo is not large, as capital cities go. Its population is only 300,000, but Oslo has the true metropolitan note. There is nothing provincial about it.
A large number of its inhabitants live in the suburbs, pleasant places that expand out of the city along the edges of the hills and round the curve of the head of the fjord. Here in the suburbs all the houses are of timber. Painted white or red, or sometimes just treated with protective oil upon the natural colour of the pinewood, they imprint the landscape with a cheerfully fresh and homely aspect. And one does not fully realise the style and variation possible in timber architecture until the villas of such places as the outskirts of Oslo reveal it.
Oslo has four leading theatres, and several smaller ones. At the National Theatre, just off the Karl Johansgate, leading European plays are produced, and the works of Björnson and Ibsen frequently performed. These two great figures of Norwegian literature and drama stand as statues on either side of the entrance to the theatre, proud and aloof from the courting couples who whisper beneath the trees a few yards away.
At the Centralteatret, in the Akersgate, comedies and operettas are mostly staged. There is a very attractive modern theatre—Det Nye Teater—in the Rosenkrantzgate, which specialises in contemporary drama, and in summer stages lively, light-hearted revues. The Chat Noir is a cabaret-variety house, where refreshments are served during the performances.
One of the high-spots of Oslo amusement life is the Röde Mölle—in the Tivoli garden. Here there is a large dance floor, and the cabaret turns are among the best in Europe.
The Grand and the Bristol, near to each other and in the centre of the city, are the élite hostelries of Oslo. But both are entirely democratic. Democracy, hospitality and genuine friendliness are notable traits of the Norwegian character, and this is communicated to the restaurant life of Norwegian cities.
You will never be haughtily refused evening admittance to these places because you are not arrayed in evening dress. That form of meretricious snobbery, so lamentably prevalent in some restaurant quarters of London, is wholesomely absent from Oslo.
The Grand Café, if it were situated in a similar position in London—that is to say in the best part of the main shopping and promenading thoroughfare—would be unapproachable for the traveller of average purse. Its service and table appointments are faultless. Its food is on an equally high level. Yet you can get an excellent meal for 2 kroner, and the most expensive item on the à la carte menu is not more than 4 kroner, and that consists of a large helping of caviare, with adorning etceteras in the form of knekkebröd (a delicious crisp rye cake) and slices of carrots, mushrooms and other cold vegetables.
A feature of the Grand, and of all the Oslo restaurants, is the Dish of the Day—Dagens Kost. This consists of a choice of various appetising and nourishing confections at prices running from 60 öre to 2 kroner—(6d. to 2s.).
In the Mauriske Sal (the Moorish Hall) of the Bristol, Oslo youth and beauty—and there is a lot of beauty—meets to dance and drink tea and flirt gracefully.
How do the girls get their wonderful sun-tanned tint, bronze beneath the corn-yellow of their hair. Is it natural, or does dope from a bottle do it? It’s natural. In summer the sun shines for eighteen hours a day in the height of the season in Oslo; and further north, beyond the Arctic Circle, the Midnight Sun gives perpetual daylight between the middle of May and the end of June.
One of the most cheerful and Bohemian restaurants of Oslo is Blom, a resort of writers and artists and actors, but equally open and welcoming to the general public. Its tables are lit by candles in black wrought-iron stands of different design. There again you can get a good dinner for 2 kroner, or dally the evening away in conversation over smörrebröd and beer.
A popular lunch restaurant is the Teaterkafeen, across the street from the National Theatre.
In the leading cafés the orchestras are of very high standard, and in the lesser places there is always good music to be heard in the evenings. Sometimes the players may consist only of a pianist and a fiddler. But they can play, and they are at their best in the folk-songs of the country—those wistful, plaintive melodies that bring the air of mountains and the scent of forests and the simple life of the peasant farms into the modern rush and clamour of the city.
Of lesser restaurants of the cheery-beery kind, Humlen and the Nürnberger Hof may be named. They are essentially popular in tone. Students frequent them to celebrate an examination success, jovial parties of comrades make them a rendezvous.
There is another cabaret-dance-variety resort that must also be noted. The Dovrehallen. If your wife is broad-minded take her there. She will enjoy it. Otherwise, don’t. The Dovrehallen does not pretend to be other than what it is—a lively resort of the people, where much good beer flows and much good spirits are shown.
Out in the fjord, easily reached by ferry or tram, are two very attractive restaurants, Kongen and Dronningen. They are built on islets and linked to the land by long piers. The water is deep around them, so that the yachts sail close in to the diners on their verandah terraces.
In the Nationalgalleriet is assembled the finest collection of Norwegian paintings and sculpture in the country. Particularly interesting are the pictures of Norwegian peasant life painted by the artist Tidemand fifty and more years ago.
Tidemand put a story into all his paintings. It is a form of art that is scoffed at to-day, where strange distorted torsos and morbid “problem pictures” are thought to represent the summit of creative achievement.
By the study of Tidemand’s work one can gain a wonderful insight into Norwegian peasant culture. He has painted the Norwegian peasant in all his activities—his weddings, fishing expeditions and farm work; his boyhood days in the catechism class in a small country church; his courting episodes, with a lass up in some small mountain seter; his dances and merrymaking; his religious meetings in a peasant house; his life, his death.
