Author's warning (addressed at people who have already read my reports of the trips to Rosendal in 2013 and 2015): Reading this report might - in some parts - evoke feelings of déjà-vu.
After the last concert of Kari Bremnes' German tour in Hannover last year, Burkhard had a conversation with her sound engineer Geir Østensjø in which he mentioned that he had seen Kari already twice at the Barony in Rosendal and that he considered travelling to this special place again in 2017, of course in order to attend Kari's concerts there. Geir encouraged Burkhard to do so, so he could experience her live at the new concert venue which had been built there and for which Geir was full of praise.
Since it was very unlikely that Kari would be playing any concerts in Germany in 2017 - not only because she has been touring here only once in every two years since 2010, but also because she was working on her new album - the decision for Burkhard was easy: there was going to be another trip to Rosendal.
As the ticket-sale in previous years hadn't started before March, Burkhard was caught a little bit by surprise when another fan told him already in December that the ticket-sale for Kari Bremnes' concerts in Rosendal - there were two - had just started. Now Burkhard had to be quick, because just like the first time in 2013, he wanted to buy the special tickets which also contained accommodation and breakfast at the Avlsgård- and Fruehus plus three-course-dinner after the concert. The number of these packages is limited and usually sells out fast. Two years ago, Burkhard had been too late when he wanted to buy these package-tickets, and one night at the Rosendal Fjordhotell (where we stayed in 2015 instead) cost about as much as (or even more than) what he would have had to pay for the entire package for one day. Luckily, this time Burkhard managed to buy the package-tickets in time. Just a few days later, they were all sold out.
As soon as the tickets were bought, it was clear that he wouldn't travel alone, but that Dwarf Vader, Bjørkisen and I would accompany him as we had done on his previous trips to Norway.
Burkhard had wondered if there would be any other concerts he could include in this trip - four years ago he had been lucky, because there were four concerts by Kari in a row. This time he had thought about adding Kari's concert at the Ravnedalen-Festival in Kristiansand on July 22nd, which took place three days before the first of her two concerts in Rosendal, but the price for the ferry-transfer with the Fjordcat from Hirtshals to Kristiansand on that day (it was a Saturday) was about 330 Euros and thus about three times as much as what you usually have to pay, so this plan was dismissed.
What Burkhard only found out a few weeks before our trip - and after he had already booked the ferry-transfers and the other hotels on our way - was that Mari Boine, another one of his favourite Norwegian singers, played a concert at the Barony Rosendal just the day after Kari's second concert and that another day later, Ketil Bjørnstad would also play there - bad timing!
On our way to Norway, Burkhard wanted to take the ferry from Hirtshals to Bergen just like two years ago. Since it leaves at 8 p.m. and you never know how many traffic jams you might have on a distance of about 940 km which might delay your arrival, Burkhard decided it was better and more relaxing to spend one night in a hotel in northern Germany before continuing our trip to Hirtshals the next day, just as we had done two years ago.
On July 22nd, our trip eventually started at 1 p.m. Even though it was highway all the way, it took 7 hours to cover the distance of about 540 km, partly due to three stops Burkhard made to take a rest in order to avoid getting too tired and partly due to some traffic jams. This time, we stayed at the Hotel Salz & Pfeffer in Oeversee, as the Hotel Westerkrug in Wanderup, where we had stayed on our previous trips to Norway, had already been fully booked when Burkhard finally decided to book our hotel in northern Germany.
On our trip to Oeversee we had had a mix of sunny and cloudy weather, but when Burkhard had breakfast the next morning, it suddenly began raining cats and dogs.
View from the bathroom of our accommodation in Oeversee on the evening of our arrival and the next morning before our departure.
We left Oeversee at 11 a.m. and it kept on raining - with a few short interruptions here and there - until we eventually arrived in Hirtshals at 4.30 p.m. Two years ago, it had been sunny weather in Hirtshals, thus Burkhard had been able to walk around a bit and take some pictures while waiting for our ferry. Not so this time. We had to stay inside the car until we were on the ferry, which was at about 8 p.m.
Waiting in the rain - luckily inside the car.
