Diary & comments

Jules Verne´s diary – written in Norway 1861,

Extracts from the Jules Verne-diary in brown
– from Bibliothèques d’Amiens Metròpole, JV MS 12.5
Many thanks to Volker Dehs on help in transcribing.
English translation, comments and additional notes by Per Johan Moe.

Recent research into Verne’s diary indicates that the author did not follow the most commonly used route through Buskerud and Telemark. These findings challenge those books and articles that assume that Verne’s itinerary was more or less the same as that of the other French writers, Paul Riant and Jules Leclercq.

On his Scandinavian journey in 1861, Verne kept a daily log where he wrote down places, contacts, means of transportation and even details of some of his meals. This original diary is owned by the library in Amiens, France as part of the Jules Verne collection. His handwriting is very difficult to decipher and experience in reading his manuscripts is important, but possibly misunderstandings may still occur.

Very often only short phrases or key words are written down. In addition, names and places are very often spelled wrongly or ‘Gallicised’, making the text difficult to understand. Local knowledge about the route he took is essential if we are to put what he writes into the correct context. Therefore, some additional notes might help to connect the diary extracts to a Norwegian, historical setting. The aim has been to clarify which places the author visited and what contacts he had during the trip.

– And note; the included quotations from the diary is no exact translation of the diary – as The Norwegian JV-website has no expertiece in translations from French to English.

(Very soon though, the Amiens library will publish the scanned pages of the diary on the internet for everyone to read).

For each day, I present only extracts from selected parts of Verne’s text. Along the way I will try to shed some light on important elements of the author’s journey by adding a number of comments.

In some cases I find it natural to link the information to the novel The Lottery Ticket (Un Billet de Loterie), which Jules Verne wrote 25 years later. This novel is set in the same regions of Norway, and we get to know a family who run a guesthouse at Dal, close to Rjukan in Telemark. The owner is a widow, Dame Hansen. Living and working together with her at the inn, is her children Hulda and Joël. Her daughter´s fiancé Ole, a fisherman on the west coast, bought the lottery ticket no. 9672.

During the story, Hulda and Joël were invited on a trip from Dal in Vestfjorddalen down to the capital, Christiania. Their route through the counties of  Telemark and Buskerud, passed Heddal, Kongsberg and Drammen – exactly the same places Verne visited on his way to the Rjukan waterfall in 1861.

Before Jules Verne arrived in Norway, he had already spent several days in Scandinavia, after having sailed on the ship «Svea» from Lübeck in Germany to Ystad in Sweden. Together with his two travel companions, he then spent a few days in Stockholm before they crossed the southern part of Sweden on a canal boat, arriving in Gothenburgh on the 17. of July 1861. At this point we ‘enter’ the pages of the diary.

Timetable «Viken»

Wednesday July 17 – 1861
At 6 o´clock, arrive in Gothenburg, looking for a hotel; Gotha Kalane [Goetha-Kanal ?]

– a tavern, just off the street, 2 beds and a canapé (sofa)  – a tour of the city – the villas along the circular canal

Thursday July 18
02.00 Wake up – nobody coming from the agency – get up – departure –
the pier of the «Viken» – waiting – travellers – the smoke is indicative – terrible wind
-arrive at 06.00 – leave – the fjord of Göteborg – pronounced: joeteborg – bad sea –encounter delay –  At 17.00 arrive at Fredereiksvern – view of a natural port – a long pier made of wood – red wooden houses – Norwegian flags, which  the «Viken» also is flying

Arriving in Norway
These very first lines of the Norwegian part of the diary indicate that on Thursday the 18th of July, 1861, Verne travelled on board the Norwegian paddle steamship «Viken» from Gothenburg to the Norwegian port of Stavern, on the Vestfold coast. In the diary is used the old name of port; (Fredereiksvern) Friderichsvern, which still is the name of the historic naval base that can be found here. And on the map above can be seen the long pier described in the text.

On the day of Verne´s arrival, apparently there were heavy winds and seas, and the 95 nautical mile voyage across the Skagerak took eleven hours. On reaching the more sheltered waters of the Norwegian coast, Verne and his friends Aristide Hignard and Émile Lorois enjoyed a slow sailing trip through the unique archipelago of the county of Vestfold.

Thursday July 18
Peculiar navigation between cliffs of the most fantastic forms, and very little vegetation
-Rock formations resembling the shape of whales, that we barely touch [passing close by].

The captain never leaves the control bridge – arrival into the fjord – the sea is very calm.
At 18.30  dinner  –  fish, wild duck – tranquillity during dinner – French newspapers.  After dinner  – bad sea on the fjord

Navigation continues
Jules Verne is probably here describing the continuation of the voyage on board the paddle steamer through the archipelago of the Vestfold county (on the western side of the Oslo fjord), which is known to resemble his description; Scattered rocks in the sea, just off the coast – polished cliffs, washed clean, with no vegetation. Very often they are characterized as looking like half-submerged whales.

One hour after leaving Stavern, the skipper was able to choose an inshore route, that would make the voyage calmer for some time. After “Tönsberg”, though, again out in the open Oslo-fjord, once more the ship would be exposed to whatever heavy wind that might blow that day. For the sailing- and yacht minded Verne it probably was an interesting journey past the many islands and islets, calling at several ports delivering mail. The time table of the steamship company indicates these stopping points along the coast of the Oslo-fjord: Laurvig(Larvik), Wallö, Horten, Moss, Dröbak.

