The delicious water
I haven't tried anywhere else in the world more delicious water than the one in Norway.
In Bulgaria the water is not bad but not so good and many people prefer to buy mineral or natural water from the grocery (who knows if it's really natural?!?!). The Norwegian water reminds me how as kids we were drinking the water from the village sink after we have played like a crazy....
The Norwegian water that comes from people's sinks is sweet and delicious and does really taste! You can drink and drink and drink, people take a shower in this water. It's just so clean. Wish I have the chance to drink it everyday!Related to:
Long Summer Nights and Appropriate Curtains
After trying to spend the last few weeks sleeping in the long summer days of Scandinavia, I was starting to get frustrated that every hotel, hostel, cabin, etc. had curtains that barely blocked out the light.
I had seen long days in the northern parts of Canada and Alaska before, but not for extensive periods of time, so it was starting to effect my sleep.
It was explained by a local friend that the curtains are very thin such that the light comes in. The winters are so long and dark, that they wish to take advantage of all the light and keep it close in mind so they do not forget its warmth when the long cold dark of winter sets in.
When followed up by questions about thicker curtains possibly being better insulators to keep heating costs down, this was dismissed by a simple reply that a couple more blankets on the bed would fix that.
Farikal means mutton (far) and cabbage (kal) stew. Note the "a" should be the Norwegian "a" with a circle on top which is pronounced like the "ou" in "fought." Farikal is a very tasty dish with lamb flavour. Served best with boiled potatoes.
1.5 kg lamb from neck, shank or breast, together with the bones, cut into serving-size pieces
1.5 kg garden cabbage (the hard winter cabbage, not the thin summer cabbage. The summer one will be too mushy)
2 tsp salt
4 tsp peppercorns
1-2 tbsp flour
300 ml boiling water
Cut the cabbage into segments.
Place the lamb and cabbage in layers in the saucepan, starting with the lamb. Sprinkle flour, salt and peppercorns between the layers.
To avoid burning, use a saucepan with a thick bottom.
Pour over boiling water. Bring to the boil and let the lamb and cabbage simmer over low heat until the meat is tender for about 1-2 hours.
Farikal should be served very hot on hot plates, together with plain boiled potatoes. This dish is often served with beer and aquavit. This dish tastes much better the next day because the cabbage has absorbed the lamb flavour.
To see how this dish is prepared, go to the website below.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Meet the trolls of Norway
Trolls are nice creatures that you will find in many places of Scandinavia and one of them is waiting for you inside the Nordkapphallen, posing patiently for the tourists photos like in my main photo.
Trolls are living out in the woods and they are a lot smaller than the one here in my photos. The best place to meet the trolls are the souvenirshops all over Norway, and there are also lots of troll-books and stories for children about trolls.
Trollstiegen (the steps for the trolls) is a famous mountain-passroad close to Geiranger !Related to:
- Family Travel
- Women's Travel
- Arts and Culture
There are some lockers in the Hurtigruten-station
Inside the Hurtigruten-terminal you will find a few automatic lockers like shown in my photo. I dont think that this building is open day and night, but they have a souvenir- and newspapershop there as well, so they will certainly by open most of the day and then untill the last depariure of the hurtigruten-ship.Related to:
- Family Travel
Arctic Circle Ceremony
On our second night on the Hurtigruten coastal steamer, we were able to attend a special maritime ceremony commemorating our crossing of the Arctic Circle. Truth be told, we boarded the boat after the ship crossed the Arctic Circle (we'd actually crossed it while we were on the train from Uppsala to Abisko several days earlier), but we figured we were entitled anyway... ;)
The ceremony itself is lots of fun, with King Neptune presiding. You have to come up to King Neptune, shake his hand, and have an ice cube dumped down your back. After this initiation, you receive a "Polar Circle Certificate" and a drink of schnapps. Good fun!Related to:
- Sailing and Boating
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Norway liquor giving
Yeah, liquor in particular is quite expensive in Norway. That's why every time I visit, I make sure to buy a couple of extra bottles at the duty-free shops in Schiphol or other airport first. The Norwegians really appreciate it, and it has guaranteed a full attendance at each of my presentations there (suggested by my previous boss, who used to be an ex-pat there for a few years). When I'm not presenting, I give them to friends. When they visit, you'll be sure to have reciprocation. It's a great way to increase your network.
Vorspiels & nachspiels
I have many non-norwegian friends who thinks that the vorspiels and nachspiels are a very strange tradition. I have never actually thought about it before they mentioned it - but as it is a very normal custom in Norway I thought I might write a bit about it.
Having a vorspiel is very normal in Norway, nachspiels too - but maybe not as often. I'm not quite sure how it started, but many say it started because it's so expencive to go out here, so it's better to drink something at home before you go out. Others say it's because norwegians are so shy and cold that they have to drink a bit before they can go out and have fun...
Many times when you are going out with your friends, you all meet in the house of someone to drink and have fun before going out. Everyone brings their own drinks. Because it's so expencive most people can't afford buying drinks for everyone that is coming. So if you are invited to someone; bring what you want to drink. Normally the people who have the vorspiel don't expect a present, but some people bring along a bag of potatochips or something. If they serve drinks or food it's nice to give them a bottle of wine.
