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Everyone knows the famous painting by Tidemand & Gude “Brudeferden i Hardanger” (The Wedding Party in Hardanger) one of the great icons in the National Gallery. Some have, in a humorous lack of respect for this masterpiece linked the concept of “bride’s passage” to another pictorial presentation in Hardanger. This is found on the farm Bakko in Herand, carved in the rock by an unknown artist around 3,000 years ago.
The glacier is not only white – it is full of colour. The colours have several sources: glacial flour, desert dust, or living algae. And the light refraction in the ice creates cool, bluish nuances – a masterpiece of the interaction between cold and light.
Tveiti sawmill in Herand is probably the last water-powered sash-saw in the country that has been in regular operation up to our time. There has been a sash-saw here since the 1700s, and on the other side of the river there are remains of an even older saw.
At Hereiane on warm summer days one you can walk barefoot up the hill from the fjord all the way up to 400 metres elevation. The naked, furrowed bedrock often causes travellers who see it from the north side of the fjord to wonder. Why does it look like this, and why is there so little that grows here? It is a long way to the heavy metal industry in Ålvik and Odda, and there hasn’t been a forest fire in modern times.
When high school student Arne Handegard collected plants for a herbarium in 1962, he didn’t know what kind of rarity he had pressed into his notebook. 30 years later he attended a botanical lecture, where a picture was shown of a plant he recognized: “Norwegian Sagebrush, which in Norway is only found in a large area of Dovre and in Trollheimen, and in a little area in Ry county”. Arne Handegard raised his hand: “That plant grows on Mt. Jonstein in Jondal”.
The grey alder forest down by the river in Stølsdalen is full of life. The many birds are very busy finding enough to eat from day to day – but the biggest challenge is to make oneself heard above the roar of the Stølselva River.
Down by the fjord at Svåsand, close to the main highway, there is a long row of boathouses, one of the well-preserved, older boathouse locations along the Hardanger fjord. It is the farms at Svåsand that have their boathouses here, four main farms with origins far back in time.