Since it wasn't possible to take pictures outside on the ship because of the bad weather, Burkhard headed directly for the Fjord Lounge at the front of the ship, took some pics when the ferry left the harbour and watched the interactive entertainment programme for children about a character named Fjordy, which took place in Fjord Lounge.
After we had returned to our cabin, we suddenly heard some noises under Burkhard's bed and when Bjørkisen had a look what it was, he said: "Blind passengers!" "We are not blind, we can see you very well!" they replied. It seemed they both were Royals. In the case of the woman, it was quite obvious, since she was wearing a crown. "I'm the Queen of Hearts", she said, upon which Burkhard mumbled: "Not to be confused with the chancellor of the hearts." "What?" "Oh, nothing. Just a random thought crossing my mind."
The guy was wearing a long cape, just like mine, but in white and with different decorations. Since he was dressed entirely in white, Dwarf asked him: "Are you a druid or some kind of wizard?" "No, though considering that I used to be a singer and that music can also have some kind of magical effect, wizard isn't perhaps that far off, but you may just call me the King." "Kong? Haha, just kidding. But seriously, don't you have a proper name?" "Yes, but I prefer to stay incognito." "Then you must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, pal, because this is the ferry from Hirtshals to Bergen and definitely not Cognito. Well, maybe in some parallel universe it is, who knows." "Incognito means anonymous", explained Burkhard. "So he's one of those hackers?" "What are 'hackers'?", asked the King.
"Have you been living under a rock the last decades or what? By the way, how did you end up here in our cabin?" "I don't really know. Someone must have imagined us. A very strong field of imagination suddenly sucked us in and we eventually materialized right here." "What a weirdo!" remarked Dwarf. "Don't call me weirdo!" "Not you. I meant the guy who imagined you! Well, since you are here now and mentioned you were a singer, how about singing us a little ditty?" "Of course, why not? It's a song from the early years of my career and it's called 'Groundhog'." "'Ground hog'? That sounds brutal, man!"
The King sat down and - only for this performance - put on the crown of the Queen of Hearts. We enjoyed the song, but Dwarf seemed a bit disappointed with the lyrics. He said that he had expected something gorier.
Afterwards, Dwarf had to show our unexpected guests his sophisticated recliner chair. When it was time to go to bed, I offered the Queen of Hearts to sleep in my bed.
The next morning, the King and the Queen of Hearts had disappeared. Remembering the King's explanation how they suddenly appeared, I can only suspect that the field of imagination must have died down while Burkhard was asleep and thus our guests dematerialized again.
When we arrived at Stavanger at about 6.30 a.m. the next morning, the rain had luckily stopped and it was even possible to catch a glimpse of the sun here and there.
At 6.45 a.m., it was time to pay a visit to Commander Buffet a.k.a. the breakfast room. Breakfast on the ship cost 18 Euros, thus 4 1/2 times as much as what Burkhard had had to pay for breakfast at our hotel the day before. In case anyone should wonder, if Burkhard is now starting his day with a glass of wine early in the morning, let me tell you that Burkhard is still a teetotaller and the red liquid in the glass you see in the picture above is actually just cranberry juice. If you have got to pay that much money for breakfast, you should also try some of the more exotic stuff available.
After breakfast, we went back to the cabin where Bjørkisen had already unfolded the map of Bergen thus we could study the way to our hotel - travelling through the centre of Bergen with all those one-way roads is a bit tricky. Burkhard had booked the same hotel where we had stayed two years ago on our way back from Rosendal, the Hotel Park Bergen, since we had enjoyed our stay there.
Bjørkisen was already full of excitement and he showed this by putting his fingers between his toes.
Already at 10 a.m., we had to leave our cabin and bring our luggage down to the car, even though it was still about 2 1/2 hours until our arrival in Bergen. Why? Well, you can't seriously expect all the cabins to be cleaned and the bedclothes to be changed just within the short period of time when the passengers on the ship are disembarking, can you?
After putting the luggage into the car, we had to leave the car deck again and Burkhard went to the front of the ship to take some more pics. At first it was still very cloudy, but the closer we got to Bergen the more blue sky was to been seen.
On the way to Bergen, the ferry also passes by Bergen's airport to the right, which lies close to the sea, thus you see aeroplanes getting down.
We arrived in Bergen - as planned - at 12:30 and checked in at our hotel about half an hour later.