In an altogether different genre to the work of Tidemand is the art of Edvard Munch, whose pictures are stark and fierce in their portrayal of human character. Munch’s portrait of a girl suffering from advanced tuberculosis is one of the most savagely poignant pictures the world has to show. And there is another one—a mother watching her sick child, falling to sleep from sheer anxiety and exhaustion—that stands eternally among the great masterpieces of art.
After an hour or so of Tidemand at the National-galleriet it is a good plan to take the ferry from Piperviken quay across to Bygdö, where there is the open-air Folk Museum. Here old peasant houses and farm buildings have been collected from all over Norway and re-erected. Again and again the settings of Tidemand’s work is seen in actuality, and the attendants, who are mainly women, wear the local dress of the particular district of Norway from which the building has been transported.
One of the most striking exhibits at the Bygdö Folk Museum is the timber stave church from Gol, in the Hallingdal valley. And in a special house may be seen the remains of two Viking ships in a remarkable state of preservation.
The collection of the Museum of Applied Arts (Kunst-industri-museet) displays the wide range of Norwegian folk crafts. There is some very fine gold and silversmith work to be seen, and the tapestries woven on peasant looms in past centuries reveal the innate sense of colour and design that is so noticeable in all Norwegian art forms.
In the Ski Museum, at Frognerseter (reached by electric railway to Holmenkollen, and then a pleasant walk), are many articles used by Nansen and Amundsen in their polar expeditions, and a collection of skis illustrating their development from Viking times to the present day.
The craft of the cook stands high in Norway, as it does in every country whose people have their roots set deep in the homely peasant tradition.
Norwegian cooking is rich, careful and exceedingly tasteful. But never fussy; and portions are never niggardly. The menus tell you exactly what you are to consume, and do not mislead with exotic French terms.
The home meals are frokost, middag and aftens. The breakfast consists largely of cold slices of ham or veal roll or smoked salmon or various kinds of cheese, laid on buttered bread—the inevitable and always tasty smörrebröd. Eggs, boiled or fried, are also on the family table; and a lot of milk, thick, creamy, excellent milk, is taken. Coffee always, never tea. And you will never drink a bad cup of coffee in Norway.
Middag is the main meal, and is usually taken late in the day. For Norwegian business hours run consecutively from nine to three or four in the afternoon, when the working day of the towns ends. The only break is a few minutes about mid-day, when smörrebröd taken in a packet from home is eaten in the office, or a short visit made to a nearby café for a glass of beer and a light snack.
Middag menus are good and filling. One main dish and a sweet of some sort. Vegetables are always served with a thick sauce. The main dish may be anything from reindeer steak or pork cutlets to one of many forms of finely chopped or minced meat. In summer cranberries are collected and preserved. They form an adjunct to nearly all the more solid meat dishes, and are delicious, as well as being a most valuable digestive agent.
Aftens is a light evening meal, taken any time between eight and ten. Here smörrebröd figures again, but such is the infinite variety of this item of Norwegian fare that one never tires of it.
A Norwegian dish that is popular all over the country, and with foreigners who visit it, is stekt rype—roast willow-grouse. The willow-grouse abounds on all the upland moors of Norway, and he makes a wonderful meal. The feathers of the birds become snow-white in winter.
Among the drinks of Norway beer is dominant, though big quantities of spirits are also consumed. There are three kinds of beer. Pils is a light drink of the pilsener order. Bayer is heavier and darker. Bok is very nearly a stout.
One needs to be careful when saying “yes” to a whisky and soda. The whisky measure is a full third of the glass, the rest soda. Aquavit, a schnapps made from rye and caraway seed, is a favourite “short one.” Sipped alternately with pils it is very soothing—though it sounds horrible. A glass of aquavit is called a dram.
Beer can be obtained in any restaurant at any time. But there are various restrictions in regard to the sale of spirits. And bottled spirits and wines can only be purchased through the State monopoly stores known as Vinmonopolet.
Fish, of course, plays a big part in Norwegian food. Boiled cod, a dreary dish in England, has unimagined gourmet qualities fresh from the sea in Norway. And smoked salmon, a costly delicacy in London, is a common spread for smörrebröd. In the summer one gets tired of salmon, so plentiful is it.
Wherever you go in Norway you will eat well, and table appointments are always utterly clean.
The fastest steamer of the B. & N. Line reaches Bergen in twenty-one hours from Newcastle. The approach to the town from the sea lies up the Korsfjord between bare rocky islands, and later through the narrowing Byfjord.
Bergen stands magnificently amid its seven mountains, with the giant shape of Ulrikken mounting to the sky in a huge gable behind the roofs of the city.
The centre of Bergen is the Fisketorvet—the Fish Market Square. The market stalls are ranged down a big concreted space at the head of the Vaagen arm of the harbour. The boats tie up within a few feet of the market and unload their live catches into big salt-water tanks. You can choose your fish as it swims about. A large scaly-handed fellow in sea-boots knocks it on the head for you, and you carry it home.
Across the road from the market there is a very pleasant little café whose windows look out upon the harbour and the thronged market stalls. It is called the Kaffistova, which is peasant dialect for Coffee Room. Its clients are largely drawn from members of the different peasant associations, and there is a comfort and homeliness about the little place that make it particularly attractive. The waitresses wear the red bodice, white blouse and black skirt of the local peasant dress.