Friday  July 19 
02.30 in the morning, arrival at Christiania and hotel Victoria –transfer  to the Hotel du Nord. Meal served at 4.  [contact] doctor.  Bank closed,  church on the plaza – Fiat Lux on the [gaslamp, close to the entrance ?].
Wagonride and excursion – back to the hotel. Visite the doctor – dinner consisting of 3 courses – At 19.30 theatre;  “Lucie”

Arriving in Oslo
The arrivals of the mail steamer «Viken» was registered in the newspaper ‘Morgenbladet’ on a regular basis. For July 19 1861,  we find the passengers who boarded the vessel i Gothenburg specified:
«Passagerer med Dampskibet Viken
ankomne til Christiania den 19de Juli»
Fra Gøteborg: […] Lorois, Werner, Hignard»
[clearer scan to come. – To read ‘gotic’, see alphabet]
Having arrived in Oslo (Christiania) very early on the 19th, the three friends comes to the Hotel Victoria. This hotel is depicted and described in the book-version of the novel: Lottery ticket, no 9672. In this fictional text we can also read these same words: “fiat lux” which apparently could be found on a gas-lamp close to the entrance of the hotel. The Victoria was the newest, and ‘the place to stayat the time, but for some reason apparently the travel party was moved over to Hotel du Nord, which was also a very nice place. In the novel Lottery ticket the young, main characters stays some days at a hotel in Christiania. In the magazine version [Magasin d’éducation et de recreation] the text appears somewhat confusing, as it they seem to be accommodated at Hotel Victoria in chapter XVI and yet, at the Hotel du Nord in chapter XVIII. During my studies of Verne’s handwritten manuscript [ref. Musée J. Verne, Nantes, Fr.] his initial intention for the novel was verified. It reads: Hotel du Nord – as corresponds to the author’s own journey and diary 25 years earlier, in 1861.  Anyway, in the French book-version (1886, Hetzel) the characters stay at the Hotel Victoria.
[Note:  Not so in the English translations. Both in the US (Munro/Kendall tr.) and the UK (Sampson Low) editions, characters are accommodated at Hotel du Nord)
The transfer (real-life, Verne and friends), might have confused the regular newspaper registration of recently arrived travellers in the capital. As the three French guests do not appear in the columns until 3 days later:
«Anmeldte Reisende Den 22de Juli [1861] […] Advocat Lorois, Hignard og Jules Werad (sic) fra Paris, […] i Hotel du Nord »

Hotel Victoria 1880
Hotel du Nord 1890

The doctor in question could be the one that Verne tells about in his unfinished travel-book, describing the same journey to Scandinavia [Joyeuses Misères de Trois Voyageurs en Scandinavie (Paris 2003)]: During the preparations for the trip, his two friends receives a letter of introduction for a doctor in Christiania. But then again, Verne might just as well have been in need of contacting a physician.

On his first evening in the Norwegian capital we understand that the musical theatre -involved Verne choses to go and see the play “Lucie”. Most likely this refers to a performance held at the Christiania Theater those July days. In the newspaper Aftenposten on that very Friday night, we find an announcement about the Donizetti-opera: Lucie de Lammermoor. (An other possibility can be that the ‘Lucie’  who is written down in the diary refers to the actress Lucie Wolf. She was a big celebrity in those days, after she moved from Bergen to Christiania in 1854 and started performing at the Christiania Theatre.)

Saturday July 20
Rain the whole day, no going out – visit the doctor in the morning – ‘encouragément’ – dinner at 14.00 – invitation for the next day to visit the doctor at his country house.

Sunday July 21
Departure by the railway at 08.30  –  return tickets on 1.st class, going all the way to the last stop at the mouth of the river, that runs down to lake Mjösa.
Arrival at the train station at “Eidsvold”  – [and then going further down to] the steam boat  named «Dronningen» -[met by] the doctor.
‘Promenade’ in boat down to the riverfall  – the rain stops – […] – rocks and water lilies – […] view of the torrents – not very impressing. Table where one could get some coffe – going back – Norwegian dinner.

Conversation with the doctor and a professor.
In Norway, independent chambers – ‘pas de code’ – lois novelles / new laws. – promenade with the ladies down to the great waterfall. Return to the hotel – ‘adresse au professeur’

Visiting Doctor at his country home at Eidsvoll, by the lake Mjösa

As we understand, after an interesting meeting with a doctor, Verne was invited to his country house in the region of Eidsvoll or Minnesund, at the southern end of Norway´s biggest lake; Mjösa. Going there, Jules Verne travelled by the very first railroad in Norway, which had just opened (in 1854)  – going from Christiania to Eidsvoll.

At Mjösa Verne apparently saw one of the first (the 2nd) paddle-steamers in business at this lake: the  S/S «Dronningen»  [« the Queen»], and apparently they all took a walk down to the river [Vorma].
Vorma at Sundfoss, south of Lake Mjosa

On lake Mjösa still operates one of the world´s oldest fully working steampowered paddlewheel-ships.
EidsvolEidsvoll railway station - "Dronningen" on the right"

Eidsvoll railway st. Dampskipet_Dronningen_Mjosa
S/S «Dronningen» – Lake Mjösa

Monday July 22
Mr. Benett – [ inspecting] wagon/voiture – [talk about] the voyage to ‘Rjukanfos’ –  visit to Mr. Boek at hospital
– tiny – the syphilises,  treatment.

Bennetts bazar & travel agency
As the word waterfall in Norwegian, is ‘foss’ – therefore; The ‘Rjukanfos’ is the name of the famous waterfall that Jules Verne intended to see, in the county of Telemark. The waterfall got this name because Rjukan means ‘it´s steaming’, or ‘smoking’.

