Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Karmøy is an island on the west coast of Norway, about halfway between Bergen and Stavanger. The final village at the end of the road on Karmøy is Skudeneshavn, a charming fairytale town and our destination.

Sunday evening Ingvill, May, and I checked into Norneshuset (the North Cape House), located right on the water in Gammel Skudeneshavn (Old Skudeneshavn). The house has several bedrooms, a kitchen and a common room. My room has a sink but the bathroom is down the hall. I don't mind one bit -- I got the room on the end of the house looking out at the water. Below is the view from my bedroom.

In the morning we walk about 10 minutes to the school. Truly an exceptional school, they won national recognition for their playground. Basketball, climbing walls, swinging rings, a rhythm section, gazebo, ping pong tables... the building is completely wrapped in a wonderland of kids playthings. The crown jewel is their tire jungle, a huge area made largely of tires for climbing and swinging on. I couldn't resist playing on it myself... I felt like a suburban Tarzan.

I observed demonstration teaching at the school, juggled for a few classes, and did my best to speak and understand Norwegian. I am starting to grasp complete sentences now, rather than just guessing at meaning from the few words I can pick out. After school May and Ingvill went running and I took myself on a walking tour.

I met the owner of Norneshuset outside and he told me of the town and how he came to live here after a lifetime of managing canneries from Bergen to Bodø and teaching food technology courses. He tells me many of the houses are summer homes, and the town will become quite busy next month but for now it is quite calm and quiet with few people in the streets. I took his advice and headed south along the harbor. The houses in this part are all several hundred years old; when remodeled they retain their original design. The narrow streets snake between these white buildings with red terracotta roofs, past coffee shops and art cafes, to a large park and a trail up the hill overlooking all of downtown. I am struck by the charm and beauty of this town, and find myself envious of those who own a summer home in this enchanted village.

When May and Ingvill return, we walk down the Coop Mega and buy groceries. We all work together to cook a lavish meal and enjoy it in the common room watching the sun set over the harbor as the fishermen return with their day's catch.

Leaving Tuesday I felt sad knowing it may be a long time before I see this town again. Some cities, like Barcelona, I've been pleased to have visited and happy to "check off the list" of places I've seen. But Skudeneshavn is special; there is no joy in checking this town off the list.

No comments:

Post a Comment