Halsnøy Monastery is situated in the midst of the lush fjord country in Sunnhordland, on one of the old spits, or “necks”, that has given name to the island. Gently sloping fields lead down to the sea on both sides, in the south towards the Kloster Fjord, to the north towards the sheltered Klostervågen.
Where the school and the sports facility lie at Eidsbøen there was previously a bog surrounded by small hillocks. More than 1000 years ago this was a holy place, where the dead were buried.
Even though we know of several hundred burial places from the Stone Age in Hordaland, we do not often hit on the Stone Age Man himself. But there are a few.
Bays that are shallow far out into the sea, with fine sand and clay, are rare in Hordaland. Where they are found, the reason is usually that the edge of the glacier made smaller advances or stopovers when it calved back at the end of the last Ice Age. This is what happened at Vinnesleira.
The biggest prehistoric burial site in Hordaland is situated at Hæreid. On top of the terrace expanse, inside the fine birch garden, is where they lie, the mounds and stone piles, on their own or in clusters, large and small, round and elongated – at least 350 in all.
At Halnefjorden, a few hundred metres east of Halne mountain lodge, lie the remains of two stone sheds – Halnelægeret. Some generations ago the cattle drovers stopped here in the summer; they were the cowboys of their time. But Halnelægeret already had a long history before the cattle drovers came.
The old pack road had 1500 steps, where cars today gas through the mountain. The time of this hard work is over, and of getting used to the steep terrain, as well; only the view from the top is much the same as before. Vøringsfossen in summer is one of Western Norway’s biggest natural wonders. It marks the transition between the older, open part of the Sysendalen valley and the younger, narrow and winding valley of Måbødalen.