Mr. Benett, or more correctly: Mr. Thomas Bennett, was a well known travel agent in Verne´s days. And most likely, observing the extended place Bennett´s agency is given in the novel Lottery ticket, he probably organized the whole trip of Verne and his fellow travellers in 1861. At the end of page 11 of the unfinished book; Joyeuses Misères de trois voyageurs en Scandinavie, the travellers are given a little red book before boarding the steamer “Svea” – a book that apparently proved to be most valuable, and in constant use (pages fell out). My guess is that this was the Bennett ‘bible’ for travellers. as it was called. The Verne party stayed at a hotel within short walking distance of Bennett´s agency, close to the Christiania Cathedral. The long conversation in the beginning of chapter XVIII, takes up several pages of the novel, and portraits well Mr. Bennett while talking to the protagonist of the story.

Could it be that this meeting, in fact more or less reflect Verne´s own experiences from the visit to Bennett´s ‘basar’ that he had himself?
[more details on their first meeting, and Bennett’s impressions from this day, can be found in the article «Intertextuality and Verne’s Norway»]

Lottery Ticket  – Chapter XVIII
«Good-morning, Mr. Benett. It is always a great pleasure to me when I have an opportunity to shake hands with you.»
«And for me, professor, it is a great honor.»
«Honor, pleasure—pleasure, honor,» laughed the professor. «One balances the other.»
«I am glad to see that your journey through Central Norway has been safely accomplished.»

This conversation took place while Sylvius Hogg was walking through the establishment of M. Benett—an establishment well known in Christiania, and indeed throughout Norway. It is difficult to mention an article that can not be found in this bazaar. Traveling-carriages, kariols by the dozen, canned goods, baskets of wine, preserves of every kind, clothing and utensils for tourists, and guides to conduct them to the remotest villages of Finmark, Lapland, or even to the North Pole. Nor is this all. M. Benett likewise offers to lovers of natural history specimens of the different stones and metals found in the earth, as well as of the birds, insects, and reptiles of Norway. It is well, too, to know that one can nowhere find a more complete assortment of the jewelry and bric-à-brac of the country than in his show-cases.

This gentleman is consequently the good angel of all tourists desirous of exploring the Scandinavian peninsula, and a man Christiania could scarcely do without.

«By the way, you found the carriage you had ordered waiting for you at Tinoset, did you not, professor?» he asked.
«Yes. Having ordered it through you, Monsieur Benett, I felt sure that it would, be there at the appointed time.» – Jules Verne, 1886

The famous Dr. Boek
Mr Boek at the hospital, is a very interesting person indeed. We have heard about this doctor several times already in the diary, and as mentioned earlier,  most likely he is the ‘doctor in Christiania’ also mentioned in Verne´s travel book: Joyeuses Misères de Trois Voyageurs en Scandinavie.
Possibly he gave Jules Verne some suggestions regarding the trip to Kongsberg, Tinn and Dal during their interesting talk at the country house.
Anyway, Mr. Boek in the diary is of course the doctor-friend of ‘Sylvius Hog’ that Verne describes in the novel Lottery Ticket (1886):

Lottery Ticket – Chapter X
«Wouldn’t you like my brother to fetch a doctor from Bamble?» inquired Hulda.
«A doctor! my little Hulda! Why! do you want me to lose the use of both my legs?»
«Oh, Mr. Sylvius!»
«A doctor! Why not send for my friend, the famous Doctor Boek, of Christiania? All this ado about a mere scratch, what nonsense!»
«But even a mere scratch may become a very serious thing if not properly attended to,» remarked Joel.

[– Monsieur Sylvius, dit Hulda, voulez-vous que mon frère aille chercher un médecin à Bamble ?
– Un médecin, ma petite Hulda ! Mais vous voulez donc que je perde l’usage de mes deux jambes !
– Oh ! monsieur Sylvius !
– Un médecin ! Pourquoi pas mon ami le docteur Boek, de Christiania ? Et tout cela pour une égratignure !…
– Mais une égratignure, si elle est mal soignée, répondit Joël, cela peut devenir grave !

Lottery Ticket- Chapter XII
“By the request of Sylvius Hog, his friend the famous doctor Boek, came to Dal to have a look at the sick youngster”

[Sur la demande de Sylvius Hog, le célèbre docteur Boek, son ami, vint à Dal voir la jeune malade]

Dr. Carl Wilhelm Boeck, MP & syphilis researcher
Being now also a real-life person in the Verne diary, I am rather confident that this must be the Norwegian doctor/professor of skin-diseases: Dr. Carl Wilhelm Boeck (1808-1875). He is the person who is fitting the description best. He was active in the years in question, and had opened his own hospital in Christiania treating syphilises from 1850. Professor C. W. Boeck was born and practised medicine for some years in the mining town Kongsberg, and in fact was member of parliament, representing that region. Written documentation also verifies that he did have a country home at Eidsvoll.

In my article on the novel Lottery ticket, no 9672 [L] – I comment on possible backgrounds for the whole gallery of persons in this novel. I argue that meeting Mr. Boeck was very inspiring for Verne, and helped also to develop the main character of the novel; the professor & delegate Sylvius Hog.

[I dag] Afgaar Dampsluppen «Josephine» fra Pipervigsbryggen til Sandvigen, Aftenposten  July 23, 1861

Tuesday July 23
On[sur] the «Josephine» arrival at the Sandvigen-fjord. Village in a beautiful setting –  dinner – the chef is smoking his cigar – evening walk – On a ship’s longboat, the sailors speak English. View of a castle in the background of fjord. Rocks lining the waterfront, charming view.

Oslo-fjord, Verne´s own drawing from the diary

By steamsloop «Josephine» to Sandvika
The fact that Verne during his Christiania (Oslo) -days both went north to lake Mjösa and spent a night in Sandvigen, just outside Christiania on the west side, will be news for several Jules Verne -readers. (Up-to-date maps will read: Sandvika and Sandviksfjorden)

As we can see, Jules Verne probably travelled on the S/S «Josephine». This ship was a known coastal steam-sloop in the area – as shows the newspaper announcement from ‘Aftenposten’: “leaving today; the steam-sloop «Josephine» from Pipervig quai headed for Sandvigen” (at 6 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon).

