My niece is the consummate tour guide, and she wisely scheduled the Norsk Folkemuseum as our first outing. Presenting life in Norway from 1500 to present day, it provided context for sights we would see later in our visit. The museum holds artefacts ranging from humble everyday tools to precious cultural treasures. The Open-Air portion features 160 historic buildings relocated to museum grounds over the years. It was not difficult to while away most of a day exploring this vast institution.
Left: Sami clothing; Sami are generally considered as the aboriginal
people of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia
Upper right: Map showing seasonal movement of the East Sami,
following food resources such as salmon and reindeer
Rosemaling, the decorative folk painting of Norway, began in the low-land
areas of eastern Norway about 1750. Lower right: Tapestries.
Upper left: Lefse; Upper right: logging cabin
Lower left: Hayloft; Lower right: fencing
I thoroughly enjoyed observing the museum 'staff' making lefse, a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread. As you can seen in the video below, it is cooked on a large, flat griddle. Special tools are used to prepare lefse, including long wooden turning sticks and special rolling pins with deep grooves. Yummy!
Queen Maud - spouse of King
Haakon VII. She was the youngest
daughter of the British King Edward VII
and Alexandra of Denmark.
|National Theatre and surrounding gardens|
When my niece explained that Norwegians have an afternoon tradition of 'coffee and cake', we certainly did not need any encouragement to join in. (You MIGHT just see a few more 'coffee and cake' shots in the rest of this post.)
Fortified, we strolled the ramparts of Akershus Festning (fortress), one of the 15 national defense structures. Within the fortress grounds is a medieval castle that was built to protect Oslo, the capital of Norway, and provide a royal residence. The castle has also been used as a military base, a prison and government offices.
We were quickly yanked back to present day as we turned a corner and the ultra-modern Opera House came into view. The angled exterior surfaces of the building are covered with marble from Carrara, Italy, along with white granite, and make it appear to rise from the water. Interestingly, visitors are encouraged to walk on these surfaces, which rise as the roof of the structure. Norwegian nature is free for everyone to walk in, and the Oslo Opera House, which opened in 2008, was built as an extension of this idea.
|(Note cranes in the background - construction is a healthy industry in Oslo!)|
Speaking of Norwegian nature: Norwegians don't have a direct translation for 'hiking' - they call it 'walking'. In the end, I'll call it whatever they want if it all leads to the spectacular views we enjoyed on two of our 'walks'.
Our third walk, Gaustatoppen, took place on a rainy day, and although the poor visibility hindered our view of the mountain and the surrounding vistas, it was actually a pleasant change from the heat we had been experiencing throughout our holiday in the UK and Norway. By the time we reached the peak, the waffle and coffee at the Turisthytte (Tourist Cabin) was a very welcome warmer-upper for chilled hands.
Gaustatoppen is made of quartzite, one of the toughest rocks on earth. It has been eroding very slowly for the last
1000 million years (that's not a typo).
(On the way to Gaustatoppen, we passed Heddal Stavkirke. Of course, we had to stop.) As you can see below, the church is in a large valley, primarily surrounded by farms. A truly stunning location - and a miracle that it has survived since its construction in the 13th century. Heddal Stavkirke is the largest of Norway's 30 remaining stave churches, and the only one with three towers.
It should come as no surprise that Norway operates numerous ferries as part of the public transportation system … they have a lot of waterways! How appropriate to climb aboard a ferry for a day trip to Oscarsborg Fortress.
Situated on a set of narrows along the coast of the Oslofjord, the fortress was charged with the naval defense of Oslo and its Palace. Completed in 1853, the fortress is best known for sinking the German heavy cruiser Blucher on April 9, 1940. At that time, the fortress' armaments were over 40 years old, and of German origin. Both the guns and the torpedo battery operated flawlessly when Oscarsborg was approached by one of the German invasion flotillas; they sank the Blucher, and threw back the German naval force heading for Oslo, thus managing to save the Norwegian King and government from imprisonment.
Of course, we had to wrap the day with cake and coffee, in a café overlooking the marina where we caught the ferry in the morning.
