Friday, May 6, 2011

Up North - The first of 25 years

After 3 days on the road I reached the little coastal town of Molde about 300 miles north of the country's capital, Oslo. This was to be my home base for years to come. My job was as a stage technician at the local theater. After being introduced to the members of the group I was shown the work shop where all the technical backdrop for theater performances was build.

Molde is a beautiful town with a stunning view of over 80 mostly snow-capped mountain tops, a wide deep-blue fjord and a fresh atmosphere for a new-comer like me.
View across the Romsdals Fjord with Molde down below

After a few weeks in a cabin I found a place to live outside of town. My job gave me enough time to explore the surroundings. I climbed local mountain tops, went hiking along the rugged beach, and in late summer picked blueberries so I had enough for the entire winter. 

Our Crew in 1978
In the fall and before the first snow, the whole theater crew went traveling throughout the province. All technical 

equipment was stored in the rear of a bus, while we, the crew, were placed in the front. We traveled around every fjord, to every city and town which had a name of its own, and I learned Norwegian faster than I had ever expected.

One time we were booked onto an island way out from shore. That year a construction project for a bridge to the little island was underway. Before that, the crew had to unload the entire stage equipment onto a fish-trawler which brought the stuff across the channel. But that year we should avoid that extra work. We had phoned ahead and even though the bridge wasn't quite finished we should be able to cross over.

When we got across the bridge, the approach OFF the bridge was NOT finished yet, but construction workers knew how to help us across. They found a few strong wood planks and put those across the gap.
Now it was the challenge for the bus driver to make it across. For safety, all passengers had to leave the bus.

We must have had a good driver, as he made it across without running off the planks.

The Islanders, mostly fisher families, sure appreciated the play that evening. 

After the performance we stowed everything away in the bus and made it back to the bridge. It was pitch dark, and cautiously we got to the gap, which still hadn't been filled up. Looking for the wood planks we found them thrown aside in the darkness. Carefully, we placed them across the gap and one of us had to direct the rig over to the safety of the bridge. When the bus was almost across we heard some cracking noise. The planks were about to break on one side. We shouted to the bus driver to hurry up and he must have put the pedal to the metal as the bus jumped forward and the planks were catapulted out from under the rear wheels.

When the dust settled we found the bus safely on the bridge. We were all relieved and found a good nights sleep in our hotel beds an hour later.

Aerial view of  Molde

Read more tomorrow;  Winter in Norway

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