Sunday, May 9, 2010
Hello Friends, Shelby here!
We are back from our relaxing trip to the western coast of Norway, and I am so excited to tell you about it! However, first things first. We have gotten a little behind on our blogging, and I wanted to share this experience with you before chronicling our last week.
A few weeks ago, we had a one and half week intensive religion course on Islam, taught by Larry Alderink, a retired professor of Concordia. He and his wife Linda also accompanied us on two field trips, one to the Lillehammer Mosque and the other to Ringebu, a town about an hour from Lillehammer, where we saw a Stavkirke (Stave Church) and visited a refugee asylum.
Above you can see the beautiful church and the lovely scenery that came with it.
This church was originally built in the 1300s but have been renovated and remodeled many times. Because it was created before Norway was unified as a Christian nation, you can see pieces of pagan religion mixed into the artwork of the church.
According to Norwegian tradition, most people of the congregation are buried outside of the church. Some of the gravestones we centuries old.
This is one of the sides of the church's interior. All decoration is painted and carved wood.
The church is still in use, so they have made additions (like heaters) to the building. The front of the church was set up for a funeral later in the week I believe.
This kind of wood carving with Lions is apparently very common in churches in Norway, representing the strength of the monarchy at the time (This one I believe was dedicated to the Danish king).
Beautifully hand-carved pulpit.
Organ made in a more modern style (in comparison to the origins of the church of course!)
Beautiful backdrop for a church, huh?
After walking around the church and churchyard with our guide, we were welcomed into the old rectory for "varm vafler." (I don't think you need a translation for that one!)
Visiting the refugee asylum was also a really interesting experience. This particular one was for refugees under the age of 18, and most of them are usually male. The majority of them are from Somalia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq, so it tied into our Islam class very well. It is hard to imagine what it must be like for these young men to travel halfway across the world to a country like Norway, which is completely different from their homes. Some will be denied refugee status and sent home, while others will have to decide if they want to learn how to live like a Norwegian and stay.
However, I think that the leaders of the center are doing a fantastic job. They were friendly, compassionate, and hard-working. I think the boys there are in great hands.
I am glad that we were able to make the short little jaunt to Ringebu. We learned a lot and got to see some lovely scenery on our way!
Tusen Takk for your attention :) Stay tuned for blogs on the fishing trip!
Shelby (and Kjerstin)