In the drawing that Verne made of this, the view is seen in direction west, with the high hills of ‘Lier’ in the far horizon. The stones lining the waterfront in the foreground, may be those described in the text. The castle in question is not easy to explain, it would depend on from which point Verne had this view. ‘Oscarshall’, the royal summer-castle, which would be seen on the right hand side, going out of the inner Oslo-basin could be one guess, but if he had this view while taking his evening walk after the «Josephine» was moored at Sandvigen, the building he saw probably was a country estate of some kind, not a castle as such.

The way Verne has documented his journey, arriving on the 23rd. and leaving mid-day on the 24th. indicates that they must have stayed the night in Sandvigen. What kind of accommodation is not clearly indicated. Maybe onboard cabins were available.

Wednesday July 24
Departure at 14.00 hours. – route follow the fjord, [doing various stops]

– red wooden houses –
Arrival in Drammen at 19.00 (…) Hotel Scandinavie, made of wood.
Dinner: fish filled with fragrant herb.

[«diner – poisson truffeé avec une herbe parfumée»]


Departure at 8.1/2  –  the voyage follows a stonewall. Arrival at 11 hours at the relay station that comes before Kongsberg. Wooden city with narrow streets, on the river. At the Inn, the horses and the clerc still asleep.
Departure  – the fog is thickening more and more.
Arrival at 2 o`clock in Kongsberg, hotel Han(d)sen

Drammen the city on the river

In what manner, by horse or steam,  Verne and his friends continued from ‘Sandvigen fjord’ towards Drammen, is not very clearly described in the diary. But stopping  in Sandvigen, does not make much sense if an over land transportation direct to Drammen was intended, as Bennett´s agency offered daily direct transport by means of diligence, between the cities Christiania and Drammen. Carioles by special order, were not necessary. Verne´s itinerary indicates that the 3 French travellers spent more time on this part of the journey compared to when they travelled the same distance back again some 10 days later. Verne expresses in his diary that the ‘route follows the fjord’, but road transport from Sandvigen to Drammen would mainly pass through (30 km) forest and farmland, and go quicker than the 5 hours that apparently were spent, according to the diary. (The sentences of the diary are hard to descipher here. One phrase may suggest; ‘chevaux vite’ – an other part; ‘port of Drammen’. Both phrases needs to be interpreted in context). Maybe the pleasant boat transportation that was easily available every day, was selected. If so, this leg of the journey involved going by steamship for two hours back south, out on the Oslo-fjord again (the same channel the «Viken»  came in the other day), then turning around the southern tip of the long ‘Hurum’ peninsula situated between the Oslo- and Drammen-fjords, and finally sailing north for two hours up to the port of Drammen.

In the local newspaper in Drammen of that day Verne and his friends arrived in 1861, announcements can be read indicating that they might have been passengers on board the steamer «St.Halvard» on that trip. Two paddlewheel ships, «St.Halvard» and «Brage» – sailed along this route in turn, every other day.

   Norwegian steamer of the period

After this five hour journey on, or along the fjords, the party arrived at the port of Drammen, which is a city on a riverbank. Here the steamer had to bee moored on the opposite side, a little away from all the wooden buildings, as standard safety-precautions required. Glowing particles escaping the chimney on the boilers of the ship, could cause fires. The all-wooden hotel ‘Scandinavie’ where Jules Verne stayed, did in fact burn down five years later, as did large parts of the city during a big fire in 1866. The hotel was situated on the main street, within short walking distance from the river. It was run by a family called ‘Kiösterud’, as can be seen on the illustration from the period.

Jules Verne made notes of the meny that was served upon the arrival. And the very same meny was ‘served’ 25 years later on the same hotel in his novel about the Lottery ticket. So the taste of Norwegian fish must have been memorable.

Lottery Ticket (1886)
“ I wouldn´t be surprised if the gentlemen and the lady would like some lunch?”
[…] there was a certain fish of the fjord, filled with a fragrant herb”

[Il y eut surtout un certain poisson du fiord, truffé d’une herbe parfumée]

The Google interactive streetview, shows the location in today´s setting.

Hotel Scandinavie was located close to the corner between Storgata and Schwenkesgate

Along the river to Hokksund
Between Drammen and the Lake Tinn (Tinnsjö) in Telemark, the route of the author and his friends is a little tricky to trace. And to be honest, several times during my research I have been in doubt whether Verne in fact kept exact track of the passing dates of the month. Both regarding hours spent travelling, and selection of route, things can look a little peculiar – if the diary is documenting the 1861 journey entirely correct. Then again, he would not be the first merry traveller in a gentlemen-only company, who mixed things up (!). Maybe Jules Verne simply wrote down some of the details in the diary, after a few days had passed.

We will never know, but as it looks according to our ‘decoding’ of the handwriting in the travel log, the travel party had a rather stressful schedule after Drammen, travelling by night.

Anyway, the arrival at the ‘wooden city by the river’ before Kongsberg, must be the place by the Drammen-river that is called Hokksund on the map today. In Verne´s days it was called Hougsund – and this, or “Haugsund”, can be seen in the diary also on the way back, the July 30. In Lottery ticket, the text is reading: ‘Hangsund’. This is either a misunderstanding by Verne, or a typographical error.

Upriver from Drammen a small steamboat left for the village Hokksund three times every day. This would have been a delightful and obvious continuation of the journey. As can be seen in the newspaper Drammens Tidende of the day, The steamsloop «Nokken» left at a time perfectly matching Verne´s hour of departure. That is, if the text should be read: in the morning of the 25th.

