Sunday, 17 May 2015

Our Nasjonaldagen in Norway!

Our day in Olden was one of celebration. Locally known as Syttende Mai, the 17th of May marks the Norwegian Constitution Day and is the official national holiday. Fram arrived in the village of Olden in the morning to spend this special day with the locals. Before going ashore, our captain gathered us outside on the deck for a speech + toast and to sing the anthem.
We all made an effort to wear a nice outfit and some of us even wore the traditional Bunad like almost all of the inhabitants of Olden did. It was then time for a service in the old church of the village which many of our guests joined. The big happening of the morning was of course the parade. This is a tradition for the National Day and we were all invited to join the walk for which we had given everyone a little flag to wave with. It was a perfect way to mingle with the locals and get a taste of how this day is celebrated. Our walk was one to remember.
Smiling faces, cheering children, music and the perfect weather made for a celebration we will not forget. The parade came by the ship that by that time was proudly blowing its horn, which would resonate in the surrounding valleys for almost a minute. We ended the parade at the music pavilion in the "centre" of the village, where we had a few more speeches and took the time to sing more songs.
Most of us took the opportunity to visit the village and the area before going back on the ship. Our Expedition Team members Steffen and Tessa organised a breathtaking excursion entitled: Via Ferrata Loen. The excursion was more of a climb than a walk and offered participants views to remember for a lifetime. The somewhat challenging ascent to the 1010 meter top was described in our excursion Handbook as an "airy" experience. And airy it was.
The steep terrain and the 4 hours of climbing definitely put the fitness of our guests and staff to the test. Judging by their faces and stories once back, the effort was more than worth it. Their pictures speak for themselves. 

Our afternoon consisted of a series of lectures about glaciers, Vikings, and practical information regarding the next day(s). We also served traditional Norwegian dishes in the Observation Lounge for people to enjoy while admiring the scenery we were sailing through.
Karin (our Expedition Leader)´s Hardanger Embroidery group met again to make some progress on their project. They already started cutting out the blank spaces between the stitches, which is definitely one of the most concentration demanding parts of the class. However, this was not a problem as participants were very motivated by the embroidery art they got to see all day on the traditional outfits from the locals. 
To end this day filled with tradition, we organized a Norwegian Folkdance on deck 7 and many of the guests were happy to join. We all had a great time dancing together which was a perfect ending to our National Day in Norway.