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We moved to Trondheim, Norway from Canberra Australia on the 26th of July and we are making the most of the long summer days to explore. On Friday we decided to take a trip north to see some ruins and a Cistercian abbey at Tautra.
Outside of Vaernes we saw a sign pointing to the left mentioning a mine so we mosied off the highway to explore. We soon stopped driving because the track was rutted and not in good condition. We were delighted to discover fresh raspberries growing wild beside the track and we gorged ourselves. They may well be the most delicious thing that I have ever eaten.
As so often happens to us we spent so long eating berries (strawberries and blueberries too) that we lost interest in finding the mine and headed back to the car when our appetites were sated.
At the sight of a brown sign indicating a site of historical significance we took another detour and stopped to look at a charming church in Åsen.
We kept driving, past beautiful sections of the fjord and stopped at a local bakery in Frosta. All of the signs were in Norwegian and we didn’t recognise anything but after a short while a younger woman came out from behind the scenes and helped us in English. We stood in the sunshine outside the bakery and enjoyed sampling our first baked goods in Norway.
We crossed the causeway and bridge to the island of Tautra. We had read about the RAMSAR wetland and were curious to see the seabirds but we have not yet introduced our children to birdwatching properly so we kept going to see the Cistercian Abbey instead.
The nuns make fragrant soap and have a small shop and visitor centre beside the road. In the visitor centre we enjoyed looking at photos of the novice nuns being fitted for gowns, the dining area where the nuns all sit in a line looking out across the lawn towards the sea, and so on.
The Cistercian Order began in 1098 when St. Robert and a group of Benedictines formed a new monastery at Citeaux, in France. They desired to live the Rule of St. Benedict in a more integral way. They had a difficult beginning, but the group were invigorated when St. Bernard and his 30 companions entered in 1113. In the 12th Century, the Cistercian Order expanded rapidly and by the time that St. Bernard died in 1153, the Cistercian Order with its various monasteries numbered 700 monks. The monastery ruins on Tautra island “Tautra Mariakloster” – date to the year 1207.
It was calm and quiet in the Abbey chapel.
I had promised our children that they could swim so our next stop was the beach on the island of Tautra. The air was moderately warm and the water was not too cold so our children played in the water and on the sand for nearly an hour.
Two other families frolicked on the beach and ask a woman walked past us with two children she turned to me and asked if we speak English. We started talking and she told me that they moved to Trondheim at the beginning of June from the USA and that her husband is American. Later he came over and chatted with us too. He works at the ultra-modern St-Olav’s hospital in Trondheim and this is their second time living in Norway with their family, after spending the past 5 years in the USA. This time they sold their house and cars and intend to stay for a long time. They asked for my contact details and I do hope that they contact us!
We finished off our trip to Tautra with a visit to the ruins of the 13th century Cistercian monastery. Tautra is a lovely island that we enjoyed visiting in the summertime. Stay tuned for my next post about our stay at a Pilgrim’s hostel.