No vacation is complete without sampling local foodstuffs (beyond cake!) Before we arrived, our niece warned us that Norway does not have much of a national cuisine, rather having adopted food styles from all over the world. Perhaps the most unique item we ate was 'brown cheese', which she served with waffles. The tan-colored 'whey cheese' has a distinctive caramel flavor and is made by boiling down the whey of milk (cow, goat or otherwise), which caramelizes the sugars. After cooling into a block, you have sliceable 'brown cheese'.
So, did you learn something new about Norway? I did. It is a country that seamlessly blends ancient and modern, most visible in its architecture. For a small nation, it excelled with its national defense system, ably demonstrated during WWI. They honor the individual while preserving a strong democracy. And they take the time to savor "kaffe med kake"!
Our World Tuesday
Sharon's Photo Souvenirs
How very exciting for you. You've taken us on an most informative day trip. I look forward to your next post!ReplyDelete
Not only is Norway over the top gorgeous, but coffee and cake every day? That is my kind of country. Glad you are having a lovely time. Take care. :) KitReplyDelete
Very beautiful report! The church is stunning.ReplyDelete
Your photos are fabulous. I love the Scandinavian countries and the Scandinavian style of decor. I travelled to Sweden years ago and was blessed to get to the Arctic circle where I met many Saami people. I also was blessed to spend a bit of time in Kautokeino which is in the far north of Norway. I loved it.ReplyDelete
...wow, lots of eye candy! The architecture is fabulous, thanks for taking me along for the tour.ReplyDelete
I have never been to Scandavia and should try to rectify that. A friend of mine was in Copenhagen recently and said she found it incredibly expensive. Has that been your experience?ReplyDelete
Wow, a wonderful vacation and one I would have enjoyed very much as well.ReplyDelete
The first thing I thought of when you mentioned Norway was a blogger friend Helen who lives there. I learned a lot about Norway from her but sadly she no longer blogs.
A great vacation! That brown cheese doesn't look great, but it sounds delicious. There's a Scandanavian Festival going on in a small town near us right now -- we've been many times and therefore have sampled most of the foods .... makes me want to go, although we had already decided to skip this year.ReplyDelete
Looks like a beautiful country and I can't believe how much you managed to see in just 5 days!! I would love to visit sometime.ReplyDelete
Enjoyed your wonderful photos. We were in Oslo last year and did a Hop On Hop Off bus tour but unfortunately the delays were long and we didn't get to see as much but enjoyed what we did see. Your photos have filled in a few of the gaps in our tour of Oslo.ReplyDelete
Fantastic photos of gorgeous scenes Angie!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the interesting and informative info also.
I really want to go there someday.
Norway is fabulous - you must visit the fjords next time! I love love that stave church. And waffles are good, but I really don't like messsmör (the brown cheese).ReplyDelete
Beautiful series Angie.ReplyDelete
Well Aagie. From my point of view Norway is famous for its birdlife! Surprise not. Lots of our autumn migrants cross from Norway to the British Isles during September to November when it gets too cold up there. Otherwise I learned a lot from your post, helped by your lovely pictures. And I also learnt that Norway people like coffee and cake just as so many do around the world.ReplyDelete
I've said that i would never go on a cruise but if I did it would be to Scandinavia and the north where a camera would be the first thing I'd pack.
Thanks for sharing this fascinating introduction to Norway. Now it's on on list of places to see!ReplyDelete
That waffle looks so good. I want to get one of those irons. I make lefse at Christmas. I love it.ReplyDelete
fascinating trip. when I saw a thumbnail (the church)I couldn't guess it was a church (yes, crosses on top, but... I have never seen a church like that. marvelous!)ReplyDelete
Wonderful photos of Norway and its food and culture!ReplyDelete
Happy Day to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)
I feel like I've been on a whirlwind tour of Norway with you! A great post, full of gorgeous photos and interesting information. I'd love to visit the Scandinavian countries one day. The world is endlessly fascinating.ReplyDelete
I'll be sure to be culturally sensitive and partake in the coffee(tea) and cake!
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
coffee and cake, every day, you would not have to twist my arm!! it is so nice to have someone who can plan and organize a big trip for you, that is so much work!! norway certainly looks like a beautiful place, you captured the spirit of it well in your pictures!!ReplyDelete
the cakes look so yummy!!!
