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 Post subject: 2012 July 6 Little towns
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:11 pm
Posts: 415
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
July 6

The last few days seem to be repeating themselves. Each new town we visit along Norway’s south coast has an old section of little wooden white houses, an abundance of flowers, busy harbors and ever more beautiful views out to sea.

We stumbled into a free overnight parking place in Grimstad, a lovely town that claims to be the sunniest place in Norway. It certainly lived up to its reputation during our visit. As we approached the town, wondering where we could possibly park, we took a chance by turning at a sign that promised “parking.” Most often this tactic leads only to an impossibly small lot for small cars, but this time it rewarded us with a jetty featuring a “Motorhome Parkering 24 timer max” sign and space for five RVs. It was a great place to be: right on the water and right in the middle of everything.
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We enjoyed a visit to the Henrik Ibsen museum, set in the building where he worked for six years as a pharmacist’s apprentice. The original pharmacy still exists with its original equipment.
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In the afternoon we stopped for coffee at the Cafe Ibsen across the street from the museum and used their WiFi to watch the Tour de France on our computer. The cafe closed at 4 pm (!) but they let us stay until they locked up, after which one of the waitresses gave us a bag of four large pastries that she said they would otherwise have to throw away. We then moved on to a bar, where for the price of nachos. salsa and orange pop we watched the end of the race on their wide-screen. Free parking, free food, free tv, sunshine . . . what’s not to like about Grimstad?

The great weather continued the next day, when we visited two more towns--two more neighborhoods of white houses, churches, harbors and market places. In one of them, we first found ourselves in a too tight parking lot too far from the “sentrum”; regrouping (and paying more heed to our GPS), we then made our way to one in the center of town where Rover’s back end hung out over the sea.
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We are starting to see the influx of vacationers of which the guide books warned us. In Risør, many many large saillboats were gathering as part of some tour or another. We’re also seeing the boosted prices that define high season: a night at a large family camping place, paying $66 for the privilege, and two loads of laundry (including only one use of the dryer) for $20.

The roads have gotten busier and also wider as we get closer to Oslo; we even get four lanes occasionally. We drove into Porsgrunn (where Susan successfully read a detour sign in time to notify the GPS) and visited the porcelain outlet. We also hit a second Henrik Ibsen museum--this time the farm where he grew up outside Skien. Norwegians are clearly very proud of their favorite son and do a really good job with these museums. The only thing they don’t do well is signpost to them: often we would see a sign at a traffic circle pointing us in the right direction, but then never see another at any of the next four crucial intersections; worse, the museum would not come up on the GPS. Finally we made our way to another museum in Skien, where the clerk told us how to get there. (The staff at the Ibsen Museum sympathized with us but blamed the local government bureaucracy for not dealing with the signage properly.)

Part of the Ibsen Museum’s program included a film about his plays which mentioned the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, Minnesota, near where we once lived. But the narrator referred to it as “Lanesboro, Minneapolis.” Since this error is on film, that’s one correction that won’t get made soon.

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