Karmøy

The island of Karmøy may be well off the tourist beaten track (not even making the index of the generally pretty inclusive Lonely Planet guide), but it is of historical interest, and with a few fun sights. And of course it's the home of Chantal's father's family (though Tor was actually born in Haugesund, just across on the mainland). 

The body of the water between the island and the mainland is the Karmsundet, the "Northern Passage" which gave Norway its name. Avaldnes was a royal farm and residence, the seat of Harald Hårfagre (Fair-Hair), who could control and tax the ship traffic from this strategic defensive spot (in about 900 AD). 

Among some things that the pictures below don't address: the copper for the Statue of Liberty was mined at Visnes. (Kopervik is the "Copper Bay".) And the classical pianist Leif Ove Andsnes was born on Karmøy in 1970. (I can recommend his Haydn Piano Concertos :-) 

Click on the small pictures to see larger ones.

In and around Kopervik. One can see the Eide name cropping up the bottom left-hand corner.
We stayed near Avaldsnes, on a farm at Skeie (near the bottom center). It's about half-an-hour's walk to either side of the island from there.
Chantal and the kids admiring the calves. These, like pretty much all the others in Norway, are NRF or Norwegian Red Friesian dairy cattle.
The roof of the barn: a very typical example of a "fish-scale" roof of carefully shaped slate tiles.
Our hosts the Skeies, whose name comes from the locality. Oddbjørg is a cousin (second?) of Tor's. (And John Andreas may be related as well.) It seemed like one could ask pretty much anyone in the neighborhood, "And how are you related?" And often enough their name would be Skeie as well!
Sheep foraging in the fields, with the 13th-century St. Olav's in the background. All the farming is animal-related: dairy cows, sheep for wool, and even a couple of ostrich farms (for the meat), with only fodder crops. There's also some industry on Karmøy, such as a large Aluminium plant, but we didn't get to any of it.
Norwegian sweaters on the hoof!
The side door to St. Olav's.
The kid's holding up the "Virgin Mary's Sewing Needle". According to legend, if the stone ever touches the church wall, it will be Doomsday, the end of the world. (Apparently priests have chipped away at the top over time...)
Our little family tour group, listening to the guide on the left. Our hosts, the Skeies, are on the right.
Tor's grandparents, with his grandfather's profession of "teacher" on the stone.
The church of St. Olav's, started around 1250. The current structure is the result of much reconstruction in the 19th century. You can see the Sewing Needle running up the left-hand-side of the middle portion. It used to be taller, but still at 7.2m it is the 2nd-tallest such stone in Norway. It's only 9.2cm away from the church wall. More history.
An old potato store-house, but it looks rather like one might imagine some Viking treasure-house...
At a family get-together, Chantal's second cousin Arne Kjell Øverland presents Tor a few hundred pages of genealogy.
Chantal with cousin Gunnar Flatebø
John and Oddbjørg Skeie peruse the genealogy with Chantal.
Three generations of Eides (and Schoolers): Tor, daughters Lorraine and Chantal, and grand-children Benjamin and Isabel.
Tor and some first cousins: sisters Elisabeth Øverland, Hildur Saltvedt, and Karen Flatebø who hosted this get-together. Elisabeth was a lot of fun, and was particularly great with the kids. Apparently she's had a reputation for being somewhat exuberant all her life! (Arne Kjell is her son.)
Gunnar Flatebø plays a hymn on his trumpet, in memory of "Tante Sigrun", who had died the night we arrived. She was the last of Tor's parents' generation.
Chantal with Karen Flatebø.
A cute gable line in Kopervik.
Eides in front of "their" sign.
In Skudeneshavn, a cute 19th-century fishing village on the southern tip of Karmøy, which rather reminded me of Nantucket.
Benjamin considers a rather Art Nouveau fire hydrant in Skudeneshavn.
Benjamin on steps in Skudeneshavn.
Window with oil lantern.
Interior of the general store in the Mælandsgården Museum.
More white houses, steps, and flowers.
Ancient Norwegian barometer, one supposes. Lord knows what all the pointers pertain to...
Wildflowers near Skudeneshavn.
Back in Kopervik, in the churchyard. That's Tor's cousin on his mother's side, Leif Ove Olsen, with Chantal and Tor.
Tor's great-great-grandfather, I believe; perhaps the one who married an 18-year old girl in his 60s and went on to have a number of children!  This was still at the time when patronymic surnames were used, so the genealogy is full of "Ole Larssens" and "Lars Olesens".  "Kobbervig" is the old Danish spelling of the town.
Three of "Five Foolish Virgins" at Haugesund, now named after the New Testament parable, but of course actually pre-Christian, perhaps 4th or 5th AD.
A view of St. Olav's church across the Karmsundet.
Near Haraldshaugen, a little lighthouse offshore.
Krosshaugen, a very early Christian cross (1000 AD) near Haraldshaugen. It was repaired with the iron bands in the 19th century.
Benjamin and Isabel on a bronze wolf in Haugesund. (Finally a sunny day!)
Isabel and Benjamin resting with some cherries after touring Haugesund all mid-day.
A high bridge between Haugesund and a nearby island which houses the big cruise ship docks.
What's Marilyn doing in Haugesund? Some say her father (Edward Mortenson, but this is debatable) was born here, before abandoning her pregnant mother in Los Angeles.
An old doorway in Haugesund with nice carving, now sadly faded.
The kids' favorite discovery, a trampoline! Isabel is practicing her seat drops, as learned in gymastics camp this summer. Actually one saw these trampolines everywhere, apparently the latest thing in suburban/rural Norway.
On the plane home. (It looks like Chantal is perusing a Norwegian knitting book.)

Later on, flying over Greenland, we saw icebergs and glaciers. Too high to spot polar bears, sadly.

schooler@alum.mit.edu