Trolls in Olden, Norway

I think every country has its myths and legends, we in Scotland have lots, including the Loch Ness monster, mind you over the years some very serious and normally sensible people have sworn they’ve seen the monster. Kelpies are water spirits in the shape of horses. There are selkies and I recently saw a poster in a shop which proclaimed that their haggis was freshly caught in Forfar! But in Norway it’s Trolls that are legendary beings, supposed to live near water and the tourist shops are full of wee troll figurines in various designs. I managed to avoid buying any when we were in Norway. You can read more about trolls in folk tales and myths here.

However I was amused by a cute troll house that had been built at the bottom of a hill in Olden, the trolls were lurking nearby.

troll house

troll house  in Olden

You get all sorts of different types of trolls apparently. The Swedish Moomintrolls of the Tove Jansson books fame are very different, to me they look more like cartoon baby hippos.


Norwegian houses – Olden

Wherever we travel I’m always keen to see the sorts of houses that the locals live in and I have to say that I love the wooden houses in Norway, I think they’re almost all mainly made from wood. The one in the photo below has a turf roof, if they painted the wood green I think it would be difficult to find amongst those trees.

a Turf House

Until very recently I’ve rather looked down on wooden houses as opposed to those made from stone, probably because of that children’s story The Three Little Pigs – wooden houses never seemed that safe to me for various reasons and not just the possibility of fire. I love the one in the photo below, which I believe (if my memory is behaving itself) is in Olden in Norway, as are the others.

white wooden  house
The same house, different angle, I wouldn’t be at all happy about that big tree being so close to it though. A lot of the houses in Norway have narrow permanent ladders on their roof leading to the chimney. An aid for Santa maybe!
white house
When I thought about it I realised that the wood is a far better insulator than stone is, especially as in Norway they seem to have more than just an outer skin of wood, certainly at least two layers. They’ll actually be far easier to heat than stone or brick houses as when they get the cold air on them they become ice boxes and are impossible to heat up with modern central heating. Coal fires are needed to heat up the walls through the flues, but coal is too expensive and polluting now.

If you look to the right in the photo below you can just make out a flagpole and flag. This is quite rare in Norway, even rarer in Scotland mind you. In Norway they have very strict rules on who and when you can fly the flag. Only high up officials working for the government can fly it, unless it’s their national day and then anyone can fly the flag. I think that’s sensible, there’s something rather unbalanced about enthusiastic flag fliers – and constant national anthems too for that matter.
yellow house

The more modern houses are just as nice I think and this one below has a particularly colourful and well kept garden.
Houses  in Olden

Back to old houses and the smaller buildings seem to have been built on stone pillars, I think they were probably grain stores or barns and that would have been a way of keeping vermin out.

Turf roof Houses

It occurred to me that when the Scandinavians immigrated to the USA as many of them did in the 1800s – they took their way of building homes with them. So what I thought of as being an American house style was really originally Scandinavian it would seem. The yellow wooden house below really stands out but I couldn’t believe how close that massive beech tree is, it must make it very dark inside – upstairs anyway. I’d be terrified of it falling on the house in a high wind, although the captain said that Norway doesn’t get much in the way of high winds, which seems strange to me.

Yellow house
I like all these homes and would be quite happy to move into any of them. Interestingly they only use electricity for heating in Norway. They do have natural gas but they export it all. Although things in Norway are expensive in general necessities such as power and housing costs are reasonable and that’s really the way it should be I think. Of course they have lots of hydro-electric power, they’re way ahead of us with renewables, but in Scotland we’re catching up.


Olden, Norway

Olden was the second place we sailed to on our recent trip to Norway. I had never even heard of the place, I felt a bit embarrassed by that but actually visiting Olden cured me of that as it’s really a very small place, but rather lovely.

We were keen to get off the Black Watch and into the lovely countryside, we had eschewed (how do you pronounce that word? I opt for shoo rather than chew) the organised trips and took to the road, winding through some house lined streets and going up into the road that leads to the scenic Oldeelva river.

It wasn’t a blue sky day but I’m quite glad of that as the low wispy cloud was so atmospheric.
Oldeelva river ,Olden

Oldeelva river , Olden

In parts the river became a roaring torrent.
Oldeelva river falls , Olden

Walking further on you reach a lake, called Floen. When we got back to the ship later that day we seemed to be regarded as heroes for managing to walk that far, and back again of course. The onlly other people who went there under their own steam had used hired bikes, and we beat them there!

Lake at Olden

I had wanted to go and visit a glacier too, but if we had gone on that arranged trip we wouldn’t have been able to do the walk, a glacier visit will have to wait for now.
Lake  at Olden

The photo below is taken from the bridge over the river at Olden looking up the valley back towards Lake Floen.
looking up valley  at Olden

On the way back to the Black Watch we decided to take the path along the opposite side of the river, but eventually the ground became very boggy so we had to go further up the embankment onto the hillside where it was drier. All in all I think we must have walked about seven miles or so. The photo below of Olden and the Black Watch at anchor was taken when we were really quite tired and longing to reach our temporary home. It was a great afternoon out though!

looking back to Olden