Norway Part IV

We docked at Trondheim at 6:30 a.m. for a three and a half hour stop. Paul and I waited for my niece’s son, who is studying at the University of Trondheim to appear; even at this early hour we were hoping for an insider’s view of the city, but there was a miscommunication of some sort, so we regretfully took off on our own.

Our guidebook book had told us about the storehouses of Bryggene that stand on piles and can be seen best from Nedre Bakklandet. As the book said, their site, shapes and colors were fascinating, perfect for a good photo.

My sister Randi had said, “You must see the Niardos Cathedral when you are in Trondheim.”

It wasn’t too hard to find because the city is clearly laid out and the Cathedral has a high crossing tower that can be can be seen from far away. Our guidebook said it is “the most representative Scandinavian architectural monument in the Gothic style.” The intricately sculptured west front has patriarchs, the apostles, prophets, kings, archbishops, saints, virtues (charity hope, faith), the Virgin Mary and other representations not mentioned.

As Paul and I were on foot and we had to get back to our ship in time–they tell you the ship simply sails without you if you’re not there–we never saw the Cathedral from the inside. (I still grimace at that missed opportunity…those beautiful stained glass windows!)

That night, our last night, we dined with our Austrian dinner companions, Bridget and Hilda, while the waiters and waitresses lit torches spewing sparks that seemed ALMOST DANGEROUS and marched around the tables creating a festive air.

It made me think of a story Mom had told me of when she was about ten years old. Here is the story:

My grandparents were taking the “Christmas Boat” from Kristiansand to Oslo in celebration of many years of marriage. (Not sure how many.) In the dining room, a tree was lit with real candles, just like they always did in Norway in the old days. Mom was giddy with the grown-up festive atmosphere, the good food, her parents’ jovial mood (my grandfather was either taciturn, or for special occasions, jovial), but her eyes were riveted to the fire of the candlewicks sensing DANGER.

All at once, she noticed the tree had caught fire. “Brann, brann, brann!” my ten year-old mother shouted out to the boozy holiday crowd. Finally, the grown-ups took notice and there was a rush to drown it out. My mother was proudly the Christmas child savior of the day.

I’ll leave you there on the coastal voyage. There was more…much more, including some nasties like Paul catching a terrible cold, but after a while these things probably begin to sound like a few too many slides no matter how artistic the photography and no matter how artful the raconteur.

However, I was gathering knowledge of my mother.