The great fire of 1916 destroyed all the centre of Bergen, and much of the old timber architecture disappeared in the blaze. This part of the city is now almost completely re-erected in modern style, and there are some fine buildings in the grey granite of the district.
To see the wooden houses of the Bergen of past days one must wander through the lesser streets, notably those in the direction of Sandviken, to the north of the Vaagen, and through the narrow alleys at the far end of the Strandgate, where the Nordnes peninsula juts out into the fjord. The houses are nearly all painted white, with the window frames lined in bright colours; and every window has its array of cacti or begonias or geraniums.
Bergen, like Oslo, has its Grand Café. The café terrace faces the Ole Bull Plads, where a statue of the famous violinist forms the centre of a miniature, fountained garden. Across the Olav Kyrresgate, the main shopping street of Bergen, is a small park—the Byparken—which extends beyond another road to form a rim of gardens round the Lille Lungegårdsvand lake.
But the most charming of all Bergen restaurants is the Flöien, on the top of the mountain of the same name. A funicular railway takes one up in about ten minutes, and the views from the summit are memorable. One can see far out to the North Sea, beyond the maze of fjords and sounds and the massed line of islands. The Lövstakken mountain fills the horizon to the west, and behind rise the massive Ulrikken and Rundemannen.
The café has a good dancing floor, lit up from beneath through glass panels. Its outdoor terrace is built out towards a spur of the mountain. A grand place to taste the good Hansa beer that they brew in Bergen and soak in the memory of the view.
From Flöien, which is one of the lesser heights around Bergen, tracks lead up through the pinewoods to the higher ranges. Forty minutes’ walk brings you to the top of Rundemannen, where there is a radio station. From here, if the weather is clear, one can see far inland over a succession of mountain ridges to the snowfields of Hardanger. Other tracks lead over the mountains in different directions, and there is one walk well worth taking—down to the Svartediket lake, a deep, lonely sheet of water prisoned amid the towering heights.
In the past Bergen was an important centre of the Hanseatic League. The relics of these times are preserved along the Tyskebryggen quay, where a few of the old timber warehouses still stand.
One of the buildings has been kept in its exact state with all its furnishings. A row of spirit glasses near the chief merchant’s desk tells of the “priming” by the astute German trader of the simple Norwegian fishermen who came to sell their catches to the Hansa organisation. The Hansa folk also kept two sets of scale weights—light for selling and heavy for buying.
Seawards beyond the Tyskebryggen is the old fortress of Bergenhus. Its ramparts form a promenade for the citizens to-day, and it is pleasant to sit there, watching the shipping that is perpetually on the move in the fjord.
From the Holbergs Plads, near the Fish Market, various motor-coach services start for outlying districts near Bergen. One of the best routes is that to Os, a townlet to the south standing at the head of a peninsula of the Björnefjord. The way lies for some twenty miles through attractive country. Several large lakes are skirted and some typical villages of the Vestland passed.
A bay of the fjord near Os has been developed into a bathing resort—Solstrand, where there is a good hotel and restaurant.
From the earliest records of Norwegian history one can trace the importance, economically and politically, of the peasant freeholder or bonde. He is the direct descendant of Viking social culture, and the backbone of the Norwegian race to-day.
Pride of his fine peasant ancestry, love of his soil, affection for his family and unbounded hospitality for the stranger in his midst, are his staunch virtues.
There are two distinct types of Norwegian peasantry—the farmer or forester of the valleys and inland regions, and the fisherman-peasant of the coasts. Both of them pull an equal weight in the life of Norway.
It is on inland rambles through the valleys and among the villages of the fjords that one comes into closest contact and truest sympathy with the lives of the country folk. By the Udal law of Norway the bonde is his own unassailable master. The immediate possessor of the soil owns no superior. He is absolute owner and is not subject to any rents or duties or vexations of any kind whatsoever. Such are the provisions of the Udal law.
A homestead is best,
Though it be small;
A man is master at home,
Though he has but two goats
And a straw thatch. …
Thus the Havamål—the versified moral code of the Vikings. The bonde of to-day clings proudly to its tenets.
In the short and vivid Norwegian summer—the first wild flowers are often in bloom ten days after the snows have melted in the Spring, and the first crop of hay is sometimes ready in the fifth week—the peasant farmer has to produce sufficient for sale in the country markets and for the maintenance of himself and his family throughout the seven hard winter months. It is a tough task, but the bonde successfully achieves it. In this he is helped by an able wife and sturdy sons and daughters.
Once the snow is clear of the ground, crops are sown and cattle released from long months under roof to graze and get fat in the open. And in June the migration to the seter, or mountain pasture, begins.
The seter period is one of the most delightful and picturesque phases of the Norwegian summer. Every gård (farm) of consequence has its seter up in the mountains, to which all dairy and grazing activities are transferred once the brilliantly green mountain grass is sufficiently ripe.
Travelling by train down the Gudbrandsdal, the Romsdal, the Hallingdal, or any of the great inland valleys, one sees the wooden seter huts dotted everywhere on the higher slopes above the forests. Often the seter lies a two days’ journey distant from the parent farm, but mileage is no matter where the welfare of the cattle is concerned.
The conduct of the seter is entirely the domain of the women and girls. For two or three months they live isolated lives far away from their kin in the valley, tending the herds on the pastures that grow to the edge of the rocks and the permanent snows.
