On to Sogndal and Kaupanger

Thanks go to Guri and Kjell Olav Høstaker Nordheim and their son Mikal for my latest Norwegian adventure! I have arrived in Sogndal, a municipality on the northern shore of the Sognefjorden.


My what a beautiful place this is. The Sogndalsfjord looks so peaceful. Are those snow-capped mountains in the background?

Kaupanger is an old Viking settlement in Sogndal. My ancestors lived on a farm there not too far from the fjord. The name Kaupanger literally means “buy harbor” and is an old Norse term for a trading or market place. My grandmother Cele used to tell a story about a Viking ancestor of ours who brought home a young French maiden from a raid and married her. My recent DNA test from Ancestry.com shows that 4% of my ancestry can be traced to Iberia. Perhaps the story could be true!  I wonder if any of my relatives living in Norway have ever heard such a thing!


Here I am looking down on Gunvordalen where Guri has her cabin. This is in Sogndalsdalen, where Guri’s sister-in-law also has her summerfarm. Winter is coming. Some of the trees are already turning.


Ouside at the cabin toilet. Do not go in there after I’ve used it!


This is the portal to the Sogndal folkmuseum, “De Heibergske Samlinger”, in Kaupanger. Yes, I am in the picture.


An old wooden beer mug at the museum. Can you imagine the toasts that were made with this mug?  SKOL!


The Hauståker farm pictured here is just north of Sognefjorden. What a view I have! Records show that there were two farmsteads here in the past with two separate family units living on the farm at any given time.


Guri’s husband, Kjell Olav, is the vicar of the Kaupanger Stavkirke (stave church). This church is believed to have been built in the 12th century! There are some Hostager’s buried in the cemetery here. I wonder if there are any grave markers in Norway for Hostagers who lived from the 1600s through the 1800s? Perhaps they have all been lost to time and weather.


View from the inside the Kaupanger Stavkirke



Guri tells me that Ida was one of her grandfather’s (Tomas) sister and that she was a beautiful and warm person. Note the different spelling of the family name on the gravestone behind. There are several variations of our surname. In America our name is Hostager. A few early immigrants to America used Hostaker. According to the book “Norske Gaardnavne” by Oluf Rygh, our name transates to “autumn fields” or “fields that ripen late in the harvest”.


Looking down at the Kaupanger hovedgård from the cemetery.


Looking at the Hauståker farm while I pee in the woods!


One last view of Kaupanger and the Songefjorden

This is such an amazing view! I can imagine my ancestors walking a path down to the fjord and into the heart of Kaupanger. Perhaps they went to buy or sell goods in the market, to worship at the Stavkirke, or just to visit with friends or other townspeople.

Rumor has it, I am on my way to Oslo. Visiting my ancestral homeland has been exciting, but I do want to see the rest of Norway as well!