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Report 582: An Independent Driving Tour of Europe - 2001

By JaniceB from Ontario, Canada, Spring 2001

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Page 7 of 15: Kristiansand, Norway

May 19, 2001 03:59

This morning we made it to our early plane at the Amsterdam airport in time. Of course, since it’s Saturday, we didn’t have to deal with too much traffic. We flew first to Copenhagen and then, on another plane, to Kristiansand. Mom was a little freaked out by the landing – there were rather severe cross winds and we sort of landed sideways!

Hans Beurling and his wife, Anna-Karin, met us at the airport with lots of hugs and welcome. Their house is only a few kilometers from the airport. The landscape here is just like Muskoka only with slightly bigger hills. We feel very much at home.

We spent the first hour or so sharing details about our families and what we knew of the Beurling history. One very interesting thing Hans shared was some oral history about Fredrik Hassels Beulink, our mutual g-g-g-grandfather (the one I mentioned yesterday). Fredrik Hassels emigrated from Holland to Sweden about 1810. I knew this. However, the Beurlings here talk about how he smuggled himself onto a ship and entered Sweden illegally. That’s the stuff family history is made of!

The Beurling family here knew that one branch of the family had gone to Canada. Hans also knew that the father in that family had a bad arm. Well, my g-g-grandfather, Gustaf Ferdinand Beurlingk, had lost an arm as a young man and is the one who brought his family to Canada. So, although we knew our branches were connected (because of dates and names we’d already collected), this sort of confirmed it for us emotionally. We feel very comfortable with them. We're staying with family!

Hans’ youngest son, Steinar, reminds us very much of Steven Beurling when he was a teenager. Steven, remember when you had big hair? That’s what Steinar looks like right now, only he has dark brown hair and eyes. Pictures of him as a toddler also make me think of Anne Beurling.

These Beurlings (at least Hans and his family) are shorter than we are. Hans is about my height or maybe a little taller than me (5’8”) and they laughingly call themselves The Pygmy Family.

We’ve also noticed in photographs that Hans’s father (who died a few years ago) had the same ears that the Canadian Beurlings usually have – big! Hans himself missed out on that privilege.

Hans’ father and his father’s two brothers have all passed away in the last couple of years. At least two died of cancer. The saddest note is that the last uncle was buried the day before we arrived. He was looking forward to our visit. Hans and Anna-Karin took us to the cemetery yesterday where their family is buried. We saw the graves of about seven or eight Beurlings, including their g-grandfather Karl Alfred, the brother of my g-grandfather, Gustaf Ferdinand. Gustaf Ferdinand is buried in Coquitlam, British Columbia.

Later in the afternoon, Hans and Anna-Karin took us into downtown Kristiansand, a town about the size of Barrie. We walked about on the pedestrian streets and then down by the harbour. We stopped at an outdoor café to have a late lunch of fish soup (blue mussels, shrimp, salmon) that was wonderful. It was sunny but cool and windy so soup hit the spot!

We had a late supper with Hans and family, including his daughter, Torunn (pronounced Too-rrrrrun) and her boyfriend. It turns out the boyfriend, Ken, was in Australia last fall at the same time as me.

Mom nearly fell asleep right on the sofa – of course, we were watching Dad’s videos at the time – so we headed for bed. (Dad says that if you need a good sleep he’d be glad to show you his videos when we get home.) We did find out at that point that Hans has the Beurling sleep gene! He can fall asleep at any time, anywhere.

We’ll let you know how the family reunion goes. We’re going to that tomorrow morning. They’re holding it in the barn of a local mansion. I guess it’s a facility that is rented out for events like this. It’s by a river and sounds very attractive.

Love to all!

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