Norway - Naerofjord from near Gudvangen
( Originally Published 1907 )
Direction—We are facing northeast, the way an outward bound steamer would have to go. Surroundings —Mountains, more mountains are behind us. The place has every appearance of being an inland lake. Was there ever a clearer mirror for earth and heaven?
This is the sort of thing beloved by every Norseman with any poetry in his soul. Boyesen used to dwell on such sights over and over with the tireless affection of a lover: ___
"The fjord looked as if it wanted to speak, but was too happy to find expression, therefore it remained silent ; but it gazed at the wanderers, with those strange, speaking, though speechless, eyes, which no one ever forgets who has once penetrated to the heart of Norway.
Or, again, such a sight as this may typify some tragic experience of the soul, as it does in Bjornson's Laboremus:
"The ocean yearns for the land—restlessness surrounding that which is stable. Remember that the ocean reflects also the sky. . . . With what melancholy must not the ocean look into eternity ! What a yearning ! The land it can-not move. The sky it cannot reach."
These marvelous reflections suggest positively dizzy depths below, and, for aught we know, they really may not be so far wrong. It is claimed on good authority that in some places along the Sognefjord the water actually is from 2,000 to 4,000 feet deep !
The sea is not always like this. As one might expect among such mountains, sudden winds often start, and not infrequently turn into a squall dangerous for anyone not perfectly familiar with boats. Vessels the size of the excursion steamers are always safe, for their voyages are by daylight, and every rod of the way is personally known to the pilots.
The shores of the Sognefjord have many times served as the setting for Norwegian tales and romances. Farther up towards the eastern limits of the great branching inlet, Bjornson located the events of Magnhild. Our own route, as we find it traced on the map, turns northwestward after we get fully out into the main body of the fjord, and our next position is on the shore of another arm or vik of the main fjord.. (See No. 62 on Map 7.)