Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Balestrand



Just a little plug for the delightful fjordside community of Balestrand, in Sogn, where I spent a few days on a recent visit to Norway. The place boasts both genuine antiquities, in the form of ancient burial mounds, possibly from the Viking Age, and lots of evidence of the 19th-century fascination with the period. So a statue of the legendary King Beli, who supposedly gave his name to the place, has been placed atop one of the mounds. Even more delightful is a pastiche stave church built in 1897, belonging to the Church of England (under the aegis of the Bishop of Gibraltar), where services are held in English during the summer season. The church was commissioned by an English lady who lived there and has, as well as many stave-churchy features, some nice Victorian stained glass depicting an array of saints appropriate to the medieval and British Isles theme: SS Margaret, Columba, Sunniva, Clement, Olav, Bride, George, Swithun and Halvard.

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