Lifestyle

GALLERY: Norwegian romance rekindled 20 years later online

Carrie Giroux and Idar Kvam rekindled their romance after 20 years by finding for each other on Facebook.
Carrie Giroux and Idar Kvam rekindled their romance after 20 years by finding for each other on Facebook. Lisa Benoit

THE train was on an incline, about to tackle its route through the Norwegian mountains.

It only took 30 seconds in a tunnel for the landscape on the other side to take my breath away.

We were at the top of a mountain with snow surrounding us.

With my face stuck to the window, I couldn't believe we were in a completely new environment.

Within seconds, white snow replaced the greenery and was now covering the mountain.

I was on the Flam Railway and soon enough we were descending the mountain again, with our sights turning to greenery and waterfalls rushing down cliffs.

The train left us at the entrance of the Sognefjord Fjords and a boat ride would soon bring us deeper into the fjords with mountains towering over us.

I was just a tiny speck at the very bottom of these snow-capped mountains, with the blue sky peeking through as if to let me know it was still there.

The mountains dominated a quaint village in Fjaerland where the boat had left us, with one store and a road going through the town centre.

Despite being August, there was still a chill in the air, which led me to yearn for a cup of tea. A hotel, which looked like it was out of an old movie, stood in front of me and I headed straight in.

I stepped into Hotel Mundal, which was built in 1891, and went straight to order my cup of tea from the woman behind the counter. As soon as she spoke, I knew she was Canadian.

Being from Canada as well, I knew we would have plenty to speak about; but it wasn't what we had in common that captured my attention, it was my curiosity of how a woman from Alberta, Canada, ended up in a Norwegian town thousands of miles away?

The answer was simple. It was love.

Carrie Giroux first came to Norway in 1981 as a 20-year-old who was visiting her sister studying at university.

A girls' night out saw them end up in a bar where Idar Kvam was the DJ.

The pair had a connection straight away and spent time together before Carrie headed back to Canada.

She decided to write to Idar to keep in touch, and penned several letters.

"I came home to Canada and tried writing to him but I never heard back, so I thought that was it," Carrie said.

More than 20 years later, Carrie decided to take a chance on her lost love.

With Facebook sweeping the globe in 2008, she sent a message to a man named Idar Kvam, hoping he would answer.

As fate would have it, he did. Carrie and Idar, who had both been previously married and had children, were now single and eager to rekindle their long-lost romance.

"That was just fantastic when I got the Facebook message," Idar said.

"I remember her message… it said are you the Idar?"

It turns out Idar didn't get any of Carrie's letters and the couple had wondered about each other for nearly three decades.

It didn't take long for the couple to reunite and start a life together.

It was a trip to Norway last year that saw them take a chance on a rare opportunity.

On a visit to Fjaerland to see Idar's family, the couple passed Hotel Mundal with a for sale sign in the window.

"We always spoke about having a little B&B, maybe in Spain or the Caribbean," Carrie said.

The couple just missed out on buying the property, but have an agreement with the new owner that they will manage it until it leads to eventual ownership.

They say there is a bit of work ahead of them to reach their dream for the hotel in Fjaerland, as they have some renovation plans.

At the moment the hotel closes in the winter months, allowing the couple to spend time back in Canada in Carrie's home province.

They are still awestruck how nearly 27 years after their first glance at each other in a bar in Oslo, they have now had the chance to form a life together.

Carrie and Idar said in their time apart they often crossed each other's minds.

"Everything happens for a reason, we each have amazing children from our previous relationships, but it was meant to be this way," Carrie said.

That is a love story I will always remember when I think of my time in a small village tucked away in the breathtaking Norwegian Fjords.

Topics:  holiday norway romance travel



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