Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Norway - sympathy, memories, and Monet

This post goes out with deepest sympathy and grief for the country and people of Norway. I was there once years ago. My husband and I took the Hurtigruten, one in a fleet of small ships that travels up and down the coastline delivering passengers and mail. We went from Bergen to the limits of Nord Norge at the Russian border, and back again, a voyage of more than a week. I'll never forget the excitement of that trip, passing the Arctic Circle early on, adding layers as we went north, standing transfixed by the astounding scenery of water, mountains, glaciers, and coast - and with blessedly fine weather though it was April and still deep winter in much of Norway. We were in and out of small and large harbors, day and night, constantly marking new superlatives - the northern most Gothic cathderal (Trondheim), the northernmost deciduous forest, etc. Sea eagles flew over our heads, dolphins jumped around the prow, gorgeous King Eider ducks thronged the waters. It is a most beautiful country with an envied history of peace and cooperation among their people. The events of last week are still - will always be - hard to believe. Claude Monet also went to Norway once. He liked to paint snow scenes so he too went North in winter (1885) - though went he got there he found a bit more snow than he'd anticipated - and apparently deplored his own lack of success with skiing. With sympathy and respect, and in the middle of a summer heat wave around here, here are a few of Monet's cool views of the great country of Norway.