“Afgaar Dampsluppen Nokken fra Drammen til Hougsund”

= departure steam-sloop ”Nokken” from Drammen til Hougsund

However, if the days of the month are registered correctly in Verne´s diary, he did not stop in Drammen longer than having sufficient time to eat. Meaning; if they left in time to reach Kongsberg two hours after midnight on the 24th , it can look as if they left Drammen the same evening already at 20.30 – travelling on by horse and cart to Hougsund, where at 23.00 the attendants and horses all slept, and that they continued all the way to Kongsberg arriving in the middle of at night at 02.00. Apparently Verne does not comment on the lack of light, only the fog. And the time of night explains why a change of horses was not performed, as the attendant at the relay station was asleep. (Anyway – travelling in July, in the land of the ‘midnight sun’ normally makes such a nocturnal passage possible) .

Verne comments this phenomena in his novel:

Lottery Ticker, chapter XVI
«At my next visit I will spend six hours at the table with you, if you desire it,» said Sylvius Hog to the farmer; «but to-day I must ask your permission to allow a cordial shake of the hand from you and the loving kiss your charming Siegfrid will give Hulda to take the place of the dessert.»

This done they started.
In this high latitude twilight would still last several hours.
The horizon, too, is distinctly visible for a long while after sunset, the atmosphere is so pure.It is a beautiful and varied drive from Bamble to Kongsberg. The road passes through Hitterdal and to the south of Lake Fol, traversing the southern part of the Telemark, and serving as an outlet to all the small towns and hamlets of that locality.

An hour after their departure they passed the church of Hitterdal, an old and quaint edifice, surmounted with gables and turrets rising one above the other, without the slightest regard to anything like regularity of outline. The structure is of wood—walls, roofs and turrets—and though it strongly resembles a motley collection of pepper-boxes, it is really a venerable and venerated relic of the Scandinavian architecture of the thirteenth century.

Night came on very gradually—one of those nights still impregnated with a dim light which about one o’clock begins to blend with that of early dawn.

Dame Hansen´s hotel
Eventually, after the hours in the thick fog, the author arrived in the silver-mining town Kongsberg, (»the kings mountain’), which at the time was one of the two most important cities in Norway. Here they checked in at the Hansen private hotel, which was situated in Egermogaden, later to become the mainstreet: ‘Storgata’.


The google interactive streetview below,
shows the same street today:

Thursday July 25
Get up at 9,  impossible to get horses –  the waterfalls at Kongsberg –  a walk in the forest – return to the hotel Hansen

Inger Kristine Hansen – the widow at Kongsberg
We understand that the author stayed some extra time at Kongsberg, giving room for several excursions.

In my opinion, the time spent at Hansens hotel very likely played an important part in forming elements of Verne´s novel from Norway. The owner of hotel Hansen was the widow, Mrs. (Dame) Inger Kristine Hansen. She might have been Verne´s model for one of the main characters of his novel, and also an important feature in the story, the widow having financial problems running a guesthouse: ‘l’auberge de dame Hansen.’ (Lottery Ticket ch.II)

It is interesting to observe that Verne does not let his fictional characters use Hansen´s hotel when passing Kongsberg though. They visited the much nicer ‘Hotel des Mines’, a hotel that also the travel writer Paul Riant described in his Le Tour du Monde -article in 1860. (the French name was in fact the actual name of this Norwegian hotel at Kongsberg)

Friday July 26
Departure at 06.30. Stop at a very nice guesthouse. – Lunch –
[description of interior]
4 houses  forming the ‘village’. In the horizon a very high ridge.
At 12.30 arrival at Tiness, then Listhus.

«Une auberge fort propre» – Kobbervollane and Tinnes

The fact that this ‘leg’ of the travel leads to Tiness, which is close to Notodden, is not commented in any article describing this journey before. If these detail in the diary means that Verne travelled directly from Kongsberg to Tinnes (as Norwegians would spell it), this is new and most interesting information. This fact would link his real-life voyage to his fictional voyage in Lottery ticket in a different way than known before. In an other article on this website, I point out that; apart from one single place, all geographical references in his novel could also be found in a magazine article in Le tour du Monde, written by travel-writer Paul Riant. Most likely Jules Verne reread this material 25 years later, researching the novel. The only place that is not mentioned by Paul Riant is this hamlet at Tiness, Notodden.

Until I got the chance to study the diary in detail,  I took for granted (in accordance with earlier works on the Verne-travel in 1861) that the ‘very nicely kept guesthouse’ (‘une auberge fort propre’) mentioned by Verne, was the relay-station at Bolkesjö that Paul Riant also visited, working on his Le tour du Monde – text. An article in the Bulletin de la Société Jules Verne by Mr. Henri Pons (no28, 1973  -‘Jules Verne en Norvége’)  – which describes the 1873 – journey of Jules Leclercq, points also to Bolkesjö:

“Premier voyage en CARRIOLE: Vallée de la Louven, Kongsberg, la ville des mines d´argent, puis de Kongsberg à Tinoset en passant par Bolkesjø; 70 kilomètres en 9 heures.” (Pons 1973: 76)

Every traveller in those years normally passed through the ‘Jondalen’ – valley to get to Bolkesjö, and the ‘skyds-station’ there, was known to be particularly nice and well kept. This is documented in various publications presenting the travels of famous painters and scientists in this area.

So, if the travel notes in Verne´s diary means that the three joyous travellers went directly, the 30 kilometres between Kongsberg to Tinnes, the author´s choice divert from the route that every other French traveller at the time selected. And this is also the very same distinction Verne lets his readers in on, through his fictional text, when Sylvius Hog asks Joël about the transport to Christiania (going in the opposite direction though). He apparently is aware that this route is not the quickest and most direct choice.

