Trip to Sweden and Norway 2014
Tromso Balsfjord Andersdal Uloya July 16 to July 24

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    Our 3 week trip involved travel from extreme southern Sweden through to extreme northern Norway and was all about people connections and family history. The totally custom trip was planned over about 6 months without the aid of travel agents or packaged tours. Coordination with relatives and friends was by email and Facebook connections. Travel tickets and hotel bookings were arranged by direct Internet search and by using booking sites. Microsoft OneNote was used to organize the planning information and calendar. We packed light so that we could walk a distance with our stuff in and out of public transport in one go. Gary used 2 medium wheeled suit cases plus a good sized backpack and Grace used a small wheeled suitcase, a purse and a totebag (later changed out for a small backpack for Grace). We washed clothes twice on the trip. Two smart phones, a digital camera and an IPad Mini were used for communication, photos and reference on the trip. We informed our credit card companies that charges would come from places along the way.

    The catalyst for the whole trip was to attend a 3 day Anders Anderson reunion in Tromso Norway. Tromso with a population of 67000 people is known as the gateway to the Arctic and has been known as the Paris of the North. The Anders Anderson reunion for Gary was to connect with the homeland and people of Grandmother Halfrida Sebulonsen, who left for East Lake Lillian Minnesota in 1900 at the age of 13. Many Norwegians had emigrated to Lake Lillian from the Tromso area starting in 1862 - 1864. Also for Gary we traveled to Gagnef Sweden and connected with relatives of Grandfather August Erickson. Many Swedes emigrated from the Gagnef area in Dalarna to Lake Lillian starting in 1869.

    The trip for Grace was to visit relatives and follow the notes and photos left by her mother Ida and father Alex Swanson when they visited southern Sweden in 1978 .

    This section of the story continues the journey along the coast of Northern Norway on board the M.S. Lofoten....

    Inger Giaever and my cousin Herulv Sorensen surprised us by boarding at Finnsnes, the last stop before Tromso. They had taken a fast boat down especially to meet us and escort us the last 2 hours and 45 minutes of our journey.

    Herulv and Grace

    Inger and I


    On the dock at Tromso.

    We stopped at the Elverhoy Kirke of my Grandmother Halfrida Sebulonsen. It has been moved from the place that it was when she was there.

    The family plot for Halfrida's father and brother is nearby.

    The first night was with Herulv and Heidi Sorensen at their home in Krokelvdalen on the mainland just east of the island city of Tromso.

    The Anders Andersen Reunion

    Next day, Thursday, we checked into the Rica Ishavshotel which was headquarters for the Anders Andersen Reunion.

    Photos posted in the Reunion headquarters room show Gunhilda Sebulonsen and her husband Anton Hansen. She was a sister to my Grandmother, Halfrida.

    After registration and some reunion presentations,

    we attended the evening getting-to-know-you gathering at the O'Hallen pub.

    Herbjorn Torheim, Margarethe Jensen and Gary Gauer.

    Herbjorn has been to Lake Lillian several times and asked me to greet Helen Petterson and my aunt Marion Bomstad Erickson.

    Wayne Madsen and Bruce Magnuson are from Lake Lillian.

    Over 60 people came from the USA to attend this reunion. Lavonne Bomsta Hookum, also from Lake Lillian, served as the USA coordinator and brought several members of her family.

    On Friday the group traveled in 2 buses to the Malangen Brygger resort on the east side of the Malangen fjord, had a barbecue dinner and gathered in the lodge,

    Stina Fagertun and Grace

    Many went on a boat ride at the resort.

    We stayed overnight in rooms along the shore. Gary had the beginning of a head cold so missed some of the festivities. That would linger on the remainder of our trip in Norway and ultimately resulted in congestion and discovery of an ear infection when we got back to Minnesota.

    Saturday morning, we continued on the tour of Balsfjord; a community of 5500 residents, located south of Tromso near and between the fjords of Malangen and Balsfjord.

    Our bus tour guide and Balsfjord council member, Arnhild Lindholm with the Mayor of .