Afterwards, Burkhard went down to the centre of Bergen to have something to eat and buy some stamps at the main post office and he checked several book-stores to see if they had any books of his favourite Norwegian comic series, Kollektivet, available, but without success.
Earlier this year, the first movie to feature Kari Bremnes as an actress, "Kings Bay", had been shown in Norwegian cinemas. Knowing that it had already been released on DVD (only in Norway, though), Burkhard went to Platekompaniet's store and they did in fact have it. Even though "Kings Bay" is a political thriller and thus a far cry from Burkhard's favourite movie genre - comedies -, he bought a copy. It was sold at a discounted price, NOK 99.00, thus nearly a steal, at least by Norwegian standards.
The next destination was Outland. Before his trip to Norway, Burkhard had found out that there's also a big comic bookstore in the centre of Bergen called Outland. And after noticing on their website that they had some of the books of Kollektivet he was looking for available, he had written them an e-mail asking to put them aside thus he could fetch them when he was in Bergen. After entering the store, Burkhard didn't immediately pick up the books he had ordered, but first went down into the basement to have a look around what else was available. In addition to a huge selection of comics in Norwegian and English, they had also what could be described as an AFOL's paradise.
For those of you who should now wonder "What the heck is a fool's paradise and why is it written in capital letter's with one "o" missing?", let me tell you that AFOL is not a misspelling of "a fool", nor is it a new abbreviation like ROFL or LOL you might use to express a feeling in online communication or when sending messages. And even though its pronunciation might sound similar to the word "offal" - it has even the same letters, though in a different order and minus one "f" -, it has a completely different meaning, namely "Adult Fan of Lego". Thus what I mean by "AFOL's paradise" is that they had a lot of - also huge and already retired - Lego-sets, e.g. the second Arkham Asylum from the Superheroes series and the Tower of Orthanc from the retired Lord of the Rings-series. Burkhard didn't check it all, but he remembered that the price-tag of the latter was NOK 3,999.00. Near the counter, they also had bags of several already retired CMF-series - CMF means collectable minifigures - available.
Thus in addition to the three books of Kollektivet which he had ordered beforehand - volumes 9 to 11 -, Burkhard couldn't resist and also bought a couple of bags from the retired CMF-series no. 14, featuring different kinds of monsters/ghosts. The price of NOK 29.00 per bag (figure) seemed rather moderate considering that the price for figures of the current series in Germany is now €3.99.
Since you can't see which figure is in which bag, it does take some time to "feel" which figure is in which bag, if you are looking for specific figures and want to avoid duplicates. You have got to feel for moulds/parts which only the figure you are looking for has got. Out of the eleven bags Burkhard bought, there was only one duplicate. Unfortunately, some of the figures Burkhard was looking for - the witch, the tiger lady, the monster with the guitar and the vampire lady - weren't available anymore.
Burkhard's haul and the list of the minifigures of series no. 14.
Back at the hotel, Burkhard wrote some postcards which he planned to get signed by Kari and the other band members. Two of these postcards were addressed to two of Burkhard's favourite Norwegian metal singers who - as Burkhard knew - both also happen to like Kari Bremnes and her music. Both postcards, which Burkhard had bought a few years ago at the Munch Museum in Oslo, featured a picture of Edvard Munch's most famous painting "Skrik" and a so-called personalized stamp with a picture Burkhard had taken five years ago at Kari's concert in Oldenburg while she was singing "Skrik".
Personalized stamp featuring Kari as she is singing "Skrik".
Three years ago, Burkhard had ordered three stamp booklets with 8 of these stamps each at the Norwegian postal service. Kari got two of these booklets as a present, whereas Burkhard kept the third booklet for himself.
After he had prepared the postcards, Burkhard preferred to stay in our hotel room for the rest of the evening and read something since he was tired from walking around in the city.
From our stay in Bergen two years ago, Burkhard remembered that there was a second-hand shop run by the Norwegian Salvation Army not too far away from our hotel where he had bought some used comic magazines. Thus after breakfast the next morning, he went looking for this shop, eventually found it and bought 15 used comic magazines (mostly Pondus, a very popular comic series in Norway) for just about NOK5.00 each, which is about 10% of their original price.