The men help them with the trek to the heights, driving the cattle up the steep mountain tracks, carrying great piles of stores and gear in rucksacks, with heavier equipment loaded on a pannier pony.
But once the seter staff is installed the men return to the valley to reap and market and store for the coming winter. Wives and sweethearts are left beneath the eaves of the mountains with the herds, to make the cheeses and butter that will provide food and bring in a revenue from the market during the cold dark time ahead.
Many of these old setre (the plural of the word), built of massive half-trees and roofed with green turf in which wild flowers grow, date back to far centuries. Their sites, certainly, have not altered since Viking times, when the seter was a safety post from marauding enemies in the valleys, as well as a necessity from the agricultural point of view.
Bear and lynx now rarely emerge from the Norwegian forests to approach the haunts of men. But there are still setre to be seen where the enclosing pallisades of sharpened stakes built to keep such ravagers at bay remain intact.
The girls have no time for loneliness during their spell of exile. Work begins when the sun tips the not far distant snowfields, and only ceases when the ravines are heavy with night shadows; for except in the ravines there is no darkness during the nightless summer of Norway.
Work over, the girls sit along the seter steps, knitting, gossiping, singing those exquisitely plaintive songs of which Seterjentens Söndag (The Seter Girl’s Sunday) is so typical.
At week-ends a few of the menfolk from the valley may come up on a visit. There is impromptu dancing round a fire of spruce branches, with a fiddle for orchestra and the muted tinkle of cow-bells forming a soft obbligato. Seter days … some of the truest poetry in a land that is filled with the natural song of waterfall and sea-spray and wind crooning through the forest trees.
From Oslo four railway systems radiate in fan-formation to the north, running through the valleys of Hallingdal, Valdres, Gudbrandsdal and Österdal. Every valley of Norway is beautiful and the home of the sturdy peasant tradition. But these four regions are of particular interest. They embrace, as it were, the essential soul of Norway.
The Hallingdal begins at the station of Gulsvik, on the Oslo-Bergen line, and forms a wide trough through the country for some seventy miles. It is a rich cereal-growing district. The farmlands lie in the fertile valley bottom, and beyond them spread the dark forests, covering the slopes until the tree limit is reached and only the naked mountain continues upwards to meet the sky.
Gol and Nesbyen are good centres for a stay in the Hallingdal. For countless ages the valley has been famous for its peasant dancers and fiddlers, and it gives its name to the Halling, one of the most stirring of the folk dances of Norway.
The Valdres valley leads from the junction of the Begna river with lake Sperillen deep into the heart of Norway, ending only on the threshold of the rugged mountainous region of the Jotunheim. Fagernes is its local capital, and there are good hotels at all the valley centres, such as Aurdal, Fossheim, Breidablik.
The valley is densely forested, and both elk and bear have their haunts in the wild inner regions. At the north end of the valley the Filefjell mountain ridge forms a connecting link between eastern and western Norway, the road over the mountain running to Laerdal, at the head of the Sogne Fjord.
The valley of the Gudbrandsdal is perhaps the most famous in all Norway, the richest in history, the most dogged in the survival of its peasant heritage. Its ancient farms stand as firmly to-day as they did centuries back, when men first axed their massive timbers from the living forest.
The town of Lillehammer forms the gateway to the Gudbrandsdal, and the railway traverses the valley for its whole length, until the ascent of the Dovrefjell mountains begins. Beyond the Dovrefjell lies Trondheim, the cathedral city that was the ancient capital of Norway.
The Laagen river runs from end to end of the valley, and from the green, foaming water the forests rise steeply to the upper heights. The subsidiary valleys that branch out of the Gudbrandsdal to the west all lead into the Jotunheim, where the highest of Norway’s mountains are massed in a huge citadel of snow and ice.
A Gudbrandsdal delicacy is the dark brown goat-milk cheese (gjeitost) made in the peasant farmsteads. Near Vinstra, a station on the railway, is Bakke farm, the site of Ibsen’s drama of the semi-legendary peasant hero, Peer Gynt. One of the rooms of the farm has been moved to the station, where it forms a bookstall.
The Osterdal is the most easterly of the great valleys of Norway. Beyond it lies the desolate region of forest and moorland and lake that divides Norway from Sweden.
Pine forest dominates the Osterdal landscape. The closely massed trees stretch to every horizon. Only in the cleft of the valley is there a strip of farmland. Elk roam the forests and reindeer the uplands, and close to the Swedish frontier is the Femund lake, a vast stretch of water, renowned for its fine fishing.
The Glomma river, a broad, fast stream, runs down the valley. In the season huge rafts of log timber are floated down it to the saw mills.
They gave us trout in the restaurant car as the train from Oslo was running through the Gudbrandsdal—trout caught the evening before in the waters of one of those tumbling, tempestuous rivers that streak through the valley between the dark mystery of the forests and the brilliant green of the meadow lands. And after the trout came reindeer steak with cranberry sauce.
There was something delightfully prophetic in the menu. In a few hours, after we had detrained at the station of Sjoa with our rucksacks and tent and fishing rods and our two Norwegian elkhounds, who also each carried their ten pounds of food and gear in pannier sacks, we should be winding our way through those forests where the cranberries grow thick between the silent pines; we would fish the rivers and tarns as we came upon them, and fry our catch over the camp fire for the evening meal; and high on the uplands of the Jotunheim, upon which we had planned to emerge later, we should as likely as not come up with those little herds of wild reindeer that trek from moorland to bleak moorland, always within sight of the permanent snows.