Lottery Ticket – chapter XVI
“Tell me, do you know the most direct route to go [from Vestfjorddalen] to Christiania?”
-“Well yes, [Tinoset, Fol, Vik, Bolkesjö, Möse, Kongsberg, Hangsund and Drammen]
If we travel both day and night, it would be possible to get there by tomorrow”.
-“Very well Joël, you understand me”, answered Sylvius Hog. “I also know an other that prolongs the voyage by a few hours. You know it, but you haven´t spoken about it…….going south of the lake Fol, instead of the other northern route; wouldn´t this also lead us to Kongsberg?”


Kobbervollane skydsstasjon Meheia 2010 PJM

Video clip Kobbervollane

Selecting the southern route

To locals, the two different road alternatives would be described as going through the ‘Jondalen’ – valley (the northern alternative) or over the ‘Meheia’ ridge (southern route). If this latter alternative was selected – both going up and back again from after visiting Dal and admiring the falls at Rjukan, the stopping place for Verne to have lunch (the ‘auberge fort propre’) might be the relay-station and guesthouse:’Kobbervollane’ (‘kopper-plains’) which is situated approximately 10 kilometres of the way, going from Kongsberg direction Notodden.

Red: northern route, passing Bolkesjö
Blue: southern route, passing Tinnes

Friday  July 26, continued 2
The Hitterdal church, a desolate place –
A Telemark cottage – the Library (?) – the beds – the wheel – the red chairs –
We are offered hot milk. I donate 4 shillings to a kid,
the mother extend her arm to thank me – revolting

Friday  July 26, continued 3
Halt for more than 4 hours, not able to get past the gates. – Because of the innkeepers fault, horses might pass out.
Finally at 8, after having crossed the Maan river, which runs from the beautiful lake Tinn, which is full of floating timber, we reach Tinoset. One can hardly believe….. one lonely house, not very comfortable. [Some] Englishmen arrived before us, on their way to the falls at Rjukan – Butter  uneatable

The famous ‘Heddal stavkirke’
To get quickly to the famous ancient wooden church at Heddal, or Hitterdal as it was called in the 1860s, might have been Verne´s reason for selecting the southern route on the way up to the waterfalls at Rjukan. This church, which is regarded as the finest example of the few Norwegian ‘stave-churches’ that still stands, and dates back to the 13th. century.

    Heddal ‘stavkirke’ 2010

After some hours along the Heddal valley, over the plains at Bamble, the travellers arrived at the relay station at Tinnoset, at the southern bank of the long lake Tinn. This guesthouse was known to be a rather horrible place to stay, according to local sources.

Saturday July 27
Get up at 5 in the morning, the rain fall never stopped during the night –
the coffee made by the Telemark-ians is …. impossible to drink
– rowers arriving – embarking. By the harbour at 06 o´clock.
Arrival at Hankeness a 10 hours – Lunch with eggs – the women knitting.
– Moel –
We were not promised horses until 16.00 hours – We arrive in a […]
– The mountains are very beautiful and disappears in the far away mist.
On the left hand side a waterfall more than 500 feet high, continuing for 100 feet more and then gets out of view at the mountain-side [which] runs down to the lake. We get off by the church, […] then continue by footpath along the course of the river Maan
in Wesfjordalen. – a wonderful narrow valley with thousands of torrents.

We arrive in front of Dal at 15.15, a charming, well kept guesthouse. The house has pink interior, with red furniture and red beds.

Dal, Vestfjorddalen – the actual Dal-inn. Innkeeper, John Olsen Dale on the left

Rowing 60 km on the lake Tinn
After more comments about the bad quality and service of the Tinnoset-guesthouse, this information tells us that the means of transportation across the lake Tinn was still row- boats.  Again, this divert from the Telemark-voyage in 1873 of Jules Leclercq, described in his book Un tour en Norwege(Paris1883). In several articles and books to date, various authors describing the Verne journey, have stated while referring to Leclercq, that the means of transportation the 60 kilometres along lake Tinnsjö, was the steamship S/S «Rjukan». Anyway, this assumption can be put aside, as S/S «Rjukan»  was not launched until 1864. So, every traveller had to be rowed by strong men for hours on end, usually during the (calmer) nights.

A comment has to be made about the itineraries.

They apparently started rowing at 06.00 and by 10 o´clock they had reached the farm at cape Haakanes. The distance from Tinnoset to the Haakanes farm at the northern end of lake Tinn, is almost 40 kilometres. I have my doubts as to a rowing speed that these details of the diary indicates. Maybe the horsemen had their doubts as well, since the horses were not promised until 16.00 hours, at the hamlet Mael (Verne spells it Moel), which is around the cape. Whether they walked this last distance, we do not yet know.

Arriving at the Dal guesthouse
From Mael they are carried by horse and ‘ Kariol’ to the guesthouse at the Dale village. Verne uses the form Dal, which means Valley. Then again, Dal, which is situated inside the valley extending from Lake Tinn to the famous Rjukan waterfall, is called Vestfjorddalen (west-fjord-valley). Today Dal has grown into the small town bearing the same name as the waterfall; Rjukan. But Dale is still  a tiny community with it´s little white church from 1776.

Sunday July 28
Excursion in the Vestfjord valley and the Maana.
The waterfall. A true whirlpool – with an impressive noise –

– to really see the fall, you have to crawl on the rocks of the Maristien.
We tried the adventure with much difficulty….  but we had to retract the same way back. The route back scared us, because if our feet would slip on the these humid rocks, one could disappear.

