Alrekstad (later Årstad) is the birthplace of Bergen. The estate was an estate for Harald Hårfagre and several of his descendants: Eirik Blodøks, Håkon den gode og Olav Tryggvason. These first kings moved with their courts and guardsmen from estate to estate. From these estates the king ruled the country.
When bishop J.Neumann was on a visitation in Hardanger in 1825 he also visited Torsnes, the seat of the Galtung family. They were then in the process of pulling down the old dwelling house on the farm. As the committed observer of ancient monuments and antiquarian buildings that he was, bishop Neumann has provided us with interesting details:
Lake Skogseidvatnet is the most famous fishing lake in Hordaland, with good stocks of both char and trout. There is fishing here throughout the year: with a net in the autumn, through the ice in winter, and with a fishing rod in the summer.
Few other animal species on Hardangervidda have been as much the focus of scientific research as the spotted trout. The spotted trout is considered to be a genetic variant of brown trout. It lives in parts of the Krækkjav water system. Otherwise, on a world scale, this species is only found in a small area in Kaukasus, and possibly also in a lake in Rondane.
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.
After the ice age, Granvin Fjord reached all the way up under Skjervsfjossen waterfall. Just a thousand years later, as a result of the rising of the land after the ice melted, this whole inner part of the fjord freed itself of the sea and became Granvinsvatnet lake. In spite of this rise in elevation, this waterway is still navigable for fish: Sea trout have wandered into Granvinsvatnet in more recent times and evolved to become freshwater trout. And salmon and sea trout made the journey 13 kilometres up the Storelvi river.