Believe it or not, but the sun was shining and there were only a few clouds at the sky.
Outside of our hotel and a final group photo in our small hotel room before departure.
We left Bergen at 11 a.m. Since it was only 120 km to Rosendal and since Burkhard had been told that the check-in at our accommodation there wouldn't start before 4 p.m., we made several stops in between, the first one at the vantage point near Trengereid and the next one at Samnanger Kirke.
Déjà-vu? I did warn you, didn't I?
Followed by Eikelandsosen.
Eikelandsosen at - you guessed it - Eikelandsfjorden.
The next stop was at a vantage point in Mundheim at the Øvnefjord.
Just like two years ago, we took the ferry from Gjermundshamn to Årsnes. The slight difference this time was that the ferry didn't go directly to Årsnes, but first to Varaldsøy.
Far away you can still spot some snow-covered mountain tops at the end of July.
Don't remember which direction this was.
For those of you, dear readers, who should now ask: "What about the tunnels? You didn't mention any. Were they all gone?" let me tell you that they were all still there. If you don't remember their names and length from my report of our last trip to Rosendal two years ago, just read it once again. ;) And for those of you should ask: "Tunnels? What are you talking about?", because you haven't even read my report of our last trip to Rosendal yet, you might want to change this and read it now. ;)
We eventually arrived at the Barony Rosendal at about 3.30 p.m.
We have reached our destination.
Since breakfast was about more than six and a half hours ago and the three-course-dinner was to be served after the concert, thus about another 6 hours later, Burkhard decided to have a portion of French fries in a local restaurant, after we had checked in at Avlsgården.
At about 5 p.m., it was still about two hours until the beginning of the first concert, but since the venue of the concert, Riddarsalen (i.e. "the Great Hall"), was directly opposite to our accommodation and Burkhard had nothing better to do, he checked if you could already get inside. He was lucky. The doors to the anteroom with the cloakroom were already open.
The entrance to the anteroom of the venue is on the right side.
The anteroom was still empty, but the doors to the Riddarsal were open and it looked like the band was preparing for soundcheck. Burkhard hesitated. Suddenly, Reidar Nedrebø, one of those in charge of the Barony, came into the anteroom. Burkhard recognized him immediately from the two previous visits in 2013 and 2015, but wasn't sure if Reidar recognized him as well. He said to Reidar that he was Burkhard from Germany and that he had been at the Barony two times before (all in Norwegian, of course) and after he had shown his ticket, Reidar said that he might go in. Since Burkhard didn't want to disturb the musicians, he sat down on a seat in the last row, close to the mixing desk, after saying "hi" to Kari's sound engineer, Geir Østensjø.
After the band had rehearsed a bit, Kari appeared to join the soundcheck.
To make sure that Kari was also to be seen properly on stage, the lights had to be adjusted.
In the meantime, the doors between the anteroom and the concert hall had been closed. It's a special experience witnessing the soundcheck as the only spectator. After the soundcheck was over, it took still a while until the doors were opened. Since it wasn't Burkhard's intention to listen to the concert from the last row, he got up from his chair and went to the front row as soon as he noticed that the doors were to be opened. There he sat down right in front of Bengt's keyboard.
Some might wonder why Burkhard didn't choose the place right in the middle of the front row, but if you intend to take some pictures - as Burkhard did -, this is not a good idea, because then you always have the microphone-stand standing in the way - until the singer either moves to the left or to the right.
A few minutes after 7 p.m., thus nearly as announced, the concert started off with "E du nord", followed by "Ytterste pol" and "Glem ikkje", the first new song from Kari's - at that point of time - unreleased album "Det vi har", which came out 1 1/2 months later.
The next song, "Det einaste vi ville", was another song from the new album, though Kari had already played it live at her concerts in Rosendal two years ago.
For regular visitors of Kari's concerts, there weren't any surprises this time. The good thing about this is that you can be sure to get to hear your favourite songs, in Burkhard's case "Mann på rommet" - he really loves the current live version with a new arrangement, where those who haven't heard it yet start clapping too early, because they think the song is over, and then the band continues playing for another 30-40 seconds -, "Sangen om fyret ved Tornehamn" (the first song by Kari Bremnes Burkhard heard way back in 1999 and which got him hooked immediately), "Skrik" (Burkhard can't remember a single concert with Kari where she didn't play this song - except for the Voggesanger fra ondskapens akse-concert in 2003 in Oslo, but that was a concert of a different kind, as you can read here) and "Mitt hjerte hamrer og hamrer" (Burkhard also likes the new arrangement - compared to the one played live until 2015 - very much).