Return to Dal and the tiny church from 1855 – bridges – a real cascade
– visit to watermill, a sawmill [displaying] basic mechanics. One wheel for the planks, one for the sawblade.
– Milk and eggs sufficient to feed a grown man –
to bed at 20.30 after [having decided] for tomorrow, a climb of the
Gausta  mountain

The Rjukan waterfall – J.C.Dahl – G.Doré – G.Roux

The Rjukan waterfall, and cliff-path Maristien
The travellers tour the valley and are impressed by the mighty waterfall Rjukan-fossen. The waterfall is formed by the river Maana, which runs between a big lake up in the high mountains and lake Tinn. Verne and his friends also ascend and try the legendary foot path ‘Mari-stien’ close by. The path obviously was too risky a climb, so they turned back again. This was a spectacular but dangerous rock-shelf named after a tale about the girl Mari and her fiancé, who because of their forbidden love, needed to climb this narrow shelf to meet. Verne mentions this ancient legend about Maristien in Lottery Ticket – and in fact uses a similar type of setting for the footpath up in the cliff wall, next to the waterfall, where the two youngsters Hulda and Joël rescued the kind Sylvius Hog. The legend of Mari, is retold through several variations, and in one of them, the name of Mari´s fiancé is Olav – more or less identical to the name of Verne´s fictional character, who was lost at sea. The holder of the lottery ticket no. 9672, was also named Ole. (Then again, the retired owner of the Dal inn; Ole Torgersen Dale, also had the same name as Verne´s fictional character in the novel, 25 years later)

Every year in Rjukan, the Mari-play (‘Marispelet’) is performed as an outdoor theatre next to the waterfall. In  2011, the play will be performed on the exact same days of July that Jules Verne visited Vestfjorddalen, 150 years ago.


After commenting on slippery rocks in the foggy environment around the cascades, Jules Verne spend some time studying the mechanics of a water-driven sawmill, and after that apparently get a heavy meal before having decided on a new hike the next day. Reading this, there is reason to believe that Verne instructed illustrator George Roux, while doing the artwork for the novel Lottery Ticket, to include an image showing such a mechanical device that Verne himself saw at Rjukan – because this image has no direct connection to the story. In the novel, a short description of the sawmill serves as an introduction to the Dal hamlet, in the beginning of chapter 2. [As is indicated in the article on ‘visual intertexts’ – G. Roux copied the drawing of British artist Robert Taylor Pritchett for the illustration i Lottery Ticket.]

Monday July 29
The way up – passage of the [river] Maana two times – boat –  greetings –
at 07.30 ascent, – At 09.20 the 4th stop at a naked plateau before the sun sprinkles
the view of Gausta with it´s ravines full of snow. Panoramic roundview –
– halte at 1o o´clock – at the ‘fromagerie’

Lecture of travellers.
-The waterfall of Vaqavie – Mr Edouard Liais made a mistake in French in 1853
[Edouard Liais a fait une faute de français]
– it´s a shame to France (et je n’ai qu’à me louer de la reception qu’on nous a fait)
– laughs

[the gramatical error:
And I have nothing but praise for
-the reception was done to us / the reception that we made]

We inscribe our names because very few French pass this way.
An Englishman who waited 1 hour for a cloud to disperse, to see the ‘Rjukan’[waterfall] in August, wrote:
“patientia omnia vincit”

Verne drawing: «halte à 10 heures – Dans la fromagerie» – Gausta mountain in background

On the Gausta mountain
After having tried to climb the rock path Mari-stien, they decide on the high Gausta mountain (1883 mtr.), which they manage well, as such an outing normally is more of a regular hike in the mountain – no rock-climbing as such.

In this section of the diary, Verne comments the guest-book of the inn at Dal.
Many travellers have given the proprietor greetings and signed their names. In the fictional text; Lottery Ticket can be found a quite similar passage, both regarding the Englishman using a latin expression, and Verne´s fellow traveller making a grammatical error [fait / faite] while writing some lines in the book. It is interesting to note to what extent these diary-details from 1861 are transferred into the text of the novel, published in 1886. A few editings are done though; when it comes to the latin expression as it is written  into the novel, this is a comment about waiting for the morning mist to clear from blocking the view towards the Gausta mountain, here in the diary it is hiding the waterfall.

Lottery Ticket  – chapter II
” […] and then, reputation about the Dal guesthouse is spread out through northern Europe. This can be seen, flipping through the faded pages on which travelers have been signing their names greeting dame Hansen. […] The Englishmen have been many, and one of  them have written in his British way, after waiting an hour for the morning fog to clear from the top of mount Gausta: “Patientia omnia vincit”
There also are some French comments. One of them, I better not give names; wrote :

« Nous n’avons qu’à nous louer de la réception qu’on nous a « fait » dans cette auberge ! »
Whatever the grammatical error, […] it does not make a lesser tribute to dame Hansen and her daughter”

Tuesday  July 30
Departure at 7. 30
– Heavy thunderstorm

Wednesday July 31
After having driven to Listhus, departure at 5.30
– at 17.30 arrival at Hougsund
Arrival at Drammen at 20.15  – fortement soupés – Go to bed

Thursday  August 1
Departure [hotel Scandinavie, Drammen] at 08 in the morning

– Arrival at Christiania at 2 o´clock (14.00) […] at 6 (18.00) promenade to the port

– On returning from  Telemark the surroundings of Christiania appear flat, the hills are not as imposing.
– the ground is much less varied, the nature is less wild
– On the lookout for the «Viken» that does not carry messages – at 8 /20.00) hours, still nothing

Video - Paradisbakkene ved Lier/Drammen, PJMoe 2010

Video-clip Paradise-hills

The Paradise valley, Kpt. Grant,  Lottery ticket & 1861
After three nights at the Dal guesthouse, going back down from Telemark, apparently Jules Verne passes the Tiness farm  (at Notodden) once again. This means he selected the slightly longer southern route once more. Continuing from Drammen to Christiania, very likely he used the over-land transport provided by the Bennett agency, who was running a daily business with the diligence ‘Alliance’ (news-clip Aftenposten). 

