I’m sitting in the lobby of the old Fredheim Hotel in Flam, Norway. It’s at the base of an endless fjord on the west coast of Norway. Gorgeous. I’m here because last weekend I presented a two day seminar in Tomalilla, Sweden (toe-ma-lee-lah… it’s really lovely to say!), hosted by Natasja and Daniel Atterbom. (eeeps, I may have spelled their name wrong. apologies if so.) Natasja and her friend Malvini could not have been more gracious hosts, and the people who attended were an absolute delight. It was truly a joy to speak there, and to meet so many people in Sweden who love their dogs so much. I’ve learned Sweden is much like the states, in that “getting dominance” over your dog is still terribly popular. But the people who attended the seminar were knowledgeable and delightful. I also got to meet, besides a Swedish Valhund (they don’t call them that in Sweden!) a Laplonian Herding Dog, who is bred to herd reindeer.
Speaking of, we saw 4 wild reindeer at the top of the mountains outside of Flam. That is only because we took a local taxi (driven by the fire chief, filling in for his friend who was sick, bless him) to a gorgeous overlook that has a great view of the fjords and the sub-arctic plateua above tree line where the reindeer live. The reindeer were very far away, you could only see them with binoculars, but I was still thrilled. I”m so easy when it comes to animals.
We also saw seals (so skittish, it’s obvious they are hunted here) and black dolphins in a boat tour this morning. I can’t describe the beauty of this area.. narrow waterways with mountains that tower straight up on either side. Puffy clouds sailing amongst the peaks (okay, yesterday, on another boat ride, it was just plain old raining. man was it cold in the open boat!), Irish green pastures scattered amongst the craigs and waterfalls. Waterfalls everywhere. Salmon (to eat) everywhere. I have eaten enough that I could be harvested for Omega 3’s for months.
Will write more soon, couldn’t get onto my blog (the password was changed, but didn’t know!) until now. Only one more day in this area, leaving to Bergen, a little town on the coast everyone says is gorgeous, then fly home on Sunday. Lordy I’ve missed the dogs, though house sitters extraordinaire, Jim and Sheryl have sent us emails and eve photos and are clearly doing a fantastic job.
Last thoughts: Southern Sweden looks like the best of Wisconsin, except surrounded by the ocean and full of salmon and herring (boiled salmon at Malvini’s grandma’s house.. YUM!). Green, hilly, cows everywhere, apple trees heavy with fruit. Norway, on the coast, is dramatic and gorgeous. Food not as good as Sweden (the Swedes warned us!) and much more expensive. But people also very kind, and very proud of their country. As well they should be….