Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pilgrim Loft Refuge at Jar

July 18, 2009

My first visit to Nord Sel Kommune in 1991 was memorable. Bicycle traveling with my younger sister Lisa from Kristiansand to Trondheim, quite by chance we rolled down a gravel mountain road into the town. It was amazing to me but as we reached the town’s outskirts, I turned to Lisa and said, “This reminds me of the setting of ‘Kristin Lavransdatter’”, Denmark born Sigrid Undset’s Nobel literature prize winning trilogy. Sure enough there in front of the soberly Christian Sel Kirke was a statute of fictional Kristin. Between 1885 and 1917, Undset had paid many visits to this upper Gudbrandsdal community and her Kristin’s saga is set here. In 1996 a syndicate reconstructed Kristin’s Sel farm “Jar” here for use in the filming of “The Bridal Wreath”, the first of the trilogy stories. The compound's 15 buildings include a church which is spectacularly burned in a climactic scene. The now rebuilt church and farm buildings are today part of the permanent Jørundgard Middelaldersenter living museum. The Olav’s Way pilgrim route walks right in among them. When the museum closes for the day at 5 p.m. and staff and visitors leave, pilgrims like me (!) can remain on the grounds the sole overnight occupants of an early 14th century village. I had the Spartan comfort of its “Langeloftet” all to myself. Alas, familiarity with the surroundings didn’t help this morning as I set out in light rain. It took me 45 minutes to find the way marks out of town.

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