At Sjoa the two dogs stormed wildly out of the van at the back of the train after four hours of incarceration in wooden boxes. We gave them five minutes’ freedom while they raced about.
The forest closely ringed the little station, and the dogs vanished into the blackness between the pines, to appear suddenly again as though shot from a hidden trapdoor. They sent the stationmaster’s white cat scudding half-way up a tree, and atoned for the act by affectionately licking the bare legs of a little girl with two long yellow plaits who had come down from a seter with a wooden bucket full of golden butter.
Then we hitched our packs, harnessed the panniers to the dogs and set off along the valley of the Sjoa river, westwards towards the peaks of the Jotunheim that glittered far away beyond the sharp horizon of forest ridges.
That night we camped on the forest edge, on an open grass space high above the river. Once there had been a seter here. The fallen logs of the ruined huts lay grey and bleached like old bones. Long ago, for this is ancient country, even for Norway, cattle had grazed on this acre of grass, and generations of peasant lads had tramped up to the hut from the valley farms for the traditional Saturday night courtship with their seter girl.
We fished for half an hour, got five plump little trout, and set them to fry over a pinewood fire. It was in September, and the dusk came down, soft and dark, when we had finished the meal. The moon swung up from behind the spear-heads of the firs, and high up in the sky was a pin-prick of light, so remote that it was impossible to say whether it was a star or a light in the window of some seter where folk still kept with the herds until the final break of the weather should send them hurrying to the valleys again.
All the tracks that lead westwards into the mountain fastnesses of the Jotunheim from this part of the Sjoa valley have been trodden by the peasant feet of centuries. Sometimes the way winds eerily through the depths of the forests, where one moves soundlessly over the carpet of pine needles to stumble dramatically upon an elk or see the great shape of a capercailzie wing heavily through the trees; sometimes the path follows the line of the rivers. But always the route ascends, until the forests thin and at last abruptly end on a tree-limit that is as sharply defined as though the trees had been felled by human agency on the edge of the desolate upland wastes.
And then, with the trees dropping out of sight behind, there is only a wild humped world of moorland ahead; and beyond that again a horizon of dim blue mountain shapes and the white sheen of snow and the glint of glaciers.
It took us four days’ tramping, averaging fifteen miles a day, to reach Gjendesheim, on the rim of the Jotunheim fastnesses. Each night we had camped by a lake or beside a river. We had called at many a seter and been welcomed and given milk and cheese.
Here at Gjendesheim, in the rest-house of the Norwegian Tourist Association (Den Norske Turistforening) we were in the heart of the Norway of Peer Gynt. It was over the rugged heights of the Besseggen and the Besshö that the central figure of Ibsen’s verse and Grieg’s immortal music roamed. Here among the peasant villages that huddle beneath the mountains he rioted and drank and danced and made love.
The gentle sound of every little stream seems to hold the soft music of Solveig’s Song. The moaning of the waterfalls as they force their way between the river rocks holds all the splendid tragedy of Ase’s Death.
The ships of the Norwegian hurtigruten, the fast passenger-mail-cargo steamers that ply along the enormous twisting length of Norway’s coast, from Bergen to Kirkenes, cover one of the most dramatic sea-routes of the world.
In summer their way lies through waters which the Midnight Sun keeps in perpetual daylight. In winter they plough their way, with the ice clinging to their rope-work and rails, beneath skies lit with the uncanny green flashing of the Northern Lights.
The journey takes a week, and in making it you travel five hundred miles beyond the Arctic Circle and steam round the gable-tip of Europe, where the black granite snouts of the North Cape and Cape Nordkyn stab sullenly out into the cold grey swell of the Barentz Sea.
The ship’s final anchorage at the town of Kirkenes is in the innermost recess of a fjord which is only separated from the immensity of Russia by eight miles of Norwegian soil and a thin, straggling strip of Finland.
Press work took me to those parts in the depth of winter. There was a big birchwood fire burning in the open peis of the living-room in the villa in Bergen where I was spending a few hours before the hurtigruten left in the evening. Outside the streets were deep in snow. There were about seven degrees of frost (Celsius) registered by the little thermometer fixed outside the window of double glass. A sleigh went by laden with barrels of beer, chased by two urchins on skis who were racing to catch up and get a tow. A cold scene, with the memory of a mild February day in London only 28 hours old.
But it was nothing, I knew, to what lay ahead. Up in Kirkenes, the paper recorded, the temperature was −43°; and in the streets of Vardö, one of the most northerly towns of Norway, an old woman had been found frozen dead in an outhouse.
At eight o’clock that night the Irma slid out of Bergen and turned north through the intricate channels between the islands on the first stage of her long journey to the Polar rim.
Ålesund was reached next morning, the town from which comes nine-tenths of the dried fish you see for sale in the shops and markets of the Mediterranean towns. Then Molde, which Björnson loved; and Trondheim, where Saint Olaf sleeps beneath the altar of the great cathedral. And on the fourth morning out from Bergen the Irma slewed to the little wooden jetty of Indre Kvaröy, a desolate small settlement of a few fishermen’s houses, that lies almost exactly on the Arctic Circle.
