Touring Norway's Southern Coast...

IMG_3125.JPG

One of the things I love about houses in Norway is the extra detail they put into finishing touches like window trim. Isn't this window just so charming? Upon leaving Oslo, we headed south in our rental car and stayed in a charming air bnb near Porsgrund.

IMG_3124.JPG

When we awoke the next morning, we headed out to take a tour of the Porsgrund china factory. You've probably all seen the infamous lovely blue and white china pattern made by Porsgrund, right? This "Straw" pattern is just one of the many beautiful patterns they produce.

Porsgrund china.jpg

Arriving a little early for the tour, we were thrilled to find a second hand store next door, that also functioned as an auction house. The proprietor met us at the door and welcomed us in. The entry of the building was stacked with Norwegian dishes, pewter "tinn", glassware, painted rosemaling pieces, old silver...many treasures! He said we could fill a bag with whatever we wanted for the price of 10 kroner a bag...such a score! The only thing that held me back was thinking about how to get these treasures home...my suitcase was fairly heavy already. My cousin's family had more room since Lyle packed light so his wife Lois picked up a couple bags of things!

The factory tour was so interesting...nothing like one would expect a factory to look like. There was no mass production going on with machinery cranking out dishes. Each piece is hand poured, hand dipped, fired in a kiln, then hand trimmed, hand painted, glazed, and fired in the kiln again. So time consuming, yet such a beautiful outcome! 

 The hand dipping process...

The hand dipping process...

 The dishes drying...

The dishes drying...

 An artisan hand pouring each vase into molds, then trimming them...

An artisan hand pouring each vase into molds, then trimming them...

 One of the china painters...

One of the china painters...

 This artist had been painting Porsgrund dishes for over 30 years...

This artist had been painting Porsgrund dishes for over 30 years...

 The finished plates...

The finished plates...

 The Porsgrund logo found on the bottom of authentic dishes...

The Porsgrund logo found on the bottom of authentic dishes...

Once we finished the tour, we shopped at a lovely factory store that carried many of the patterns they create! I loved walking through it and admiring all the pretty patterns. Again, the lack of room in my suitcase held me back...sigh. 

On the road again, we stopped in a lovely seaside town named Kragero for lunch. 

IMG_3142.JPG
IMG_3145.JPG
IMG_3147.JPG
IMG_3148.JPG
IMG_3154.JPG
 The lovely Rachel...

The lovely Rachel...

We stopped in at a local "Husflid", which means rural craft or home made. A local group of women were meeting to knit together that day. The shop had lovely hand knit items for sale so I bought a lovely pair of ski socks and Lois brought home a beautiful red reindeer sweater. We enjoyed meeting the women...one had even been to Seattle! 

IMG_3156.JPG

Back on the road, we stopped briefly in Arendal, then continued on to Kristiansand, another beautiful city on the water. 

IMG_3161.JPG
IMG_3159.JPG

Having read a good review of a restaurant down near the fish market at the waterfront, we made our way there.

IMG_3164.JPG
IMG_3163.JPG

Our restaurant, Pieder Ro, in Kristiansand...

IMG_3165.JPG

Our view during dinner...

IMG_3167.JPG

My delicious salmon door...so artfully plated.

IMG_3168.JPG

The drive along the southern coast of Norway is magical...scenic water views all along the way. The roads are in amazingly good shape, considering the the ice and cold in the wintertime. Our rental car had a GPS that functioned well so all we had to do was put in the address of our next stop and Lois (our trusted driver) and Rachel (our trusted navigator) got us where we wanted to go! 

I hope you enjoy these sights of beautiful Norway and feel inspired to journey there yourself. I'll be back soon with another day of our trip...truly a glorious adventure! Sees snart (see you soon), Gracia