    Balsfjord, Ole-Johan Rodvei. We asked them if they were saving seats for the king of Norway and were told that it was OK for us to sit with them. Note that the mayor is wearing the medallian of Balsfjord.

    which is a community of houses and small farms on gently rolling land where it wasn't mountainous between the fjords of Malangen and the Balsfjord. We stopped at the old 1855 Tennes Kyrka which had been attended by some of the Lake Lillian pioneers.

    We had lunch somewhere along the west side of the Balsfjord and came around to the east side of the fjord at the small crossroads town of Nordjosbotn. Johan Andreas Johannesen came from the Bomstad place east of there in 1862 as the leader of a group who became the first permanent settlers in Lake Lillian. We headed north back to Tromso along the east side of the Fjord and stopped along the road by the Hans Andersen place

    and drove by the Ludvik Sebulonsen place

    of my great grandfather at Andersdal. We returned via a tunnel and bridge to Tromso. Today people can easily live out in the country along the fjords and drive via tunnels to work in Tromso.

    The banquet that evening was back at the Rica Ishavshotel.

    Grace singing in choir, second from left.

    Grace and I walked to the Polar Museum on Sunday morning.

    We were back to the hotel at noon for The Anders Andersen Reunion goodbye lunch.

    The group sang Happy Birthday to Grace, first in English and then in Norwegian.

    Later in the afternoon we had a mini reunion of the genealogy group that had traveled to MN, ND, Lake Lillian and our house last October. The ladies gave Grace a beautiful Norwegian sweater as a birthday gift.

    The Grace yacht as seen from our room at the Rica Ishavshotel.

    This shows the bow and the Rica in the background.

    On Monday, we left the hotel and went again to stay with Herulf and Heidi Monday and Wednesday nights. Heidi and Grace went shopping

    while Herulv and I went on the cable car to look over the city at the Floya viewpoint.

    The day was completed with a family dinner prepared by Heidi. Several of their children and grandchildren came for the evening.

    Excursion to Uloya

    On Tuesday, four of us went in Herulf's car via 3 ferry rides to Havnnes on the island of Uloya

    where we were hosted for the night by Inger Giaever her daughter Ingeborg and her sister Marianne.

    Very good reindeer soup.

    close up of the capstan

    Inger's family has a stock fish or dried fish business since 1868.

    About 40 people live on the island of Uloya today . The big barn has no livestock any more but there are some sheep brought here from the mainland to graze every summer.

    Inger is restoring this boat in the old barn.

    Tourists can book houses to visit the island. There is a small museum in Havnnes

    and Inger is involved in projects to promote tourism. One project is to place 15 red containers with note pads at various places on the island. Clues are printed for ambitious people to find the red containers and sign their name on as many as they find.

    Inger led Herulv and Gary on a long trail up through the woods towards the center of the island to find and sign our names in one of the red cache containers.

    A look back shows Havnnes on the island of Uloya

    The old Sebulonsen house

    The route back on Wednesday was longer with only1 ferry ride and 3 tunnels so we could stop and take pictures in Andersdal at the old Sebulonsen house that my grandmother, Halfrida left in 1900 at the age of 13. No one was home and we do not know who lives there now.

    The addition on the east side is larger than the original house.

    The boat house and an old boat inside have been long neglected.

    This is the way going North back to Tromso.

    The car is parked along the road going south.

    Our trip home started early on Thursday, July 24 2014 with a flight on SAS to OSL. The return on Iceland Air via KEF was routine except for almost an hour to go through security line at OSL. Finally at MSP the line through customs and the sniffing dogs took over an hour at the end of a long day lengthened by 7 time zones. We were not allowed to use our cellphones in the customs area while Son Greg and granddaughter waited patiently for us to emerge.

    Page Links to review the trip
    back to travel to Tromso 3
    back to Borlange 2
    back to southern Sweden 1

    We are so happy and thankful for the friends and relatives that helped to make this a very memorable trip for us.

    Gary and Grace Gauer 2014