This is not verified by the diary, just an assumption, according to passages written into the novel Lottery Ticket 25 years later – in 1886. Here Verne repeats Paul Riant’s descriptions of the beautiful Paradise Valley, with the ‘Paradis Bakke” just outside Drammen. Jules Verne comments on this unique scenery already three years later,  in the novel; The children of Captain Grant. Most likely he travelled through this area himself, as later was described in Lottery Ticket.
A comment might be added regarding Verne’s accomodation upon returning to the capital. The diary is not clear on this. In the newspaper Morgenbladet, where recent arrivals to the hotels are reported, on August 2, the following can be read (see clip):  «Advocat E.Lorois, J. Werner og [Sk]ignard fra Paris i Hotel du Nord»


[note, in news clip: The surname ‘Werner’ is spelled identically to notificaton on passengers arriving onboard the «Viken», July 19]

Friday August 2

Morning promenade – going to the port  – to the bank –
Meal bought from one of the outdoor sellers. Friendliness from the merchant, delighted to be able to speak French with someone.
The evening at the Klingsberg Theatre – go out into the garden – where a theatre can be found with the
[female] Café-singers , [like] an anthropological museum – doing songs from Offenbach – poor women

Klingenberg, Christiania – café-singers doing Offenbach
Back in the capital, Verne spends an evening at the Klingenberg Theatre and garden. This entertainment area was situated at the ‘Pipervika’, later to become the ‘Tivoli’ of Christiania. It has been said that for some time, the reputation was not a very good one. The area had several brothels. In fact Dr. Boeck, who met Verne earlier on the journey, worked as a police doctor among the prostitutes in this part of Christiania. Verne´s descriptions of  the Klingenberg Theater, earlier called ‘Klinkenberg’ and the ‘chanteuses’  doing Offenbach is very interesting. Similar descriptions from the same period, of the area and this theatre, is known.

Some of these dancing café-singers were ‘imported’ Danish girls from the more liberal Copenhagen, and the sometimes pipe-smoking Norwegian/Danish performers were probably expected to display their female side as well as their musical abilities to the guests.

It is interesting to read Verne´s ironic observations, how he is commenting the rather diverse clientele on the premises, and ironically labelling the place as a display (‘museum’) of human originals. Apparently he feels sorry for the ladies.

Over the years, there were several entertainment companies putting up performances here at the Klingenberg garden. Some ten years after Verne´s visit, the Swedish actor and manager Knut Tivander, made a lot of money on an Offenbach play, Les Brigands at this theatre.

After the regular theatre performance, the songs were re-used in the Garden-Café as entertaining extracts from the play.
Later, in 1876 Tivander in fact put up Verne´s Around the world in 80 days, with a live elefant(!), and his wife doing the part of Aouda. This play was a huge success in the capital, and according to sources was shown 100 times.

Saturday August 3
Got up at 4.30 in the morning, ship loaded with passengers –
The «Viken» does not  [is not able to?] leave

Sunday August 4
Kattegat, at 4 o´clock the Swedish coast is in sight, at 05.15, Helsingör, at 07.30 Copenhagen

Monday August 5
Visit to Copenhagen – promenade at harbour. Vor Frelsers kirke [church of our saviour] […] steps circling the high tower – very high – view over the city – nicely laid out – they talk about the king – the fortifications –

On the mail steamer bound for Copenhagen
Once again Verne embarks a Norwegian mail vessel after some waiting for the steamer «Viken», the very same on which he arrived in Norway some weeks earlier.
AftenpostenReg3August1861_AfgaarDampskibetVikenAccording to timetable [see announcement] the paddle steamer «Viken» was also sceduled for the passage towards Denmark at 6 A.M. this morning, August 3. Inspired by his encounters with this vessel, Verne later let this ship name show up, both in the books about Maître Antifer and the Lottery ticket.
MorgenbladetReg3August1861Afgaaet_medDS_Louise_AHignardThis particular day however, according to newspaper Morgenbladet, «Viken» was replaced by the sister ship «Dampfartøiet Kronprindsesse Louise». On board, going southwards were probably the French friends . In news clip, at least  the name ‘A.Hig-nard’ can be found, on the list of passengers onboard, bound for Helsingør and Copenhagen.
[according to some sources, Émile Lorois stayed behind]

DS_KronprindsesseLouise_1856-71_Nmaritim museum

Mail steamer «Kronprindsesse Louise» [1856-1871]

[painting (Norw.Maritime Museum):
Reinhardt Fredrik Boll; D/S ‘Krondprinsesse Louise’ ved Færder fyr.
For reading ‘Gotic’; see alphabet]

After having arrived in Copenhagen Verne describes the impressing view, from high up in the twisted tower of ‘Vor Frelsers kirke’ (Church of our savior). Memories of these frightening stairs, and references to the Norwegian saga of kings, was three years later written into the first chapters of his important book about the descent into the centre of the earth, which starts on Island.
In this way,  Verne’s experiences from the Nordic journey entered his writing.

At a later date  [on www. julesverne.no], more extracts from the diary will be added. Both to correct errors and misunderstandings that have occured, due to difficulties in ‘decoding’ the diary – and also to display more transcriptions.

Both Verne´s handwriting and his drawings needs interpretation.
To give an example – it took some time before I recognized which castle that is depicted on the very nice drawing Verne made for the first pages of his Scandinavian diary.

Here it is; the ‘Kastellet’ at  the Stockholm harbour.

– Per Johan Moe, February 2011

Publisert on mai 7, 2011 at 13:40  Legg igjen en kommentar  

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