Some days are simply quiet – Eidfjord, Norway, along the Hardangerfjord (Aug. 4)

A country road, some grazing sheep, a cascading waterfall, just another marvelous day in Norway.

A quiet contentment can come from not doing very much at all. I could have gone sea kayaking again…this fjord is even more dramatic and the town small and quaint. I could have taken a bus in search of waffles and waterfalls with Mom and Dad. Instead, I wandered and strolled, spending a peaceful hour among the crosses and stones in a churchyard and looking up and up from green meadows to the glory of the nearly vertical mountains, which cradle the town on all sides.

Tiny windows, along with 5-foot thick stone walls, helped keep Eidfjord’s Old Church warm during cold winters. This Lutheran church was built around 1309 A.D.
The church interior peeking through an iron grill. The simple birch pews must have kept everyone awake.

Across the road from the church was the shop of a woodworker, who has a display of Hardanger fiddles, or hardingfele, the national instrument of Norway. Decorated with intricate black pen and ink drawings and inlaid mother of pearl (the best is from Russia), they are unique in possessing a total of nine strings, five of which echo the notes of the main strings. Photographs weren’t allowed, but take a moment to search for a photo of one of these intricate 17th century instruments. Our next stop will be the Netherlands, where NFCT thru-paddler Valerie and Geoff Welch are kindly taking me paddling among the postcard streets of Delft.