Around midnight most people call for a maxi-taxi and head for the city. Other times people have so much fun that they just stay there instead. This is a good way of saving money, and also avoiding the neverending discussions about where to go as most people want to go to different places... ;)
Nachspiels are for the people who don't want to go home when all the places are closed. Most of the time they head back to the place of the vorspiel to finish off the rest of the drinks. Nachspiels tends to don't be as much fun as the vorspiels, as many people are very drunk and tired at this point. But it can also be a lot of fun. Sometimes nachspiels can even last so long that it turns into a vorspiel again, but that's a different story... ;)
Another thing that the norwegians love is to go to cabins. Many people have their own, some companies have cabins that the employees can use and there are plenty of cabins for rent.
In summer people like going to cabins close to the sea, where they can go out with boats and enjoy the sealife. In winter it's more popular to go to mountains close to winterresorts, where people can go skiing.
Some cabins are very luxurious with jacuzzies, saunas, swimmingpools etc. But you can also find many that are the complete opposite. Without water and electricity, and where you almost live like they did houndred years ago. These cabins are often decorated with old furniture, many times made by someone in the family a long, long time ago.
It's really nice to go to cabins like this, surrounded by things that someone in your family made and have used for generations. And it makes you really appreciate all of the things that you normally take for granted, like f.ex. water and electricity.
There is one thing that we norwegians love doing, and that is barbequing. As the summer is not so long we will use any oppurtunity for having a barbeque. The most usual is to buy a engangsgrill (one-time disposable barbeque) and some pølse (sausage).
On the warmest days in summer it can be almost impossible to find a shop that still has more barbeques, because everyone wants to make a barbeque when we finally have some sun... :)
Another funny thing is that we tend to look more on the calendar, than the temperature... The picture is a good example of this. It was in the end of May and we were going to have a barbeque on a terrace. After a while it got quite windy and cold, but did we go inside the house? Oh no, it was summer so of course we had to sit outside!
We just found some thick blankets and warm jackets and enjoyed our barbeque outside... :)
Vacation of hotel staff - hotel closed
The tourist season in Norway is in summer. We were there in July, several hotels (around Haugesund) were closed for two weeks because the whole staff went on vacation at the same time.
It's true that July is a nice time for vacations for Norwegians too. I think of several other countries where people really need to make a living from the tourists, and would want to work every day of the season to earn their living. But Norway is a rich country, and the hotel seekers will find a different hotel.
Love for country cottages
Norwegians seem to be a very peace-loving people. Even if there is no trace of stress or rush in their lifes, they all seem to look for isolation and loneliness. That is why the country is dotted with small wooden houses in the most unsuspected places where locals go as soon as they have a little bit of free time.
Northernmost Windmill Farm?
From the coastal steamer, we were able to see this windmill farm. We were north of Hammerfest, so I expect this is the northernmost windmill farm. I have no confirmation of this, however.
This seems to me a very sensible and environmentally friendly way to produce electricity, especially in an area as windy as this. Interestingly enough, American environmentalists are violently opposed to such windmill farms being built in windy areas of the USA. I haven't the foggiest idea why.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Norway has rather strict alcohol regulations. If you want to buy anything stronger than "weak beer" (what Americans might know as "near-beer"), you must go to a State-controlled liquor store. At the "Vinmonopolet," you can buy wine, "strong" beer, and other spirits. Americans might find it familiar with the alcohol restrictions imposed in the U.S. state of Utah, except that Utah has a system of private "clubs" to buy stronger alcohol. The government-controlled stores are similar to those U.S. states such as New Hampshire and Virginia have for spirits. Since it's government-run, and since it's a monopoly, opening hours are... shall we say, less than plentiful.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
17th of may is our national day and its celebrated diffrent depending on where u arein norway
here are some examples :
has the children parade around 10 in the morning that pass the palace and wave to the royal family
in the aftenoon the drunk senior students are wearing their red or blue clothes (not much to look at)
u will also find concerts in the evening as an alternativ celebration often near a place called kuba
had a multi parade where everything happen at once.....the children parade....the students in their red or blue have jokes and fun stuff.....local teathergroup...sportgroups etc dance play etc in the parade even visitors from other countries go in the parade
in the aftenoon the local schools /kindergaarden have their own parades in their own area
here they start with the morning parade at 7 where anyone...even tourist can join
8ish there is the boatrace in the harbour
10ish is the childrens parade
then people stroll noth and south on the pedestrian street befor going somewhere for lunch
around 3 there is the folk parade where all the diffrent clubs ...like football, hanndball gymnastics etc play and have fun in the parade...the diffrent choir sings...the teatergroups act etc....its a fun parade to watch
around 17 to things happen......the 18 year old student called russ (red or blue depending on their school)are makeing fun of things that have been in the news in their parade
also most childrens school are open with difrent fairs and games for kids
in the evening people are either too tired to do anything or they continu their party somewhere else :-)
as u see there are diffrent ways of celebration....where ever u deside to go....aske the tourist office for the towns program so so can see what we local do :-)
here they have a full day of activities
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