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28th June, 2015


The overnight passage was 85 miles through the fjords, out into the Norwegian Sea and then back into Nordfjord. The pretty little village of Olden lies 65 miles from the sea, surrounded by majestic mountains which hide the village from the early morning sun. So standing on the bridge wing to conduct the docking was a chilly affair.

With most passengers away on tour, or for a walk into the village once the sun had risen over the mountain top, we remained to conduct an emergency drill for the crew, lowering all boats to the water. By the time that was complete much of the morning had gone, but there was still an hour or so to enjoy a walk ashore. The village has two charming churches, Olden Gamle Kyrkje, the old church built in 1759, and Olden Kyrkje, the new church built in 1934.

The former is a white painted cross shaped wooden building that sits on the site of a former Stave church. The inside being unpainted and quite striking in its apparent simplicity, but in fact there were some unique features. The pews were in boxes, each with a door, some of which bear the family mark of a local farm, the oldest being 1672, so it must have come from the old Stave church. There were hat racks made from the tops of young birch trees on the men’s side of the church and the chancel had a Reredos dated 1772 depicting the Crucifixion and the Last Supper. On the inside and above the entrance into the nave there were two paintings, thought to be of P.P.Tonning, the first benefactor of the church, and his wife Cathrine.

From this church there was a half mile walk to the ‘new’ church, along a fairly busy road that seemed to disappear into the distant snow-capped mountains. There had just been a Sunday service and the pastor was about to leave, but we were offered a cup of coffee by a lady who was, no doubt, in the throes of closing up. A charming gesture I thought.

Captain Philip Rentell

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