I recently posted a picture of king Harald that I took myself - today I've got a picture of queen Sonja which I did not take but which is almost even cooler. Lookee:
This was published today in the online edition of Østlendingen, a local paper in the East Valley (maybe in the paper edition too, I don't know). The article is here. In Norwegian, sorry. But hey, I can translate:
Last night Mille Nørstenget, Hilde Fridtun Øyen and Storm Øyen were honored by both the Queen and the Tourist Association for their efforts at Bjørnhollia in Rondane.
-The managers put in an extraordinary effort. They're quite fantastic, said queen Sonja about her encounters with Bjørnhollia some years ago.
The Queen presented the merit badge of the Norwegian Tourist Association Oslo & Hinterland to Storm Øyen, Hilde Fridtun Øyen and Mille Nørstenget for their efforts at Bjørnhollia in Gamle Logen in Oslo last night.
-It's good to be appreciated, and it's quite special to have queen Sonja present [the badge], said Mille, Hilde and Storm.
For three generations the Øyen family were hosts at the popular mountain resort. Yesterday the last generation was rewarded with merit badges and diplomas. Chairman Knut Støren of the Tourist Association's Oslo branch also praised the three.
-Mille, Hilde and Storm have in every respect been excellent representatives for the Association and its managers, and not least have put in a sterling effort, said Støren.
Yesterday's presentation came as something of a surprise to the recipients, as it's been ten years since they served their last at Bjørnhollia, but the merit badge is not presented every year. It was last presented in 1984. The merit badge was presented for the first time in 1938, and no more than about 40 people have been awarded one.
Her Majesty queen Sonja was a guest at Bjørnhollia [on several occasions, one of them in 1985]. She arrived slightly out of season.
-But she was like most people, said Storm.
-I have very good memories from Bjørnhollia. Twice I've walked through Rondane and seen nothing until I came to Bjørnhollia. When I got there I bought postcards, said the Queen, smiling.
-Hiking lets you recharge your batteries, use your body and senses and get into shape, and nature is a treasure chest, she said.
Bjørnhollia was purchased by the Tourist Association in 1941. Hanna and Johannes Øyen were the first managers. Jenny and Hans Øyen took over from them in 1959. In 1972 Storm Øyen became manager. Starting in 1985 he and his wife Hilde Fridtun Øyen held the fort together.
-I consider the merit badge as honoring Storm's parents and grandparents as well. I myself didn't spend more than 20 years at Bjørnhollia, said Hilde.
Mille Nørstenget, Storm's sister, was the cook at Bjørnhollia for 42 years and was also essential to other areas of work there. Siblings Mille and Storm grew up with the tourist resort.
The last managers from the Øyen family felt that in the end they had to choose between the farm they run and their managerial work.
-It was exhausting. The role of manager demanded your attention morning, noon and night, and something constantly needed doing in whichever place you weren't, said Storm.
If there's one thing the Øyens miss, it's the wonderful staff and the friendly guests.
-There were lots of nice people we'd meet, and the socializing with other managers was also very nice, said Storm.
Although they quit as managers, they still have plenty of contact with mountain hikers and with Bjørnhollia. They have a shieling at Bjørnhollia which they use every summer.
-Plenty of people stop by to see us, said Hilde.
So this is so cool, because these are my relatives. :-) Mille and Storm are my mother's cousins. You may remember that I blogged about Bjørnhollia back in August. If not, you can take a look at the post again, here. And I wrote about my family's history in the area here. So ... this was nice. I knew they were getting the badge, but I don't think I heard that the queen would be presenting it. Nice. :-)
The picture shows, literally left to right, Mille shaking the queen's hand, Hilde, Storm, the queen, three non-random people who are totally unknown to me.
4 hours ago