What an epic trip! I'm reading a series of book by a Finn. Very interesting.ReplyDelete
You know something, I am going to have learn more about this coffee and cake thing! Fascinating post. I had never heard about the sinking of the German heavy cruiser and saving the government.ReplyDelete
Yes, I did learn so much about Norway--I've never been there. My husband's family comes from Denmark. You had a most excellent time, I can see. I looked at your previous post: interesting how the music of our youth seems to define us for a life time. I loved the artists that you mentioned, but I am a bit earlier: Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Elvis, Mo Town, then the Beatles.ReplyDelete
What a fascinating country Norway is. You certainly experienced so many sights and flavours in just a few days. Heddal Stavkirke is amazing! It is hard to believe that it has been standing tall and beautiful since the 13th century.ReplyDelete
Hello, Norway looks like a beautiful country. You had a lovely trip and saw a lot. The food looks yummy too. Beautiful collection of photos. Enjoy your day and new week ahead!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful trip to Norway. We visited years ago and loved it. The food is fantastic as are the people. Your photos brought back some good memories. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the images of a part of the country I may never see for myself. It looks like a fantastic place to visit.ReplyDelete
Hi, Angie! A snack of coffee and cake is perfect after all that walking and wandering. That 13th century church could be a model for a cake. 1000 million years, wowza! Starting with a visit to the museum is a great way to begin. Why haven't I ever thought of that? Most travel books begin with an intro to history and geography. Thanks for the peek into Norway. The one thing that comes to mind about that area is reading a story in school about Laplanders.ReplyDelete
What a GREAT trip, Angie!! You must have been "on top of the world" over it!! I have fallen in love with "stroop waffles" that my friends from Amsterdam bring me and although they are available in the states, they are NOT the same!!...:)JPReplyDelete
Oh my! I really don't know anything about this beautiful country but you've sure peaked my curiosity. I think I'll do some armchair traveling and google search more about it. LOVE your photos...I'll look at them again too! Hugs!ReplyDelete
What a lot you packed into your time in Norway and how well you have presented it to us, I feel as if I was walking (not hiking!) right alongside you. Saimply fascinating. When we lived in Bavaria we enjoyed the tradition of kaffee and kuchen every afternoon too, so civilised!ReplyDelete
Hi Angie what an interesting post thankyou for sharing all this with us ,I found it all very interesting,hope you have a wonderful week my friend xxReplyDelete
WOW! Such a wonderful tour and terrific photos, thanks for taking us along for the ride!ReplyDelete
Angie, I learned a lot. Thank you. I love the fine looking sweets and the buildings and water are terrific. Sylvia D.ReplyDelete
How very wonderful to have your own personal travel guide who is also family to enrich your trip. That was interesting to read about quartzite. One of the towns we are looking at homes is known for quartzite. Now there is a Quartzite Brewery there, too. :) Those sweets look real good. I'm still behind on my blog visits.ReplyDelete
When I think of Norway my first thought is my grandmother. She was born in Moss and immigrated to the States through Ellis Island when she was a little girl. The brown cheese is a favourite of mine. It's called gjetost and is made from goat's milk. You can buy it here in many grocery stores, especially around Christmas. Mine has it all year long. I like it on Christmas fruit bread (Jule kaga) or raisin bread at other times. We have lots of fjords here in BC, but not as much snow and ice. - MargyReplyDelete
It all looks amazing - this is a country I'd love to see.ReplyDelete
I don't thin I am ever going to get to Norway, so thank you for taking us along. I've enjoyed my visit. WOw, that church is amazing! Happy travels and thank you for stopping by my blog this week.ReplyDelete
Thanks for an interesting presentation.ReplyDelete
It is a beautiful experience in Norway.
Enjoyed your comprehensive narrative of the lovely Norway. Sky gazing image is a beauty!ReplyDelete
My dream is to take a cruise of the fjords of Norway! What a beautiful country--your photos and descriptions took me on a wonderful armchair tour this evening--thank you!ReplyDelete
What an amazing adventure!ReplyDelete