We had the fun added adventure of spending some time at the Olympic Park in Lillehammer where the 1994 Winter Olympics were held. We were fortunate to have met some very kind Brits at Grotli that offered to give us a ride to Oslo instead of having to take the bus back. We had a great time with them and enjoyed getting to know them during our 8 hours together. They really wanted to stop to see the ski jumping area so they invited us to join them.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
There we were. After a long - though beautiful - seven hour bus ride through the mountains of Norway, Signe and I had finally arrived at the place about which I had heard so much. My Grandpa and Grandma Lund had visited Grotli Hotel before, and have always been quick to share stories of their adventure. But now the adventure was ours. And it was an adventure.
The hotel itself was the original impetus for our trip to Norway. My grandpa would often tell me of an old hotel - one that his Grandpa had built at the turn of the century and that was still owned and operated by family. Our first night at the hotel was rather quiet. It wasn't until the the next morning that I worked up the courage to approach the owner, Are Bergheim, and reveal my identity. Though he wasn't quite sure of my relation to the hotel, he took us into a room filled with old photos. And while I saw one photo I recognized (see above), the photo room left me with more questions than answers. Are, however, was determined to figure it out. He invited Signe and I to join him and his wife for coffee that evening. Meanwhile, he promised to do a bunch of research and get to the bottom of everything.
Immediately following dinner, Signe and I met Are and Berit in a comfortable lounge area. For five hours we enjoyed each other's company - along with coffee, soda, cake, ice-cream, and fruit - while Are unraveled the mystery of my family history. Armed with a full-sized flip-chart and a stack of family tree paperwork, he confirmed what my grandpa had said all along: that the man who began building this hotel in 1903, Sevald Grotli, was indeed my great, great grandfather. The penny dropped when Are made the connection that both he and I are exactly fifth generation descendants of this man, making us third cousins. A unique feeling of intrigue and familial warmth pervaded the atmosphere that evening.
The "Grotli Chapter" of our trip had greatly exceeded our expectations. The warm reception and rich hospitality of Are, Berit, and their son, Hans Christian, in addition to the personal and in-depth family history lesson, made for an unforgettable trip.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Monday, June 18, 2012
Michael is more than half Norwegian and for as long as I have known him he has talked about how he wanted to visit Norway to see his country and learn more about his family of origin. He especially had a desire to visit the hotel his great great grandfather Servald Grotli built. Several of his family members including his Norwegian grandparents have been to visit this hotel - The Grotli Hotel in Grotli, Norway. Luckily, Michael married a Dane, which made going to Norway a little easier given Denmark and Norway are so close.
We had a wonderful trip to Norway. It was full of adventure and intrigue. This country is absolutely gorgeous, which made the seven hour bus ride from Oslo much nicer.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
We had a fabulous date night in Tivoli. Tivoli is a lovely garden and at night is lit up beautifully! It is of course also an amusement park, but unlike many amusement parks you can have an enchanting evening enjoying the garden, great restaurants, cafes, and music/concerts without ever getting on a ride.