This week, King Harald and Queen Sonja are visiting western parts of their kingdom. This is the first time the queen has taken part in engagements after she had to cancel her participation during the State Visit from South Korea last week due to an infection in her leg. On Tuesday, the king and queen visited the two municipalities, Jondal and Odda. Five municipalities in Hordaland are to be visited, and on Wednesday, the visit continued to Granvin and Ulvik. The King and Queen are using the Royal Yacht “KS Norge” as a base during the journey.
The second day of the Royal Couple’s county tour started at Granvin Guest Bridge. From the pier, the royals went to Granvin village hall, where a grand party was held to honour the visit. While the royals walked around, they had the opportunity to speak to residents and get to know the people of Granvin. They met young members of Granvin Youth Council and some of the local farmers.
Traditional folk music is strong in Granvin, and this was something the King and Queen got to learn more about as Alexander Aga Røynstrand told about the history of the folk music in Granvin. In addition the royals got to hear some of the local musical traditions.
Queen Sonja gave a speech where she said: “Thank you so much for the warm welcome the King and I have got here in Granvin! And the wonderful weather you’ve taken the chance on. Not a tent! You are optimists, and that’s good. Sailing with the Royal Yacht into Hardanger itself is one of the most beautiful things I can imagine.”
The King and Queen also got the chance to visit the Havaas historical collection, before travelling on to the people in Ulvik. In Ulvik the royals was transported to the grand reception at the local gardening school. Agriculture and fruit cultivation, side production and tourism create a good basis for living in Ulvik.
In his speech, King Harald said: “The Queen and I have been looking forward to coming to Ulvik on our county tour in Hordaland. Here it is beautiful! Ulvik is a small village, innermost in the fjord – but attractive to a whole world. Ever since the 19th century, tourists have come here by boat, on the road, on foot or on skis. Ulvik’s history gives you an advantage in meeting new times.”
The royal couple saw a great cultural show in Ulvik, where both the Cultural School and the Haugesenteret performed. Hjelnes gardening school has the only education in Norway for “tree planters”. Queen Sonja therefore planted an oak tree on Hjeltnes as a reminder of the royal visit. The day was concluded with a dinner for the King and Queen at Brakane’s hotel before the royals retuned to the royal yacht.