As we were driving through the northern parts of Norway on our holiday, we happened to pass by Alstahaug church in Nordland just around midnight. As we meant to drive a bit further before finding a place for the night, we just as well had a walk around the old stone church, build in the 1100’s in the middle of the night.
Although not being a very religious person, I have always found old churches very interesting and intriguing. I guess it’s because of their long history, everything they’ve seen and everything that has happened on their premises.
The church at Alstahaug was, as mentioned built in the 1100’s, and made famous in Norway by being the workplace and place of death of the well known priest, poet and folklore topic Petter Dass (1647-1707).
This was a lovely time of the day to be wandering around the churchyard. So peaceful and quiet, no one there but the two of us. Oh, and a very friendly cat we encountered, who gladly stopped for cuddles.
I always have a slightly eerie feeling walking around churchyards though, and it certainly wasn’t better being in the middle of the night!
Just thinking about all those long-forgotten memories, thoughts and stories buried in the ground beneath my feet, many of them maybe never told. All the lives that once were, who were they and how did they live? What happened to them?
And more specifically; what happened to the three young sisters that lies in front of the church who all died within a week, the eldest barely eleven years old?
What a tragedy for the poor family.
I am very easily moved when wandering like this, sometimes with a big lump in my throat. Does anyone still remember the people who died decades ago, remember their features and how they were? And all the people who died centuries ago, who’s become just a name on a stone..
These are the thoughts that wander through my head as I walk among the tombstones, curious as always, and a little bit sad. Daily life in the past has always interested me, and sometimes I actually envy those names on the stones because they got to live it, to know how it was to live a hundred, or maybe two hundred years ago. Weird, I know.
The northern parts of Norway are very bright at this time of year, due to the very famous midnight sun.
We didn’t go far enough to see the sun itself during the night though, but the sky remained bright nonetheless. More like a never ending sunset..