Monday, September 30, 2013

Sogndal. Romfo Church. Octagonal Romfo Kirke. 1821

Sogndal municipality.  Sunnyvale.  Sunndal.  Is Sogndal the same as Sunndal. More og Romsdal county.  That would be both More and Romsdal. Does this interest in detail verge on the autistic, the unmeasurable end of a spectrum or bell shaped curve where some of us reside undetected for a lifetime?

Details:  There are 250 seats in this ostensibly little church.

Why a family church? There is a long tradition in cultures including our own where groups or families live in isolation much of the year, to build their own facilities, including the family graveyard.  The family church, the family compound, the family farm, the settlement.

A boom in new churches.  Since communities were stable or growing as to populations through the 1850's or so, the new churches usually replaced older ones.  With a growing economy, the older churches from the 16-1700's became too small.  New church regulations (Church Act of 1851)  required each church to provide room for 30% of the population. .In the 1800's, about 30% of the churches constructed were round, and only 30% were cruciform, cross with a long arm and shorter cross arms. The remaining 40% were traditional long church design, no cross arms. From 1850-1900, new churches numbered 623. Demolished old churches numbered 390.  A "Swiss style" of white timber was favored over Gothic. See


Various parish registers in the area go back to 1752.  There is apparently an altar piece inside that dates from 1713.  There is a St. Olav figure, and a crucifix scene with John and Mary, all predating the Reformation. See (click to translate). The church was locked when we arrived.  Norway, leave an access number please, if possible and safe.  Or post hours. Or stay reasonably open after August 31, we now see as the usual closing day barring tourists thereafter.

Many churches do not keep old graves around, but recycle if noone is there to keep it up. Eminently sensible. Pay to play.

Romfo family:  search your attics. See,_Norway


  • Mountains and car rental issue, and choices to drive in high mountains, or keep to valleys.  No hazardous-twisty-steep-switchbacky mountain range or road is safe without absolute confidence in the workings of emergency brakes.  
  • Norway tourism: Please press tental car companies to provide a summary instruction book in the language of the driver.  
    • My compact rental car came with, I suppose, a glorious state of the art little flip-lever for a parking brake. It allowed for no gradual release. It sat between the seats among other fliptops for other things, taking up a tiny space on top, and almost in disguise.  No heft as expected for a brake that could be gradually engaged and released on steep places. Is this car rolling back despite best efforts?? Yes! Stop! And then radar and buttons on the dash for parking, and all to be coordinated with timing of this or that, and an instruction book in Norwegian.  
    • By the time the few days had passed that I needed to become adept at the gadgetry, the Trollstigen was past. In retrospect, good.  Had enough of switchbacks and perpendiculars in the Alps.  So we enjoyed the Trollstigen as we passed by on the other side. Safety first.

Safe at the base of the Trollstigens. Dan he brake-checker off duty.

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