Hennes, Vesterålen

I am in Hennes.  Many Thanks to Einar Lundblad for taking the pictures in this post!


According to Wikipedia, “Hennes is a small village in the municipality of Hadsel in Nordland county, Norway. It is located just west of Kaljord along the Hadselfjorden on the island of Hinnøya, about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) east of Stokmarknes. The village is home to Innlandet Church, which serves the eastern part of the municipality.”

Nordlands Location in Norway:


Hennes’ location in Nordland:


Hennes appears to be in or near the Lofoton island chain. If you Google Lofoten, you will see some of the most beautiful pictures you have ever seen. I have never been to Norway, but Lofoten has always been on my list of Norweian places to visit!

Here is just one Lofoten picture taken from the internet:

Rorbuer Lofoten Islands, Norway

Living near the ocean like this must be exciting!



I downloaded this picture of Hennes from the internet. Just look at that mountain snow. I promise that if I ever get to Lofoten, I will drive to Hennes. Who knows, maybe I can say hello to Einar!



I am still here!

Well, I am still here in Norway, and I am still here in America! Its been a while since I’ve posted. The following picture was kindly sent by Torstein Valland.

“Here’s a picture of you above the amazing Puddefjorden, or “puddiken” as the locals call it. The tall building by the bridge is called Treet and is perhaps the tallest tree-building on earth. On the right side of the picture is Møhlenpris, a pretty gangster part of town. On the left is Gyldenpris, aka the shadow side, an even more gangster part.”


Møhlenpris and Gyldenpris are suburbs of Bergen. Occasionally, I peek at a few Norwegian webcams when I am bored to see what it looks like in Norway. The one in Bergen I follow is at: Webcamsinnorway: Bergen: Festplassen

The main Webcams in Norway website can be found at webcamsinnorway.com. The webcam map is a great tool. You can easily zoom in on different areas of Norway and select webcams.

The webcamsofnorway.com website is searchable, so you can find hundreds of places in Norway to view. Obviously some views are more interesting than others!

I apologize for the delay of this post. I’ve been in Africa for many weeks climbing Kilimanjaro with my son Joel and visiting a few partner congregations in the Iringa area.

As I have said before, I knew my Norway adventure was a big risk. People in Norway, in general, are a bit more reserved and taking photos of some stranger’s statue might not be an easy task for them!

I am thankful for every picture I receive!!


Hi Dean,

I got you to Bryggen, which is one of the most scenic places of Bergen. Old tree-buildings/houses, right in the heart of the city.

I wanted to have a picture with you and some tourists, but I quickly found out that people are a bit skeptical to unusual requests. I did get someone eventually, so you can see yourself with a guy from Japan. He and his girlfriend really liked the concept when they understood what it was for. She was a bit shy though, so I only got you there with the guy. Unfortunately, due to the sunlight I didn’t notice that there was such a big difference in the focus on you vs the Japanese guy.


I did get another shot with more of Bryggen in the background, however. You can see lots of people sitting outside enjoying a beer or three. Whenever the sun gets out, the people here rushes outside to enjoy the few sun rays that hit the city…


I have the case with the statue in my car now, so I will see if I can find other spots the next few days – or if I find a proper candidate I will hand you over to another person.

All the best,
Tor Johansen


What a brave soul we have here to stand by me! I only wish I could shake his hand, or at least take my hands out of my pockets for once!

I had to look up “husflid” and, apparently we are standing in front of a craft store. These rows of connected buildings seem typical of Bergen. The following is a picture that I have had as my computer screensaver for over a year. If I ever get to Norway, I really want to visit Bergen!


Bergen is, of course, on the Western side of Norway. I wonder if the ancestors of mine who emigrated to America had to first travel to Bergen and then depart on a ship to somewhere in the U.K.

I do understand that Americans are much more outgoing than Norwegians. That is actually a compliment to the people of Norway! But, I absolutely understand that my Norwegian adventure may be an uphill adventure. Perhaps I will have the most luck with younger Norwegians!

