On Tuesday morning we got up, ventured out (without the super-stroller!!!), caught a train, and in a little over 2 hours, we were in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Røros, a well-preserved old copper mining town with many buildings from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
The train was full of people headed for Røros since it was the opening day of the Rørosmartnan, a traditional winter market and festival. (I might also mention that several of the Røros-bound passengers were having a *good* time with flasks of various shapes and sizes containing rather pungent-smelling spirits…aquavit?) The Rørosmartnan is a big deal, and there was an elaborate opening ceremony (which we just missed). At some point during the ceremony, the forbønder — some from Norway and some from Sweden — rode in to town and through the ceremony. I wish I had seen this.
From a forbonde’s blog: Forbonde loosely translates to a travelling or trading farmer who was transporting goods in a sleigh called Fora. For- and Fora is likely related to the verb Fara (travel), which you find in the english word farewell, and possibly the swedish verb forsla (transport). The latter part of the word bonde (farmer) is the same you recognize in the english word husband.
We did see some of these folks wandering around town. They are rather conspicuous in their huge animal pelt coats, hats, and boots, and traditional embellishments. We saw one sleigh being pulled by a horse, and we saw several horses without their sleighs. They are SO fuzzy and gorgeous!
Anyway, here’s the story of our day. First, the train with yet more beautiful views of the Norwegian countryside. The entire day was sunny and (mostly) clear. It was one of those winter days when it’s impossible not to love being out in the crisp, cold air.
The self-serve warm drinks station on the train:
Some views from the train:
Most of the passengers on the train disembarked when we got to Røros, although the train didn’t terminate there.
NB: Mama was the pack horse for the day due to previously mentioned back injury sustained by Daddy while on skis in the mountains. She was wearing the backpack, the child carrier, and a lumbar pack with water bottles for the kids.
It was a very short walk to the main part of town where the market stalls lined the streets.
This town is so happy looking, so jolly and colorful, it just begs for a street fair!
There are yards (I guess we might call them courtyards) behind some of the buildings where the forbønder set up with their sleighs and horses, with yet more merchants selling foods or goods. There was SO much to see, I think we just scratched the surface.
Here are the forbønder we saw on the street during our meanderings.
You could find just about anything you could imagine at the merchant stalls. There were several stalls selling cured sausages: elk, reindeer (which we tried — it’s a little weird with lots of clove in it!), beef, pork, moose, etc.
Furs, pelts, old fur coats, new fur coats, hats, boots, moccasins, and just about anything else you could do with a pelt.
Tons of knitwear. Mostly wool, of various species. This woman was spinning angora. We bought some goatswool socks from a Russian lady.
Lots of prepared foods including sweet things like Belgian waffles and various kinds of pancakes.
Kakao (hot cocoa), and lots and lots of Gløgg (mulled wine).
We wished we’d tried an Elk burger.
We did have some hot sausages. Delicious!
In addition to perusing the market stalls, we made our way over to the Slegghaugan (slag heap) that is literally right on the edge of town (the older houses go right up to it!) and climbed. We were rewarded with stunning views of the town and surrounding countryside. It was postcard perfection!
Oh how the twins love the snow! This was their favorite part of the day, I think.
We walked by the museum (which we unfortunately did not have time to visit) in the old smelting hut.
On our way back into the main part of town, we walked by some of the oldest houses, nearest to the mine. The very packed and snowy roads were extremely slippery! I was so glad to have my Sorels!
These houses apparently have living grass roofs. We almost wouldn’t have known, for the snow!
Lots of snowdrifts…
We also visited the church. It dates to the late Eighteenth Century, and Wikipedia claims that it is the fifth largest in all of Norway!
After about 3 hours of meandering, climbing, sliding through slippery streets, and getting cold toes (it was -6 deg C when we arrived), the kids were wearing down, and so, frankly, were we!
It was such a wonderful place and I didn’t want to leave, but what a sensory overload. We grabbed some final items from the market stalls and headed for the train station to catch a late afternoon train back to Trondheim.
One of the last things we did before hopping back on the train was to enjoy a cup of gløgg, in a commemorative Røros clay cup. These are nice keepsakes and the gløgg was delightful!
Charlie and Flora really did great in the snowy, busy outdoors for such a long time (sans stroller!), so we rewarded them with giant lollypops.
Charlie wanted to see if his tongue would turn blue.
Flora got through hers in no time, and then we were on to other snacks like dried apples and rice cakes. When in Norway, pack snacks!
I realize that this blog post is epically long. And I realize there are a TON of photos. Believe me, there were at least twice as many when I started! We had so many gorgeous photos and memories of this place. I am thinking of putting the sleigh ride from Sweden to Røros on my bucket list. This is a place that definitely affects a profound desire to return. I hope we can some day.