Norway – Victoria Hotel

That door at the left leads to the office on the ground floor and the dining-room above. The host (whom we see standing in the middle of the yard), has his own apartments at the right ; above them are public sitting-rooms and bedrooms for the guests.

Those handsome antlers are souvenirs of hunting excursions—or possibly, in some cases, the picturesque relics of some fine reindeer offered up at the call of hospitality in the form of juicy steak—reindeer meat is a popular dish at Norwegian inns. We ourselves shall presently have opportunities to see both the wild creatures, roaming free over the desolate heights of the Hardanger Vidda (Position 45) and some of the domesticated animals kept by Lapps farther north (Position 96). Deer proper are protected from sportsmen by stringent game-laws.

This house has guests in winter-time who come for the shooting and ski-running. Spender’s Two Winters in Norway, for example, gives an interesting account of winter sports hereabouts, including an illustration showing this very inn-yard covered with snow. W. C. Slingsby’s Norway, the Mountain Playground, tells of the author’s interesting experiences up north of here, shooting reindeer. The ordinary tourist season is pretty strictly limited to midsummer, for westward beyond this point, as already stated, there are no railways. Everybody travels by means of carriages of one sort or another and post-horses. A carriage and pair, like this with which these tourists are about to depart, with the driver’s services, costs about twenty cents a mile. The vehicles in much more common use are cheaper; they are kariols and stolkjoerres, smaller two-wheeled affairs, requiring usually but one horse ; we shall see a number of those along the route as we continue our own journey. Travelers sometimes en-gage at the beginning of a trip the necessary transportation for the entire route, but, if any long distance is to be covered, it is more customary, instead of continually pausing for resting a horse, to keep changing horses at licensed posting-stations ten or twelve miles apart. The roads, though mostly well kept, are hilly and hard; the Norwegian horses, though well-fed and willing, are usually light-weight, hardly more than ponies, and cannot be expected to keep going all day.*

Lykkelig Reise (a prosperous journey), wishes the hospitable host. Now we are to begin following one of the typical country highways through Telemarken.