Since the touring schedule on the website of Burkhard's favourite live artist Kari Bremnes made it seem unlikely that there would be any concerts in Germany this year except of the special one with the Filmorchester Babelsberg in Potsdam in April (for which Burkhard had already bought his ticket in the middle of last year), he decided it was time for another trip to Norway to see and hear Kari Bremnes there.
When it was announced that she would be playing at Baroniet Rosendal again, it was clear that this was the place to go. It's a very special place in Norway and Burkhard had very fond memories of the two concerts there two years ago.
As he didn't want to travel alone, Burkhard asked Bjørkisen, Dwarf Vader and me if we wanted to accompany him - and, of course, we did!
This time, Burkhard wanted to take a different route. Instead of taking the Fjordcat to Kristiansand - as on our trips in 2010 und 2013 -, he wanted to take the ferry to Bergen, which goes from Hirtshals (Denmark) at 20:00 h and arrives in Bergen at 12:30 h the next day. Originally, he had planned to drive the entire distance to Hirtshals (about 950 km) in one day, so we would have had to leave early in the morning. But since you never know what might happen - traffic jams could delay the arrival in Hirtshals - and since the ferry wouldn't wait, he decided to start our trip already one day earlier.
Thus on August 2nd, we drove about 550 km to a place called Wanderup (about 15 km away from the Danish border) where Burkhard had booked a room at the Hotel Westerkrug. We had already stayed there for one night on our way back from Norway two years ago and our impression of this hotel had been a very good one. The price Burkhard had to pay for a single room including breakfast was just €45.00 - I think that's quite reasonable. The room was nice and the breakfast was, according to Burkhard, very good.
In the car we listened to some of Burkhard's favourite CDs: "Terrestrials" by Atrox, Avatarium's eponymously titled debut, Fear of God's "Within The Veil", Madder Mortem's "Deadlands" and "Eight Ways", Midnattsol's "Nordlys", Mortillery's "Murder Death Kill" and "Origin Of Extinction" as well as "There Be Squabbles Ahead" and "Naught" by Stolen Babies.
After we had checked in at our hotel at about 7 p.m., Burkhard drove to a restaurant in Tarp (just a few kilometres away from Wanderup) called Ristorante Italia to have something to eat. He already knew this restaurant from our trip to Norway two years ago.
After returning back to our hotel, we watched some TV and then went to bed. This time, Dwarf and I had brought our own sleeping facilities a.k.a. beds with us. Well, in the case of Dwarf, it wasn't a proper bed, but a comfy recliner chair.
The next day we only had another 400 km ahead of us. We left Wanderup at 11 a.m. and arrived in Hirtshals at about 4 p.m. Since our ferry hadn't arrived yet, Burkhard walked around a bit taking some pictures of the Fjordcat to Kristiansand which left Hirtshals at 5 p.m.
After checking in at the ferry-terminal at about 6 p.m., we still had to wait about an hour until our ferry eventually arrived.
Boarding didn't start before 7.30 p.m. and we were some of the first to be on the ship. We left Hirtshals - slightly delayed - at 8.15 p.m.
The weather was still fine and the sea was very calm.
Since the sea was calm, there was no need to use this bag
In our cabin, we already checked the maps of Bergen and the map of southern Norway in order to find out how to get from Bergen to Rosendal.
Dwarf indicating the position of Rosendal...
...and the ferry-terminal in Bergen with his laserpointer
Especially the center of Bergen is a bit tricky to drive through, because most streets there are one-way streets.
When Burkhard noticed that the mirror in the bathroom of our cabin and the mirror in the cabin itself lay exactly opposite to each other, he tried to take some special pictures of us, but it turned out to be difficult, because the camera itself always sort of got in the way.
I think it must have been about midnight, when we eventually went to bed.
The next morning, we arrived in Stavanger at 6.30 a.m., where some passengers left the ferry. The sky was already quite clouded, though there was still a bit of sun to be seen.
The ferry terminal in Stavanger
At 7.40 a.m., Burkhard left the cabin to go to the breakfast room. There was a huge breakfast buffet, but considering that you had to pay €17.00 for it, anything else would have been a huge disappointment.
When Dwarf saw the following place card on the table,
he asked: "Who is this Commander Buffet? Did you check in using a pseudonym, Burkhard?"
Burkhard explained to him that Commander Buffet was just the name of the room where breakfast was being served.
Then Dwarf got into a playful mood and after shoving around the salt and the pepper mill he asked: "Guess the title of this movie!"
When Burkhard said "The Two Towers.", Dwarf moaned: "It's no fun when you say the correct answer right away!"
After breakfast, Burkhard went to the Fjord Lounge at the front of the ship. Unfortunately, the sight ahead of us wasn't very promising. It had already started raining.
