I recently returned from an incredible trip to Europe with my husband. We took a Viking Ocean Cruise, visiting Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Norway. The ship was awesome, crew amazing and tours incredible. Everyone that we met both on and off the ship were friendly and anxious to share their personal stories. If you get a chance to travel, as we did, on the Viking Star you are sure to make more than a few lasting memories. Throughout the two weeks I had to frequently recharge my phone as there were so many interesting people and places to photograph.
Prior to leaving for our trip I had finished my latest soon to be titled book. After sending it off to my editor for review, I decided that I needed a little break from writing. I was sure that I would be so busy during my travels that I wouldn’t have a chance to even consider any future storylines. But I was wrong, very wrong.
Any of you who have read my books know that I write about witches, magic and mystery. Little did I know that I would discover a magical world filled with witches, Trolls and more as we toured about.
I was especially intrigued at our last stop – Bergen, Norway. Snuggled between mountains, fjords and glaciers, Bergen is a fishing city steeped in history. Viking warriors, The Hanseatic League and the oil industry have all had a lasting effect on this port town. But I was truly surprised to find enchanting folklore and captivating mysteries tucked throughout this city and roaming freely in the hillsides of this quaint fairy-tale city by the sea.
Early inhabitants of Bergen were sure that something supernatural could be found hiding in the dark forests that surrounded their city. Thought to hide in the rocky slopes and pathways, Trolls have been a big part of the local folklore since the 13th century. Feared, revered – yet loved by many, these supernatural creatures have been included in the history of Norway for over 700 years. So much so that
local roads and byways reflect their presence from Trollstigen to Troll’s Tongue and Troll Peaks – Trolls are ever present. Magical trolls are said to roam the hillsides and I was able to capture a few with my camera as I climbed the hillsides. So many strange and alluring tales attributed to these strange looking inhabitants and I was eager to catalog as many of them as I could.
Not content with just chasing Trolls through the countryside, I came upon an ear catching conversation regarding the witches of Bergen and was soon directed to The Witch Stone (Hekse Steinen). Near the center of town, this memorial honors the 350 witches burned between 1550 and 1700. Anne Pedersdotter, perhaps one of the most famous Norwegian women accused of witchcraft, was killed for her beliefs in 1590. Her history is engaging to say the least and her presence apparently still felt in Bergen today. Locals all seem to have their own story to share of how they think witchcraft effected the history of their town. Some share remorse for the killings, others express superstition regarding witchcraft in general and a few thought it best not to speak of it at all. Interesting!
All in all I found this trip unexpectedly ripe with ideas to mine for my next book. Returning home, I couldn’t wait to get to my computer to begin. Witches, Trolls, magic and mystery – wow who knew! Little did I know just how many ideas I’d capture as I traveled throughout this exciting region. You too must take this fun filled, mind engaging journey!
The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it. When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find.
I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life, and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book.
I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.
Now that’s some fantastic research. Hope you brought that troll home. You look so cute together.
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