On My Way to Bergen!


Here is a picture of you traveling by ferry from Manheller (Kaupanger) to Fodnes (Laerdal). On your way to Bergen with my colleague Andreas Danbolt, one month ago.

Kjell Olav Nordheim


Thanks Kjell! I wish I could climb that mountain right now to play in the snow!

In less than two months, I will be traveling to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro with my son, Joel. There is still snow on top of Kilimanjaro, but the amount is decreasing every year. I climbed Kilimanjaro back in 2010. We’ll see if I can do it again now that I am older!

We also will visit two “partner” congregations in small rural villages in Tanzania. It is amazing and wonderful how different people and cultures can be. I can’t wait until I experience Norway in person!


God Jul og godt Nytt År!

Merry Christmas from Norway!

I was beginning to wonder if I would even be celebrating Christmas in Norway. What a beautiful Christmas tree! A typical American Christmas tree might be wider and denser, with many more lights and ornaments. But, I must say, I like this Christmas tree very much.

Americans sometimes lose sight of what is important during the Holidays. People are more important than overdoing trees, lights and presents.


Here I am watching television. I looked-up the word television and in Norwegian it is fjernsyn. “Fjern” seems to translate to “remote”, and “syn” translates to “sight” or “vision”.


I love a good mystery! After a bit of investigation, I think I am watching Sølvguttene (Boys of Silver?) sing “Deilig er Jorden”, from Missa in Nativitate Domini. Here is a link to the performance:

Deilig er Jorden


Celebrating New Years Eve with a sparkler. Is it me or do sparklers seem quite large in Norway?!  If my beard catches on fire I will be in trouble!

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!

I finally arrived in Norway!


Standing by the Jølstravatnet (Jølster Lake)

First of all, many thanks to Øyvind Høstaker for accepting my statue. Now I can begin my journey around Norway. I do not know how far I will travel since my statue is fragile and I will soon be at the mercy of strangers, but I am excited and hopeful for a long adventure!

My Norwegian ancesters lived on a farm just north of Kaupanger. Kaupanger is an old Viking trading town which lies near the end of the Sognefjorden, the longest fjord in Norway. Øyvind lives in Førde which seems to be about 30 km north of the Sognefjorden and a good distance west of Kaupanger. Førde is a town close to the kommune (municipality) of Jølster.


This sign reads, “In the middle of Sogn og Fjordane county, surrounding the appr. 30-km-long lake Jølstravatnet, you find the municipality of Jølster. It has an area of 671 square kilometers, of which 90 sq. km is glacier 43.5 sq. km fresh water, and a population of appr. 3000. At 1,827 meters above sea level, Snønipa is the highest mountain. Skei, the administrative center, is located on the eastern end of the lake. At the opposite end is Vassenden, the other main population centre. Centres in the regions of Nordfjord, Sogn og Sunfjord are within easy reach. Vassenden is a 20-minute drive from Førde, the distance from Skei is some 45 minutes. From Skei, driving times to Sandane and Sogndal are 40 minutes and one hour respectively.”


Waiting for the ferry


My kind of sightseeing, mmmmmm!


More Goodies!

I do not understand Norwegian, but with the help of Google Translate, I believe I am standing among folded pancakes. One kind has brown cheese inside while the other contains butter and sugar. I am very curious about the bacon-wrapped meat behind the svele. It looks delicious!


Above I am standing behind the name N. Astrup in a picture frame. Øyvind has left me a puzzle in this picture! After a little reasearch, I find that Nikolai Astrup (1880-1928) is a well-known Norwegian artist who grew up and lived in Jølster. Below is Nikolai’s easel inside his studio. It appears to be the inspiration for the easel in my picture.


Here I am at a bus stop. Notice how small I am. I am only 14 inches tall! I wonder where I will travel to next?



Enjoying a sunset at the end of my first day in Norway!