Dwarf suddenly said: "Oh no! As if the bad weather wasn't enough, now we're being approached by UFOs!"
I told him: "Don't get paranoid! These are just the lights at the ceiling being reflected in the windows."
The ceiling above the dance floor in the Fjord Lounge
The lights of the ceiling being mirrored on the dance floor
Unfortunately, the rain got worse. First it had just rained cats, but then the dogs set in and finally also hamsters, rabbits and any other pets you can imagine.
Since the weather didn't get better, we decided to go back to our cabin.
On our way back to the cabin
In the cabin, Bjørkisen had already been waiting for us.
He is very shy and doesn't like to be seen by strangers. Since he can't hide in the pockets of Burkhard's jacket as Dwarf and I can, he had preferred to stay inside the cabin the whole time.
Together with Dwarf, he climbed onto a shelf in the cabin and then tried to get down again.
Bjørkisen and Dwarf on the shelf in the cabin
Bjørkisen hanging around in our cabin
When we came closer to Bergen, the rain eventually stopped.
Still about 1 1/2 hours until our arrival in Bergen
By the way, our ship, the Bergensfjord, was just like its sister-ship, the Stavangerfjord, which we took on our way back to Denmark, a very new ship. Both have been in service for just two years and both are powered by LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) and thus are much more environmental-friendly than most other ships of this size.
A model of our ship
Dwarf and I outside
A catamaran overtaking our ship
Close to Bergen, we had to pass under two bridges.
Under the bridge
Askøybrua - the second bridge - ahead
We arrived at the ferry-terminal in Bergen in time.
Ferry-terminal in sight! And UFO-invasion over Bergen - just kidding! ;)
Ready for disembarking
We eventually left the ferry-terminal at about 1 p.m. Just after we had got onto the E16(/E39) going north and leading out of Bergen, it was already heebie-jeebies-time again for Dwarf when we entered the first tunnel, the Fløyfjellstunnel (3825 m long and thus the longest one on our trip), and there were several more to come, namely:
Eidsvågtunnelen (853 m)
Selviktunnelen (110 m)
Gaupåstunnelen (342 m)
Sætretunnelen (720 m)
Bjørkhaugtunnelen (580 m)
Armanipatunnelen (2133 m)
Tavkamtunnelen (111 m)
Songstadtunnelen I (271 m)
Songstadtunnelen II (310 m)
Romslotunnelen (605 m)
Risnestunnelen (1708 m)
Do you really think that this was all? No way! This is Norway! Near Trengereid we left the E16 and drove further on Fylkesvei 7 going south and leading through the following tunnels:
Trengereidtunnelen I (61 m)
Grasdastunnelen (63 m)
Hisdalstunnelen (173 m)
Raunekleivtunnelen (250 m)
Haukanestunnelen (635 m)
Hagaåstunnelen (1641 m)
Near Tysse - Dwarf started giggling, when he heard the name (If you want to know why, replace the second letter by "i" and look it up in a dictionary!) -, we left Fylkesvei 7 and got onto Fylkesvei 48 leading to Gjermundshamn and forcing us to cross the following tunnels:
Tyssetunnelen (2300 m - it had just opened about a month before)
Kråkeskartunnelen (529 m)
Moshovdatunnelen (1424 m)
Gravdalstunnelen (91 m)
Vågstunnelen (122 m)
Bergdalstunnelen (188 m)
Vestreviktunnelen (481 m)
Bjørklundtunnelen (94 m)
Haugetunnelen (56 m)
All in all - I've already done the maths for you -, this adds up to about 20 km going underground - in other words: heebie-jeebies galore for Dwarf!
From Gjermundshamn, we had to take the ferry over the Kvinneheradsfjord (a part of the Hardangerfjord) to Årsnes.
Waiting for the ferry in Gjermundshamn
On the ferry, Dwarf noticed a room with the following sign
and asked: "What? A mobbing room? On a ferry? Those Norwegians are a bunch of weirdos!"
Being of Norwegian origin, Bjørkisen corrected him: "'Moppe' means to mop. Thus a "mopperom" is something like a broom closet."
"I see! You live and learn."
There were dark clouds at the sky and while the ferry was crossing the fjord the rain set in.
View from the ferry to the south
View ahead of us
Another view to the south
Looking at the sky, Dwarf remarked: "This looks more like a trip to Mordor. You would just have to add a bit of thunder and lightning."
From Årsnes, it was just about 10 kilometres to Rosendal (without any tunnels!), and we eventually arrived at our hotel at 4 p.m.
