Our main purpose in coming here is to learn about the Arneson and Haggen ancestors. Ann’s mother’s birth name is Arneson, and her grandparents came from Norway (Arnesons and Solheims) and Sweden (Gustafsons). Ann’s dad’s father came from Haugesund Norway and changed his last name from Opheim to Haggen in the course of immigration. His mom came from Stavanger, and the story of how they met is really fun. After immigrating to the US, Hans Opheim Haggen moved to Wyoming. He became a Mormon (by joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and accepted a calling to go to Norway on a mission. Just as context – today’s Mormon missionaries are not permitted to date, become engaged, married or otherwise attached to people of the opposite gender during their missions. Back in the first decades of the 1900s, when Hans served his mission to Norway, he was specifically instructed, besides teaching the gospel, to “bring home a wife”. I guess the church leaders were interested in building up the population. Hans followed those instructions to the “T”. While he was serving in Stavanger, he often wrote in his journal for several days in a row: “Went to Torgersons for dinner”. This presaged the eventual outcome. Nellie had been engaged to someone else, but Hans’ charm was too much, so she decided that she was fated to become the matriarch of a wonderful family of eight children in Lovell, Wyoming.
|June 2015 Norway Trip|
|Click on the date to see the post|
Our first day was spent getting set up and walking around Oslo. It was rainy, but we had been forewarned, so we had our raincoats and umbrellas. Our first stop, after meeting our host and moving into our room, was the Gustav Vigeland sculpture park. His sculptures are of real people and animals, and of mythical creatures as well. His work is beautiful and evocative, and outside the park we saw many of his scultures, and many influenced by his style.
We walked from our Bed and Breakfast to Vigeland Sculpture Park, then to the Palace Park, then down to the wharf for dinner. The BnB (Mona Hoel was our host) is the red diamond and three purple arrows mark the places we visited. We’ll attach pictures and videos below.
The housing is similar to what we have seen in other European cities: High-density modern flats in the city in historic buildings. To get around, we saw lots of walkers wherever we went. There were also many bicyclers and public bicycles are conveniently distributed throughout the city. We have always thought that Minnesota’s bike trails are great, but, truth be told, the Norwegians are twice as good about setting aside good trails for bicycling and walking. There are bike lanes on many or most roads in the city and throughout the countryside as well. Much more common than in Minnesota. We are planning to rent bicycles during the latter part of our trip to tour a fjord.
Besides the wonderful people we met, we observed that there are a lot of electric cars – including Teslas. Public transport is also well developed, with trams, trains, busses and many alternative fuel vehicles. We saw busses of all sizes and we will take advantage of them once we get to Bergen.
Unlike Brussels, Belgium where parking was very difficult and often expensive, we parked near the BnB for free. Walking along the street we decided to take a picture with one of the locals.
Down at the wharf, there was a guy (well a statue) walking on stilts toward the boats.
Ann learned to eat fish before we came over here. It wasn’t one of her notable skills when we were first married. For dinner we had Scallops and Halibut, pickled beets, asparagus and a lovely bread. It was wonderful and a fitting cap to our first day in Norway. There were places we stood where everything we saw came straight out of the past.
We slept enough on the flights to make it a full day before crashing, but when we went to bed just before 10:00 PM, we dropped off immediately and didn’t wake up until the alarm went off in the morning.