One of the delights of traveling to the homeland of your grandparents is meeting relatives you never knew for the first time. One of my cousin's did some research a while ago and made connections with several relatives of my grandmother, Signe (Fritsvold) Stenberg, who are living in Skarnes, near the farm where Grandma grew up.
As I mentioned in my last post, Norwegians are known for their gracious hospitality and we were certainly the recipients of that. After meeting Kjell and Liv at dinner on our first night in Skarnes, they invited us over for lunch the next day. Their home, a traditional Norwegian farmhouse, was located just down the road from Sanngrund on lovely Fritsvold farm land.
Upon arriving at their home, the first thing we saw and toured was the charming stabbur, a building originally designed to store food in a protected place.
The inside decor was so typically Norwegian, with a pine table and trestle benches, Norwegian needlework, and old farming and kitchen implements.
After exiting the stabbur, we were invited into the beautiful farmhouse.
Upon entering, I immediately fell in love with this bench seat. Isn't this knotty pine entry just lovely?
Across from the door was this charming open cupboard, filled with old Norwegian silver spoons and embroidered pieces of linens.
This was the fireplace in the living room. Somehow I didn't get a photo of the whole room, but this is a taste of it anyway.
Love the color of this piece!
A lovely hand carved grandfather clock was just off the hall.
Upon entering the kitchen we were so touched to see this lovely table set for our lunch!
A cookstove in the kitchen that is still used.
The delicious smorgasbord awaiting us, with fresh baked bread, yummy salads, meats and cheeses, and trollkrem or troll cream for desert, a delectably light concoction made with whipped egg whites and ligonberries.
Just down the hall was the bathroom. Most bathrooms in Norway are different than American ones, with shower stalls that are often a free standing unit.
A view of an antique mirror/table and lovely pine paneled doors.
Remember that church you saw peeking through the trees earlier in this post? That is my grandmother's church, Strom Kirke, where she was baptized and confirmed. I cannot adequately describe what it was like to enter her church that day, knowing she and her family would row across the Glomma river on a raft or boat to attend each Sunday. I just felt such a strong connection to her somehow.
My grandmother, Signe, loved to sing...often singing as she worked around the house. What a thrill to be able to sing with my cousin, Lyle, and his wife, Lois, a trio arrangement of "Beautiful Savior" and "My Jesus, I Love Thee." I think Grammie would have loved it!
We stepped outside in the drizzle to visit several "Fritsvold" grave sites, with many so beautifully cared for.
A couple more views of Strom Kirke....
A photo of our lovely hosts, Liv and Kjell, and another Norwegian cousin, Bjorn, and the rest of us.
For anyone reading this post who has to mow a lawn, this is photo of Kjell's robotic lawn mover! Wouldn't this be fun to own!
We had such a lovely time visiting with our newly found relatives and also local acquaintances, a couple who call themselves historians, Svein Ove and Inger-Lise Svendsen, who presented us with a wonderful genealogical reference of all our Fritsvold relatives in Norway. To be able to see and experience a little taste of life in my grandmother's home town is a memory I will always treasure!
I'll be back soon with posts of another leg of our trip to Norway and more houses to see. Thanks for coming along with us! Tusen takk! Gracia
P.S. This is my beautiful Grandma Signe, dearly loved and missed by all who knew her.