Burkhard would have liked to book the package which included the concert ticket, a 3-course-dinner and bed and breakfast at the Avlsgard & Fruehus as he had done the last time, but this time these packages had already been sold out for both days within less than two weeks after the presales had started, so Burkhard had booked a room at the Fjordhotell instead.
After checking in, Burkhard went to the centre of Rosendal which was just a few hundred metres away, bought some stamps at the post office and then headed for the Barony. On our way there, we also came past the solarium which had been closed when we were here two years ago. The first thing we noticed was that the name had changed from "Hardanger sol" to "Solheim Solstudio".
This time, the solarium was (allegedly) open, but judging by the rainy weather, the slogan on the window "Sol ute, sol inne!" ("Sun outside, sun inside!") sounded more like wishful thinking. We didn't check, if there was any sun inside, but if the slogan was meant to imply that if the sun was shining outside, there would be sun inside, the prospects of running a successful business seemed rather bleak. By the way, who the heck is going into a solarium, if the sun is already shining outside?
Then we went to the Barony, where Kari's musicians had just finished their soundcheck.
In case anyone should wonder about the Danish and Norwegian flags to be seen in the picture above: There was a joint exhibition of paintings by the Danish Queen Margarethe and the Norwegian Queen Sonja at Baroniet Rosendal from June 12th to September 6th.
Burkhard would have liked to take some more pictures of the park surrounding the Barony, but it had started raining again and taking proper pictures with a camera while holding an umbrella at the same time is a bit difficult.
Entrance to the place where the 3-course-dinner would be served after the concert
The concert was to begin at 7 p.m. and doors were to open at about one hour before. Therefore, Burkhard went back to the hotel to pack together a few presents for Kari (nothing extraordinary) and some pictures which he had taken at previous concerts and which he hoped to get signed.
When we arrived at the Barony about 10 minutes to 6, there were already about 20 people queuing in front of the entrance in spite of the fact that it was raining. Thanks to the tent-like makeshift-roof above the yard of the Barony, the stage and the audience remained dry throughout the entire concert.
Burkhard noticed that he was by far not the only German attending this concert.
Just like the concerts on Kari's German tour last year, the concert started with two songs from Kari's debut album "Mitt ville hjerte", which was already released in 1987 and whose lyrics are poems by the Danish poet Tove Ditlevsen. The two songs were "De evige tre" and "Det sandeste". If Burkhard understood Kari correctly, she mentioned how much Tove Ditlevsen's poetry had impressed her when she was a young teenager.
The lyrics of "De evige tre" are about a woman and two men, the one she loves and the one who is in love with her, and it says that only once in 100 years it can happen that these two merge into one.
What followed next was a comletely new song titled "Det einaste vi ville", which was, as Kari told the audience, written under the impression of the death of a good friend with whom Kari had gone to school together and who had died this year. It's a slow ballad.
The next song was one of Burkhard's faves from the current album "Og så kom resten av livet", namely "Mann på rommet", which was followed by "Englevaktsted", an older song from "Månestein" (released in 1995) which Burkhard had never heard live before.
Then came "Ytterste pol", a song, as Kari explained, about a woman named Wanny Woldstad who spent five winters on Svalbard in the 1930s, where she hunted - among other things - polar bears. Before, she had been the first female taxi-driver in Tromsø and also the first one with heating installed in her car. The next consequent step from there was, as Kari jokingly remarked, of course to move to Svalbard.
The next four songs - "Heile mett hjerte", "Denne veien", "Fantastisk allerede" and "Sangen om fyret ved Tornehamn" - had already been part of the setlist of Kari's concert in Rosendal two years ago.
These songs were followed by "Du skulle vært her", Burkhard's overall favourite "Skrik", "Nytt imellom oss" and "Mitt hjerte hamrer og hamrer" which concluded the regular set.
"...solen gikk ned..." - if there only had been any sun to go down on that evening!
Bengt (during "Mitt hjerte hamrer og hamrer")
After standing ovations from the audience, Kari and her musicians came back for two encores. These were "Alle vet jo det" (a cover version of Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" which Burkhard likes far better than the original version) and the beautiful "E du nord".
Originally, Burkhard had planned to say hello to Kari after the concert, but when he talked to Sondre (Kari's bass-player) after the concert, the latter told him that due to unforeseen circumstances this would be a bit unconvenient and asked Burkhard if he would mind meeting Kari the next day before the soundcheck. Well, Burkhard did, of course, not mind!
After the concert, it was still raining and clouds partly covered the mountains surrounding the Barony when we returned to our hotel.
The park of the Barony after the concert
View from the parking lot of our hotel over the Kvinneheradsfjord
"In mist shrouded" (Maybe The 3rd and The Mortal's eponymous song was inspired by a sight like this one?)
At around 10 p.m. the light outside was suddenly turning into very strange colours: