Karmøy – the birthplace of Norway

A home exchange in south-west Norway gives us the local knowledge required to fully explore a fascinating and historically-rich island.

The generous living room windows of our home exchange look out over a narrow channel towards the island of Karmøy. From our cosy vantage point, we watch the weather fronts rolling in from the wild North Sea and the rain-battered ships taking refuge in the calm waters. The vessels may be new, but boats have been making their way through this passage for thousands of years already. For as long as time itself, this route has been known as the safe way north, the “Northern Way”…

Norway“.


Merely a kilometre across the channel – but just obscured from our view by a neighbouring house – lies the ancient church of Olav in the village of Asvaldsnes. There – right there – is the birthplace of Norway, the main stronghold of King Harald Fairhair who controlled this “Northern Way” and first unified this nation.

All in all, it feels like a rather apt place to start exploring.

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The land of enchanted light: Camping in Nordjylland, Denmark

Rubjerg Knude lighthouse in northern Jutland (“Nordjylland” in Danish) is in a precarious situation. Huge sand dunes whipped up by vicious North Sea winds are threatening to swallow it completely, and the coastline that it stands proudly upon is being eroded alarmingly quickly. Buried by sand or collapsing into the sea? Recent estimates suggest that it will grace the Danish coastline for another 5-10 years at most. We’re lucky we got to see this hauntingly beautiful structure before Mother Nature claims it as her own.

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Floating Art in Vejle

Contemporary art and water sports are not exactly two subjects which immediately spring to mind as being mutually complementary. However, in the wonderful setting of Vejle harbour in Jutland (Denmark), large-scale works of art have been thoughtfully placed out in the fjord… and the only way to appreciate them fully is by kayak or canoe.

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