A stunning sunny day today. Here we are at the most northern point of our travels and we get the most sunshine! Em spent the night in our bed last night - not much room. After breakie and lunchmaking we set off for Trondheim, about an hours drive away through thickly pine forested hills. Industrial on the outskirts, the city is very pretty and cosmopolitan in the main parts. The city centre is like a triangle surrounded by rivers. We walked up through a shopping area, stopping first at a lovely 13th century church with beautiful baroque-like painted altar. Em loves lighting candles in churches so both she and meg did and we said a little prayer.
We then walked up to the main attractions of the Nidaros Cathedral, Archbishops Palace and Crown Regalia. The cathedral was incredible. Built originally in the 12th century, it's an elegant and accomplished example of stonemasonry. Each floor took 10 yrs to build so the styles change slightly. There is an enormous organ with over 9000 pipes at the rear and another Wagner organ in the middle section. The latter is one of only 5 in the world - the other 4 all in Berlin. Apparently it had been lying disassembled and unused under the church until it was recognised by an occupying German officer during world war ll. He readied it to be transported back to Germany but luckily the war ended before it was taken. Very dim inside the cathedral with gorgeous rich colors from the windows, most of which were constructed by master glaziers working from the nearby palace. We tacked onto a tour in English and learnt, among other things, where the expression 'stinking rich' came from. Only the truly rich and powerful were allowed to be buried under the cathedral floor. unfortunately the decomposing bodies started to really smell, and their were some instances of the rotten wood floor collapsing through to the crypts during services! Really enjoyed the cathedral.
After a quick lunch outside we went to see the crown jewels. Having been to the Tower of London only a few weeks ago, these were quite sparse by comparison. Beautiful ermine lined coronation robe, you could see all the little black tails :-(. The crowns were a bit too 'gold' for me, and had jewels in them I didn't recognise. Apparently the regalia is not used by the royal family and they no longer have a coronation. When Norway became independent in the early 1900's, they asked a member of the Danish royal family to become king. The kings and queens now receive a benediction at the Trondheim cathedral.
The museum visit was very brief as everything closes at 3 after august. We walked over to Gamle Bybro, the oldest bridge which has a wonderful outlook over the river and the Bryggen. I preferred it to Bergen as the colourful warehouses are actually over the water, some leaning at precarious angles and on injured posts, all hinting at a long and interesting history. Very evocative. Some have been renovated into hotels, apartments and restaurants, while others are boarded up. Without waiting for disagreement I led everyone up a steep hill in the direction of the fortress. After a fairly long walk and much complaining we were rewarded with old whitewashed bunkers and sweeping views over the city and the bay. One of the bunkers housed a quirky cafe, so the girls received an energy boost of ice-cream! Happy people.
Once the sun disappeared it has turned windy and cold here this evening. The weather can change so suddenly. Jason took the girls in the car up to the bathroom as it was so windy, and they came back apoplectic with excitement that he had let them steer the car! They played in the playground before dinner and j said that even with 7 trampolines, they were still arguing over the same one! Sisters will be sisters. They seem to get a second wind after bedtime stories and spend the evenings jumping on their mattress, doing dancing or gymnastics or performing any kind of imaginative game that involves storytelling screaming and laughing. Honestly. This lasts until one of them falls asleep or j and I have had enough and start issuing punishments. Don't know how poor felix manages to sleep through it. Getting packed up now for a big driving day tomorrow, leaving Norway for Sweden. Have been captivated by Norway, but looking forward to more adventures.