We were scheduled on a midday train to leave Flam for Oslo, but I simply couldn't go.
I pleaded with Mark to agree to change our itinerary for this gem here: Borgund Stave Church.
I had always wanted to see a stave church, and only a couple dozen are left in the world. This one is the best-preserved, built sometime between 1180 and 1250 A.D.
We had to go.
I got my way, bless his heart. :)
My love of stave churches was born at EPCOT, where Mark and I dated on the weekends with our seasonal passes while I was in high school. In Norway (at EPCOT--follow me here...) there is a replica of Gol Stave Church, which we saw in Oslo at the Open-Air Folk Museum, where it had been relocated from Gol.
Borgund Stave Church was almost identical to the Gol Stave Church (see our visit to Gol Stavkirke HERE).
Below is the stave church I love so dearly at EPCOT:
But there's nothing like visiting a REAL one in its natural, ancient setting.
It was a marvel to behold.
The church had intricate carvings evoking snakes and dragon gargoyles to frighten evil spirits. And under the floorboards, unbaptized infants (who were unfit for burial in the churchyard--imagine what Jesus would say about that!) were secretly entombed to be a bit nearer to heaven.
Check out those dragons!
A separate church (red one) was built nearby in 1868, which is where the Borgund Parish meets today. This odd building in front is a bell tower.
There was a wedding to be held within this magnificent ancient wonder. They began setting up chairs and the Sacrament shortly after we'd arrived.
The church has a strong odor of linseed oil and the tar that's slathered all over the wood to preserve it. Because it's built on rock, the church doesn't rot.
I'm so grateful for those extra hours in the fjords to really take in the spirit of Norway.
Even if it meant getting into Oslo past midnight :)