Norway - Cliffs by the waters of the Naerofjord
( Originally Published 1907 )
Direction—We are facing south, i. e., back towards Gudvangen. The hotels and the steamboat pier are ahead and around at our right. Surroundings—Steep, ragged cliffs rising overhead and behind us, and other cliffs as high over on the opposite side of the narrow fjord.
Those long, white streaks on the mountain opposite are more waterfalls. All along the fjord it is like that. Streams come down, as it were, from the very roof of the world, to tell of unseen icy wastes far above.
This girl with the immaculate white apron is a Norwegian maid from one of the hotels ; the lady sitting on the bank yonder is a tourist; but the other woman, the child, the dog, and the boat, belong to a little band of gipsies encamped here. Such bands are rare in Norway, and yet common enough for the country people to be used to them and to have no fear of them, except, perhaps, in the way of petty thieving. The wandering folk have here, as elsewhere, a reputation for being light-fingered, though, to do them justice, no offence is often proven against them. A Norwegian author* many years ago made a special study of their manners, customs and language; they would seem to be at least akin to the wanderers who sing, dance, and tell fortunes in Spain, England and other parts of Europe. An Englishman who had become an enthusiast in gipsy lore once brought three English gipsies over here to Norway, and spent a whole summer with them, roaming about the country with donkeys, tents and camp supplies, hoping to fall in with such people as this woman with the baby. As it happened, they met no Norwegian gipsies at all the whole season, but they themselves had "the time of their lives," and the organizer of the expedition, Mr. Hubert Smith, wrote an entertaining book about the summer's happenings. Over and over again, as he relates, both Norwegian country people and foreign tourists came to see them, to admire their tent, to wonder at the unfamiliar donkeys, and to dance to their music.
Evidently these gipsies do their traveling by boat instead of overland, a very convenient method, too, for this Sognefjord alone has more than two hundred miles of banks, though, of course, not all are so invitingly easy of access as this spot right here.
Just one more glimpse near Gudvangen before we go away—there is a particularly beautiful sight to be seen when the wind is asleep, about a mile below the pier. Look for 61 on Map 7, and see what the red lines have to say about the outlook.