Yet there are other great songs which Burkhard hasn't heard live yet, as e.g. "Erindring", "Mørke midt på dagen" and "Melankoli" (Kari actually might have played the latter at the two concerts with Ketil Bjørnstad which Burkhard attended in Nuremberg in 2005 and at the Skåtøy Visefestival in 2011) or the incredibly beautiful "Åpent vindu" and "Moren" from Ketil Bjørnstad's album "Sunrise".
It also would have been nice to hear another two new songs - "Det kunne skjedd" and "Det må være orden" - which Kari had already played at the concerts on her German tour last year. But you can't have it all, can you? Thus for those curious about what other songs she played, I can tell you that in addition to the songs I've already mentioned, we got to hear "Heile mett hjerte", "Denne veien", "Fantastisk allerede" (or "Ederella ksitsatnaf", as Kari said in an interview in a Norwegian TV-programme a few years ago when it was revealed that she can speak backwards and she was asked to pronounce a few of her song titles backwards), "Gåte ved gåte", "Nytt imellom oss" and "Spor", which finished the regular set.
As encores, we got to hear her Leonard Cohen-cover "Alle vet jo det" and the already mentioned song "Mitt hjerte hamrer og hamrer".
After the concert was over, it was time for "The same procedure as every year", i.e. Burkhard waited for the "meet and greet" with Kari (which had been arranged beforehand), which allowed him to hand over the presents he had brought along (Kari's band members also got something - in case someone among them shouldn't like bitter chocolate, I'm sure Kari gladly would be willing to lend a helping hand) and get some pictures he had taken at her concert in Worpswede last year as well as the prepared postcards signed.
By the way, this concert was also a double jubilee for Burkhard, because it was his 75th concert with Kari Bremnes (also counting the Voggesanger fra ondskapens akse-concert, which wasn't a solo-concert) and his 50th with Hallgrim Bratberg as Kari's guitar-player!
Now it was time to hurry up and get to the tea room of the manor house of the Barony where the 3-course-dinner was being served. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day! The first course was salmon with carrot stripes and rocket (no, not the one that goes up into the sky). The main course consisted of beef tenderloin with red wine sauce, mashed potatoes and cherry tomatoes. And the dessert - an absolute highlight - was a chocolate tartlet filled with passion fruit ganache (I hope I got this term right - I'm not a cook or a baker), a scoop of raspberry sorbet and a few drops of red currant sauce! Could one wish for more? Of course, another one of these delicious tartlets! Alas, all the guests got just one. Well, maybe Kari got one more? She and the other band members were dining on the first floor (British English - to avoid any confusion), thus one floor above Burkhard and the other mortals.
Where the artists dine.
It was about half past 11 when Burkhard eventually got back from dinner to our accommodation. It still wasn't completely dark yet.
The illuminated entrance to our accommodation and the door to the breakfast room and the stairs up to the first floor, where our room was.
Since we were all in a very good mood, it was still too early to go to sleep. Bjørkisen wanted to try on the cool "Baroniet Rosendal"-bathroom slippers which we had found in our room.
As you might already know from some of my previous reports, Dwarf is the man with the child in his...no, not eyes, but head! (Mind the spelling and separation of the two last words! If you got this allusion - well, there are actually two -, you don't win a prize, but you may pat your own shoulder for knowing Kate Bush's song titles and remembering a former MTV-character.) Thus he came up with the idea that the bathroom slippers would make for good sleighs - at least for creatures of his or my size. Since there was no snow-covered hill in our room, he simply put two pillows on top of each other in order to create a makeshift snow-covered hill. Well, it had at least the correct colour.
Dwarf on his bathroom-slipper-sleigh sliding down a makeshift "snow-covered" hill,
group photo on Pillow Hill and three of Burkhard's favourite pics from Kari's concert in Worpswede last year, now signed by Kari.