I’ve saved the pleasure of writing about Norwegian friends and relatives as the wrap-up posts for this summer’s journey. Greenland was life-changing and London was brilliant but Norway, well maybe I can say Norway is where my heart resides, at least the portions that don’t hang out in Minnesota or roam about to the many places I love all over the world.
With each visit to Norway, I feel closer to my Norwegian heritage—in northern Europe and northern Minnesota. Greenland made me entirely happy for several reasons, just one of which is its northernness. But Norway is at the center of who I like to think I am. Who I choose to think I am. I’ve stayed in a cabin at Neset Camping three or four times. It’s the epitome—to me—of belonging to a spot. Where my dad was born and lived until he was seven. Neset Camping in the Setesdal Valley in Norway and ‘the old place’ up in Koochiching County, Minnesota are—to me—my roots.
SVEN WAS HERE
I know I am romanticizing Norway and my Norwegianness and even my family there. Nowhere, Nobody, Nothing is perfect after all. But since I live far away and only see the history and geography and people every few years, it’s okay to romanticize. Besides it is probably as close to perfect over there as it gets in the world today—at least according to all of the quality-of-life studies.
This year’s visit was special—my chance to introduce my granddaughter Teresa to the family and vice versa. She loved them and I think they all loved her. It was also to put her a bit in touch with her great-grandfather, chance to know a little of this chunk of her family history. Since the blood of both the seafaring Vikings and Polynesians flows in her veins it’s perhaps high time to connect with Norway. She was born in Hawaii so she’s well connected on the Polynesian side.
I’ve written and posted pictures of Neset Camping over the years but there can never be too many photos of this beautiful place—of which I claim a tiny corner.
I first met Olav Neset who, while we are not DNA-related, seems like part of my Norwegian family; his dad and mine played together at what is now Neset Camping between 1903 and 1910. On my first visit to Norway in 1985 Olav’s dad told me how to connect with my dad’s birth family, for which I will be forever grateful. Since then, Neset Camping has come to feel like a sort-of ‘first’ home to me.
UP AT OLAV’S MOUNTAIN PLACE
GLAMPING? OR CAMPING IN STYLE