I went ashore there. Though the influence of the Gulf Stream keeps the sea free of ice even to the North Cape, the water piles up into frozen blue masses once it strikes the cold rocks of the shore. Here at Indre Kvaröy the sea edge was sculptured in ice waves, and an utter stillness hung over the little world of this small island that is a milestone of the world’s curvature.
A white sea-eagle hovered in the leaden sky. Some eider duck floated motionless in the bitter cold sound. Over the snow, through which a few stunted Arctic ash pushed their short stems and cretinous branches, three gaunt hoody crows flapped with a kind of witch-like sinisterness.
But one of the wooden houses huddled round the jetty had a weather-whipped sign above its door on which the word Kaffistova could be faintly traced where the Arctic winds had left a few touches of paint unflayed.
It was good to sit inside by the iron stove with a mug of steaming coffee and listen to the small-talk of the place.
“Nei, for oss heroppe vinteren er ikke god,” an old fellow admitted. But hard though the winter was, they were not being so cruelly put to it in Indre Kvaröy as folk were in some of the remoter islands. There were places he knew of where people were scraping the birch bark off their dwindling stocks of firewood in order to boil it into something resembling soup.
“Have the storms been bad? Have there been many wrecks?” I asked. And he nudged me with his boot as the girl brought some coffee to someone at the next table.
She was a pretty girl, plumpish, with a fair, smooth skin and calm blue eyes. She had the serenity of all peasants. And something more than serenity, I sensed, as I watched her. She smiled quietly at some sally the young man she was serving made, and then I saw the look of ineffable sadness in her eyes. When she moved away again my informant spoke.
“Wrecks?” he said softly … “Ragnhild there—she comes from Melöy, farther north—lost her lover and father and brother in November. They went out to fish towards Lofoten and never came back.”
That night we crossed the sixty-miles wide Vestfjord, which lies between the mainland of Norway and the lonely archipelago of the Lofoten Islands. The Northern Lights were brilliant. In huge green and yellow and purple sweeps, in vast folds of colour like a great curtain hanging from the sky, in jagged clumps of a million bright spear-points, they moved across the clear, starry heavens.
Here and there the red and green navigation lights of fishing craft pricked the darkness as the little boats chugged across to Lofoten, that Eldorado of the winter cod fisheries—that may bring fortune or may bring death.
After leaving Svolvaer, the bleak little capital of the Lofoten Islands, the steamers of the hurtigruten wind their way along the shores of Finmark, the province of the Lapps, to Hammerfest. A few miles beyond that city, the most northerly in the world, tree life ceases. This is the latitude of Alaska, and the last tree of Europe is a gallant dwarf birch that has fixed its wiry roots in a rock crevice.
This desolate coast of northernmost Norway has a fierce, terrible beauty. Inland, the snows undulate endlessly. Seawards, the “ice-smoke” hovers in a mist over the waters that spread unbrokenly to Spitzbergen and the polar ice barrier.
But even here there are towns on the edge of the Arctic vacuum. Vardö, to which the winds slash straight from Siberia, has its communal cinema and the Hotel Nordpol, most suitably named. At Vadsö, reindeer sleighs are driven down to the quay to collect the mails and take passengers to hamlets further inland; and the local lasses wear long Lapp boots over their silk stockings.
And at Kirkenes, the ultimate town of Norway, you can have a meal to the accompaniment of radio music from the cafés of Oslo, 1,200 miles away; and then go outside and be within earshot of a wolf howling out in the snowy wilderness beneath the Pole Star.
In Norway skis have formed the normal winter method of foot transport from the earliest Viking times. Ski-jumping and the finesses of the various turns and forms of racing have developed into their present-day highly technical sports aspect from beginnings of ordinary winter necessity. In Norway people ski because they have to in order to get from one place to another in winter, and from this sternly utilitarian origin ski-craft has grown as a sport with all the more vigour.
Norwegian winter sports begin in December and continue well into May. Easter (Paaske) is the great national ski holiday, when everybody makes an exodus to the mountains to enjoy themselves in the snow and the brilliant spring sunshine. At the end of March the strong northern sun is giving fifteen hours of daylight, which has increased to twenty hours by the beginning of May.
Though ski-ing can be had anywhere in the country in winter, there are two main areas in which hotels and accommodation in mountain huts and hospices are notably good. These are the mountain resorts along the Bergen-Oslo Railway; and those along the Dovre Railway, which leads northward through Norway to Trondheim. Both of these regions are easily accessible from England.
On either side of Finse, the highest station on the Bergen-Oslo Railway (4,000 feet), there is a string of winter sports centres along the line; Myrdal, Haugastöl, Geilo, Ustaoset, and so on. They stand upon the very edge of the vast snowfields, surrounded by the gleaming mountain tops.
Foremost among these snowfields is the Hardangervidda, a vast waste where the undulating sweeps of snow extend for long distances in every direction, from far above the tree-line down to the forest fringe. Tracks through the forests bring the ski-er to the valley villages.
The höifjell (mountain) stations on the Dovre line bring one into contact with the Dovrefjell range, the great central mountain mass of Norway. Here, Hjerkinn, Opdal, Dombas and Fokstua are popular centres. But every place in Norway, from country village to busy town, is in effect a winter sports centre while the snow lies. One cannot go far wrong.
