Saturday, 25 April 2015

The Valley of Roses

One of the first sentences students of the Latin language learned many years ago was “Agricola rosam aspergit”, the peasant waters the rose. Knowing now that roses seem to need water, we are not overly surprised at the weather that awaits us in Rosendalen, the valley of roses, beautifully nestled in the southern Hardanger Fjord - it’s raining cats and dogs.
But who really cares? Certainly not the 120 brave guests who are headed for one of the instructive and beautiful excursions today. The longer trip went into the Folgefonna National Park to the Bondhus glacier a very pretty scion of the much larger Folgefonna glacier. The adjacent lake is picturesque and the walk in the area is stunningly beautiful.
For those who rather stick to the place Rosendal itself there is a unique project to be visited: The restauration of the ship Gurine, a sailing yacht from the late 19th century, that was mainly used for hunting purposes in the west ice.
For many years the wreckage lay dilapidated in the small town port, until the idea was born to get it going again. Now the whole village is spending lots of volunteer hours in the shipyard to make it happen, to get Gurine pretty again. And sure the pride makes them explain everything to our happy guests.
Rosendal has quite a few things to offer: Very famous is the Baronie, a manor that was built on a piece of land given as dowry from the richest landowner at the time. So splendid was the manor that it got the title of Barony, the only one in Norway.
Not far away is the old saw mill. Like in the olden days the town folks use the river to drive the mighty saw blades; and it is still fully operational, cutting floor boards and firewood on demand.
You don’t have to like rocks to fall in love with the Stone Garden of Rosendal; with great care and even greater artistic skills the sculptors created a unique resort with the most wonderful colors and shapes, all from the various rocks of the surroundings.
In the afternoon we go deeper into Hardangerfjord, and then it is time to turn and head for the longest fjord of them all, Sognefjord. 
On the way, just passing the city of Bergen, the weather clears up, and the first rays of sun hit the surface of the ocean. A bit ironic,though, as Bergen has a reputation of being one of the rainiest cities in the world…
But where there’s sun,there’s hope. So tomorrow will be a dry and beautiful day!