1968: Norway – Day 11 – Rysstad – Byglandsfjord

The rain had eased off by morning thank goodness – we were very glad we were safely in a hut, listening to it pouring down yesterday evening. The by no means hot and dry, but sun was trying to shine. All slept well, all ate large breakfast, then packed up car and went into village. Crowds of women in traditional dress going to the church, very attractive. Dress of stiff black felt-like material, with bands of red and green around the hem, white blouses, red stockings, black shoes, red, green and black headdress. They were coming by bike in some cases, looking a bit strange. Did shopping at the supermarket – got various baby foods, disposable nappies, our lunch (cold meats and paté). Horrified at price of tomatoes – 6/- a lb roughly. Sold in ones and twos. Heilmelk [whole milk] for the milk. Visited the silversmiths and bought Muzz’s brooch – some enormous ones there to go with the traditional dress. Saw sheep with bells on, old heavy wooden haylofts with turf on roofs, washing hanging on high verandahs of Alpine style houses. Much more ornate than elsewhere we have seen, but still not as decorated as Swiss ones.

Drove on down valley, past several silversmiths, old barns, belled sheep. Very much better quality timber than we’d seen hitherto, very tall and straight, lots of it piled up by the road, and piles of planks also, about 1m long. Valley broadening out, river flowing more slowly and more meadows around – saw some belled cattle also. Byglandsfjord a long lake with conifers all round, numerous sawmills and rafts of timber on the water. Stopped for lunch by an old ferry, children had a lovely time playing near it. Now superseded by posh bridge. Nice man from Tourist Office gave us brochure about Setesdal. Set off for Aseral where there are waterfalls, via Evje – quite a big place, very good smooth road leading to it. Conifers everywhere and everyone had lines of washing out, including nappies galore. Road from Evje – No. 9 – quite appalling, pure gravel and stones, car rattling around. Took minor road off it, rather boring wooded country which improved when we hit water. Aseral a prosperous looking place – HEP  works near. Suddenly remembered we’d left our table at Byglandsfjord. Decided to go back for it, along minor road. Very bumpy and Sarah sick without warning. Then David got a minor shock from an electric fence, while clearing up Sarah. Blow upon blow! Shot back to Evje and on to Byglandsfjord, to our relief table was still there. Tourist Office man had keys for hut at Langenok, 12 km back, so took one (25k) and made for it. Another MA site, right by the water, with super huts, complete with heatingbliss! and little electric cooker. Very nice indeed. I was able to do lots of washing (owing to Sarah’s indisposition) and we all can dry out a bit. Drank the last of the sherry from the ship – despite notice saying alcohol forbidden in these huts. Felt we needed it!

Various other people mooching about the site, including a German quartet, but no one else staying. Facilities very good here, good washing rooms, iron and board etc. but all rather a trek from the huts. However it is a super site and the huts are so nice, especially with the heat! Andrew stayed awake a long time watching us with beady eyes – eating supper and then making jelly. Thought he’d never drop off.

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