Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Our American Cousins (Us)

When a lady asks for a cigar, one must oblige.

Such was the case Saturday night on the island of Radøy, a 75-minute ride from Bergen where Jean Sue's cousin Sonja Wallace and her husband George hosted a reunion of all available cousins, including Elin Kvalheim (she married into the family!) who requested the stogie from my stash sometime well after midnight.

Sonja and George, who reside most of the year in London, occupy the old family homestead, "Johannes's Hytte" in the community of Kvalheim on Radøy. It was a wonderful setting for a party, with a large deck with a view of the fjord through a new cut in a stand or trees, no rain and even a fair amount of sun. Much of the evening (and morning) was spent out-of-doors.

Formal portrait of all the cousins, standing
behind Uncles Bernhard and Inge and Aunt Berthe

Cousin Leslie Kvalheim and his wife Gry picked up Jean Sue, her cousin Sharon Sliker from Racine, Sharon's friend Chris from San Diego, and me shortly after we arrived at our hotel in Bergen after our Hurtigruten voyage. (We had first met Leslie and Gry two summers ago when they were traveling between New York and Chicago and all points in between and stopped in Philadelphia for a brief visit.)

Because Norwegian laws regarding driving and alcohol consumption (see an earlier post) are notoriously stringent, a number of cousins who lived on the island arranged for a taxi to chauffer them home when the drinking was done, (And there was lots of drinking; though no one was close to fall-on-the-floor drunk, all were feeling very high as the evening became morning.) Others from farther afield brought SUVs or caravans (a.k.a. RVs), including Leslie and Gry and Leslie's brother Jan Terje Kvalheim and his wife Maibritt.

Sonja and George graciously invited Jean Sue and I to use their spare bedroom overnight. Sharon and Chris, however, were relegated to the sofa bed in the living room. Which mean that, unlike Jean Sue and I who excused ourselves shortly before 2 a.m. for some sleep, they had to wait for the party to end. Which normally would be about 4 or 4:30 a.m., George informed us in his distinct Glaswegian accent. Sonja, feeling sorry for the weary Americans, cleared out the house by 2:30 so Sharon and Chris could get at least some shuteye.

All managed to arise well before noon where we consumed leftovers for breakfast that put to shame any of the hotel buffets we've had in Norway. Afterwards, Lesley, Gry, George, Sharon, Chris and I took a stroll down to the water through a park on land that Johannes Kvalheim gave to the community.

Here are more photos from the party and our walk.

Out on the deck

Cousin Helge Vallstad

Jan Terje Kvalheim

A walk from the beach

Leslie Kvalheim and George Wallace. George titled this photo "Heroes".

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