Unlike the jagged, precipitous Alps, the mountains of Norway are humped and undulating. Their formation provides ideal ski terrain, and long trips may be undertaken in safety, lasting for a fortnight or longer. This journeying from one hut or mountain hotel or hospice to another is a wonderful way of getting close to the winter life of the country. Routes are carefully marked with stone beacons, and a winter stay at a Norwegian country inn is one of those satisfying experiences that one remembers through life. Big fires of birchwood burn in the open stone hearths. There is a warmth and homely friendliness about everything that no other type of winter sports holiday can give.
For skating, all the larger winter centres have natural ice rinks; and the speed and figure skating events at Oslo, Trondheim, Lillehammer and Kongsberg draw the world’s finest skaters.
The national ski-jumping competitions take place at Holmenkollen, just outside Oslo, in February. Oslo, indeed, is quite a good winter sports centre in itself. One can quickly get out of the city to the forest-covered hills where there are many good ski routes. Oslo also has a famous toboggan run, “The Corkscrew,” which starts high above the city on the forest edge and does not end until the first suburban tramlines come into sight.
The classic salmon and sea trout rivers are nearly all private property, and the rents charged for a length of bank are substantial. But for 25 kroner the foreigner in Norway can obtain a fiskekort (from the tackle shops or through the tourist bureaux) which gives him permission to fish anywhere over the State lands. And where a hotel owns a stretch of river or lake, as so many of them do, guests can, of course, fish without further charge.
There are trout in every Norwegian river and lake. Not always very large, but they give the angler any amount of sport. The wet fly is used, or spinning from a rowed boat; and it is not considered undignified to use a worm, if you can better get your fish that way. The average weight of the trout in southern Norway, where the rivers and lakes are fairly heavily fished, does not run much above half a pound. Bigger fish are there, naturally, and the lucky anglers get them now and again. But on the whole the Norwegian lowland trout is smaller than his English or Scottish relative.
There are still desolate tracts of the country where the waters are almost virgin from the fishing point of view. But one must trek and rough it a bit to reach them. Once there, however, fish of four or five pounds almost hook themselves on the fly. July is the best fishing month in southern Norway.
For detailed information about fishing in Norway it is best to apply to the Norwegian State Railways office, in London; or to an organisation like Bennett’s Bureau, in Oslo.
Norwegian wild game ranges from the hare and the willow-grouse to the elk, the reindeer and the bear. The bear is gradually diminishing to extinction, though he still sometimes emerges for a raid on farmstock. But for the most part he is a harmless and friendly vegetarian.
The elk, the largest game animal in Europe, is still numerous in Norway. The provinces of Telemark, Opland and Buskerud in the south, and the country around Trondheim further north are famous elk regions. Shooting rights are privately owned, or in the hands of the State, entitling the owner or his lessee to kill a certain number of elk in relation to the area of the shoot.
For reindeer one must go to the wide highland plateaux, such as the Hardangervidda or the uplands of Ryfylke province. The reindeer roam in herds, always keeping above the tree-limit, and always travelling against the wind.
Elk are hunted with hounds—two methods being employed. In the “loosehound” form of hunting the dog is put on a fresh spoor. When it comes up with the elk it holds it at bay, giving tongue, until the hunter gets near enough for a shot.
The “leashound” method is used in the more open forests, and the dog is used for tracking only, and kept on the leash all the time. Reindeer are hunted by ordinary stalking.
The rype, or willow-grouse, is prevalent over all the moorlands of Norway, where he frequents the stunted willows and dwarf birches on the moss-covered heights. Shooting is mainly done over a pointer.
The biggest of the Norwegian game birds is the capercailzie, which keeps to the fir and pine forests, though early in the season it sometimes makes an appearance for a few weeks above the tree-limit.
In the spring the wild geese come back from their winter migration in the south. Sportsmen intercept them as they wing in from the sea, and later in the year they provide shooting along the northern rivers and marshes of the country.
Everywhere in Norway the hunter has to work for his sport. There is no waiting smugly in a butt for driven game to fly within easy range over one’s head. The quarry must be hunted in the best sense of the word, and the hunt takes on all the greater zest because of it.
Forms of Address: Herr; Fru; Fröken—Mr.; Mrs.; Miss. Every man is Herr in Norway. There are no titles. The sane democracy of the country abolished them in 1905. A man’s profession, however, is linked with his name—so that he is addressed formally as Herr Professor Jensen, or Herr Ingeniör Carlsen.
Greetings: God dag throughout the day, until the evening, when god aften and, later, god nat come into use. After a meal the host and hostess, or one’s companion if one is dining with a friend in a restaurant, are thanked with the words takk for maten—“Thank you for the food”—a graceful custom. Another pleasing courtesy is the expression takk for sist, which is used when meeting someone you have met before and not seen for some time. The words convey “Thank you for the pleasure your company gave me when we last met.”
Coinage: 100 öre = 1 kroner. The kroner can be reckoned as a shilling. Actually it gives a rate of exchange at present worth about twenty-two shillings to the pound.
Hotels: The hotels of the cities and larger towns are of the normal international standard. In the country districts accommodation is simpler. But everywhere food is good, the welcome genuine and everything spotlessly clean. Accommodation can also be obtained in farmhouses—a delightful form of holiday. Norwegian country hotels have inherited good old traditions of hospitality from their former days as posting-stations along the routes.
