Norway – When the lake steamer calls at Tinoset pier

The head of these rippling waters is twenty miles off at our left. This lake is just a long, narrow pocket between the hills, its outlet traveling fifty miles farther to reach the sea, away at our right, and on its way the same outlet takes in the waters of the two “over-lapping” lakes that we saw at Bolkesjo (Position 16). There are no towns bordering the lake—indeed there are no towns in this part of Norway, but only tiny hamlets and scattered farms. At several places along the banks that little steamer calls during the summer for passengers and freight. Summer tourists, of course, increase the volume of local business.

The people we find here speak only Norwegian. The elderly woman in the roadway is wearing wooden shoes, but that sort of footwear is not common to-day among people of the younger generation. The cut of her gown is old-fashioned, too. In her home we may be sure the old-time house-crafts of spinning and weaving are still carried on as they were many years ago. At present factory-made cotton-cloth is sold cheaply by country shopkeepers and by itinerant pedlers, so that the need of home weaving is becoming less and less.

The home cooking of a country housewife like this is a simple matter—people hereabouts eat a good deal of grod (porridge) and barley bread, salt pork and potatoes. Romme grod is porridge made with boiled cream and barley. The bread this woman makes is almost never in big fat loaves, but in thin, flat sheets—a tough, grayish stuff, resembling paste oard, but, after all, tasting very good when one is sufficiently tired and hungry. The one table luxury that everybody expects to share is coffee. The cooking is done in kettles hung over open fires, on iron plates over hot coals, or in stone ovens heated directly with hot coals that have to be swept out before dough can take their place.

The sources of this lake are in one of the most beautiful parts of southern Norway; our next movement will be to explore a valley through which its most celebrated tributary descends. Consult Map 4. Our route continues up the lake, then turns off into a valley opening from the west bank. The figure 19 marks where we shall stand.