(Durham, May 11, 2019) Windows to the Wild host Willem Lange is best known for exploring the natural wonders and historic corners of New England. However, on the season 14 finale of Windows to the Wild, Lange takes his love of adventure even further afield, as he leads a group of intrepid travelers on a trip to Norway –complete with Viking dinners, breathtaking fjords and quaint fishing villages.
Part of a series of international tours offered by New Hampshire PBS, this particular tour group’s travels include major cities like Oslo and Bergen, as well as more rural corners of Norway, like the beautiful Lofoten Islands. This varied itinerary allows the group to experience the many sides of a country that Lange says “has a progressive spirit that embraces change yet holds its history close.”
In Oslo, they visit the art-filled city hall and experience the unique beauty of Vigeland Sculpture Park before making their way to The Viking Ship Museum. One ship in particular catches Lange’s attention for its intricate woodwork. Their tour guide, Gro Steimler, explains that this is a ceremonial burial ship dating from the late 800s and built for two women – a Viking queen and her maid. Unfortunately for the maid, only the queen was likely to have died at the time of the funeral. Vikings believed that their queen would need her maid with her to serve her in the afterlife and, as Lange notes, the maid didn’t have much choice in the matter.
Happily, Lange and company get to experience a more benign Viking tradition when they travel to the Lofoten Islands. Here, they’re treated to an authentic lunch in a chieftain’s house at the Lofotr Viking Museum – complete with stories, songs, dancing and, of course, mead. “I know what’s gonna be in it,” Lange says of the meal. “Lamb and potatoes! But at the end, we’ll be Vikings!”
The Viking era is just a small part of the history that Norway has to offer. At the Lofoten Islands, the group also visits the idyllic Arctic fishing village of Svolvær. The rugged archipelago of the Lofoten Islands consists of thousands of islands, only seven of which are inhabited by humans. Yet their location has helped locals create an open and welcoming culture.
Tour guide Erik Fokke, himself a transplant from the Netherlands, explains “here on Lofoten they’re used to strangers, because during a fishing season in the winter, thirty thousand to forty thousand fishermen came from all over Norway to Lofoten. So here, for hundreds of years, they are used to strangers.”
This particular group of strangers spends a night under the stars, marveling at the Northern Lights before moving on to Norway’s second biggest city, the bustling and beautiful harbor town of Bergen. From there, they’re treated to one of Norway’s most iconic sights, as they embark on a cruise passing rugged waterfalls and majestic fjords. While words fail to capture the beauty of these natural wonders, the season finale of Windows to the Wild captures these breathtaking sights with long, uninterrupted takes for the viewer to enjoy.
Learn more about Trekking in Norway on the next episode of WINDOWS TO THE WILD, airing Wednesday, May 15, at 7:30 pm or go online to see all the episodes at nhpbs.org/windows.
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