Language: Norwegian is not a difficult language to learn. The grammar is straightforward and has very few irregularities. There is a kinship both with English and with German. But English is the second language of Norway, and is widely understood and spoken all over the country. The English traveller feels more at home in Norway than in any other country of Europe. Home and social life are almost identical with the English counterpart. And there is a most wholesome absence of class snobbery. The classes are much more on a level than in Great Britain, and the uniform education in force throughout the country makes for a much fuller intercourse between people.
Quite apart from the fact that the present rate of the Norwegian kroner exchange gives about twenty-two shillings to the pound, living in Norway is considerably cheaper than in England. There are not so many unnecessary frills to life in Norway as there are in England; salaries are lower, tastes simpler. But all the comfort is there, just the same.
The tariffs at the big Oslo hotels range from eight kroner to twelve kroner a day for a single room; at the lesser hotels, which are just as comfortable, the price is from four to six kroner. In the country districts en pension terms can be had from five kroner to ten kroner a day; and farmhouse accommodation is often obtainable at about four kroner a day. The tipping system is everywhere ten per cent. added to the bill by the management. A good middag is obtainable in any restaurant for about two kroner; and general living expenses at a good but not de luxe hotel need not exceed ten to twelve kroner a day.
There are many attractive fjord-side bathing beaches within easy distance of Oslo. Ingierstrand can be reached in forty-five minutes by steamer, or in twenty minutes by motor-bus. Bygdönes beach is only ten minutes from the centre of the city; and there are other popular bathing centres at Hukodden, Paradisbukten and Hvalstrand. Swimming events, racing, diving, etc., are continually taking place at these places, and also in the big swimming stadium in the fjord near the harbour.
Trotting races take place periodically at the tracks in Oslo, Bergen and the leading cities; and the Bislet Stadium in Oslo is the scene of many important national and international athletic meetings. Football and tennis are also played throughout the summer.
|6th||Oslo Day; historical processions, folk dancing.|
|14th||Yachting Regatta, Bergen.|
|18th||Football Match, Norway v. Switzerland, Oslo.|
|19th||Automobile Races. Reliability Trial, starting from Oslo.|
|23rd||St. Han’s Eve (Midsummer Eve). Celebrated all over the country with bonfires on the hill-tops, national dances and folk festivals.|
|26th-29th||Yachting. Royal Norwegian Yacht Club’s national regatta at Hankö, in the Oslo Fjord.|
|4th||Rowing. Norwegian Championships, at Horten, Oslo Fjord.|
|13th||International Scout Jamboree, at Jelöy, near Moss, Oslo Fjord.|
|29th||St. Olav’s Day. “Olsok” festivals throughout the country, especially at Maihaugen, near Lillehammer, and in Trondheim.|
|2nd||Trotting Races at Bergen.|
|5th(about)||International Congress of Archeologists, Oslo.|
|20th||Tennis. Norwegian Championships, Oslo.|
|23rd||International Motor Boat Races in the Oslo Fjord.|
|6th||Football. Norway v. Finland, Oslo.|
|13th||Canoeing Race from Oslo to Dröbak, down the Oslo Fjord.|
|20th||Football. Norway v. Denmark, Oslo.|
|All the month.||The 53rd Exhibition of Norwegian Art, under State auspices, Oslo.|
|10th||Automobile Race. Reliability Night Trials, Oslo.|
|12th||Lapp Market at Skibotten, North Norway.|
|13th||Centenary Celebrations, Oslo Art Society.|
|2nd||Lapp Market, Bossekop, North Norway.|
Oslo: Grand, Bristol, Continental, Hospitset, Savoy, Belvedere. Among the hills outside the city: Fossheim, Holmenkollen, Sanatorium, Midstuen Sanatorium, Vetakollen Turisthotel, Sollihögda Hotel.
Bergen: Norge, Bristol, Grand, Hospitset, Terminus.
Stavanger: Victoria, Grand, Sola, Strand-Hotel.
Trondheim: Britannia, Phönix, Angleterre.
Hardanger Fjord: at Norheimsund, Hotel Sandven; at Ulvik, Hotel Brakanes, Hotel Vestrheim; at Odda, Grand Hotel, Hardanger Hotel.
Sogne Fjord: at Vadheim, Hotel Vadheim; at Balholm, Kvikne’s Hotel, Kvammes Hotel; at Gudvangen, Vikingvang Hotel; at Laerdal, Lindströms Hotel; at Flåm, Fretheim Hotel.
Along the Bergen Railway (mountain hotels): at Myrdal, Vatnahalsen Hotel; at Geilo, Geilo Hotel, Breidablik Hotel; at Finse, Finse Hotel; at Haugastöl, Haugastöl Hotel; at Ustaoset, Ustaoset Hotel; at Voss, Fleischer’s Hotel.
Along the Oslo-Trondheim Railway: at Lillehammer, Victoria Hotel, Breiseth Hotel, Lillehammer Turisthotel, Grand Hotel, Nordseter Turisthotel, Langseth Hotel; at Dombås, Dombås Turisthotel; at Hjerkinn, Hjerkinn Hotel; at Opdal, Opdal Turisthotel.
Molde: Alexandra Hotel.