The Great Norwegian Adventure

Ever since ¼ of the Norwegian population immigrated to the US, in search of the American Dream, there`s been traces of Norwegian culture in the US. The Norwegian-Americans created these “Norwegian”-towns, with Norwegian food, traditions, and churches and even newspapers.

Today, there aren’t much left of this old Norwegian-American culture, but there are still old communities that have kept their traditions alive from their ancestors. There`s a town called Poulsbo, Washington, which is filled with Viking helmets, flags, Nisser and paintings of fjords. In Brooklyn, NY, you can find a shop filled with Norwegian food items, which also serves Norwegian meals, and when you open the door a smell of Norwegian waffles lingers in the air.

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Understandably, many descendants from Norway are interested in knowing about their roots, but what you might not know is that we here in Norway are just as interested in this culture as well. Considering the amount of people who left this country of ours, and how there´s not more than about 5 million people in Norway, and there is an equal amount of N-A descendants, I guess you can understand that the saying “everyone has a relative in America” is not an understatement!

A couple of years ago, this new reality show was broadcasted on Norwegian television; called the Great Norwegian Adventure. Or “Alt for Norge” as well call it. (Literally means, everything for Norway).  It’s a competition where Norwegian-Americans compete about Norwegian culture, both traditional and modern, in order to win $50K and meet their Norwegian relatives. The show is quite hilarious, especially when you consider that most of the Norwegian traditions these people know about are up to 150-200 old, and well, let`s just say that Norway has changed since the 1850s!

So I really wanted to show you guys some highlights of the show (and relax, it`s all in English, except for a short intro in Norwegian). This clip shows a contestant who learns where her family was from, and then it turns out that her ancestor was the inspiration for one of Norway`s traditional dresses, a Bunad! (This is a MAJOR thing in Norway)

In Today`s world, we emigrate and immigrate, move here and move there, cross continents and what not`s. So if you come from a diverse background, I`d love to hear about it!  Do you know where your  ancestors were from? Have you kept any special traditions?

 

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(re)discover your neighbourhood

I live close by several major tourist attractions, and every time I take the subway, I can guarantee you, there will be tourists either going uphill or downtown. What makes them stand out, besides the foreign languages, is that they always seat themselves on the side of the subway where you can see all over town. And they take photos. A lot. Which made we wonder. When was the last time I actually took a camera with me and took photos of my town? I mean, I live in the Capital; crying out loud. There are plenty (!!) of pretty things to discover and take photos of. Why should only the tourists experience the city like this?

 Therefore, a couple of weeks ago, on a beautiful, sunny Sunday, BF and I went for a walk downtown. And this time I brought my camera with me. At first it felt a bit odd, taking pictures of everything, but then I thought about the social media world we live in today, so I figured, why should I be bothered if anyone thinks I`m an obsessive Instagrammer (I´m not), or that I`m a blogger (which I am. But only one person in my real life knows about it). Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. I took out my camera when we got to the Royal Palace, thought it`d be an easy transition, you know, all the tourists and me. And then I stopped caring, and started taking pictures.

Norwegian Royal PalaceCarl Johan statueThe Royal Palace where the King and the Queen reside, but during summer it`s open for the public through guided tours. A statue of the Norwegian&Swedish King Carl Johan, by which the street leading down from the castle and all the way down to the central station is named after. The inscription says: “the people`s love, my reward”.

Aker brygge by winteraker brygge in winterAker Brygge. A very popular place during spring and summer. They sell the best ice-cream there! There are green areas where people can have a picnic, and children can play. The latest thing is a small beach! Franklin D. Roosevelt statue in OsloAnd as a special treat for all you American readers, here`s what looked like a very random statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt. I did google it, and it turns out, during the WW2, the president had a speech called Look to Norway. A very inspirational speech for all resistance fighters in Europe. So we put up a statue as thanks!

oslo tram from 1913oslo tram from 1913 (1)While walking towards the central station, we discovered that the old tram was in use for the day, so I just had to hop on. The tram is from 1913, and they usually take it out for a spin on Sundays. Such a great experience. Not much has changed, other than the tram driver was a woman. Don`t think that would`ve been allowed in 1913!

Vulkan Mathall / Vulkan Food MarketVulkan Mathall / Vulkan Food MarketThe last thing we did was go uptown to an area called Grünerløkka, where the Food Market can be found. This area was previously an industrial area of the city, but is now where all the hipsters hang around. Compared to markets in other European countries, the Food Market is very dissappointing. It`s crazy expensive, and mostly just exists of small dining areas. Not the place for a poor student trying to make her ends meet. But it was a fun experience. And it does smell lovely in there!! kornsilo, studentbolig, grain silo turned student housingI thought I`d end this tour today with a funny building you can find next to the Food Market. It`s a former grain silo turned into student housing! Genious right? Though, I`ve heard it`s hard to decorate with all the walls being rounded…

So whether you live in a big city, a small town or in the country, when was the last time you actually stopped, looked around and “smelled the roses”? In the busy everyday you can easily forget that the place you live might actually be worth (re)discovering. Oslo can be  ugly and scary, but also peaceful and beautiful, it`s all in the eye of the beholder. So here`s my challenge to you. Go explore your neighbourhood.  And bring a camera, you never know when you gonna need it!

If you blog about it, let me know, and I`ll link you up on my blog! I`d love to see some other parts of the world rediscovered!

Budget Friendly Vacation; Visiting Family

I`m having a winterbreak from Uni and I`m currently visiting my parents in a town called Stavanger, on the west coast of Norway, so I thought I`d share a list of how visiting family can be budget friendly and a positive experience.

  • It`s the cheapest vacation there is. As long as I`m a student, my parents have decided to help me with airplane tickets, which I really appreciate, because I`d probably never would`ve had the chance to visit if it hadn’t been for their financial help.
  • Accommodation is free, as you`ll probably be sleeping in your old bedroom!
  • Family is important. Either your family is one big happy one or a complicated one. Family relations can be quite difficult, as I`ve experienced with my siblings, but I`m really close with my parents and I am so thankful for this, as I know not everyone is as lucky.
  • The thrill of travelling. I love to travel, no matter how short or long a journey.
  • Quality time with your loved ones! I get to spend some quality time with my family`s dogs, two super cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniels while taking long walks with my mom talking about everything between heaven and earth.
  • Eat for free!
  • It`s good for you! Being a student makes me feeling guilty for every hour I`m not studying, so getting away from everyday life for a couple of days or more, can be healthy for mind and body.
  • Having no-spend days is great for the budget.
  • You can splurge a bit! I can drink as much Diet Coke as I want to, because my mom always makes sure to have it in the fridge when I visit.
  • A change of scenery. I get to visit another part of the country or Europe (my parents switch between living in Spain, the westcoast of Norway and Northern Norway; no their not vagabonds or gypsies; my dad works in the oil business)

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What are your thoughts about visiting family? Do you find it a good experience or can complicated family relations make it difficult?

A Fisherman`s Village

I`ll guess most of you will never visit Norway, but let me show you a couple of photos from my ancestors place; Lofoten…

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ImageImageIf you want to view more breathtaking photos, than just google Lofoten, Norway, and I can promise you a scenery you`ll never forget!

My Christmas Goals

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  • Finish my take-home exam next week.
  • Spend a lot of time on the beach
  • Be happy
  • Read a good book
  • Have long breakfasts on the balcony while enjoying the view of palm trees
  • Take long walks with our two dogs
  • Visit the island`s capital, Las Palmas and take a walk in the old town.
  • Make some more Christmas sweets
  • Practice my Spanish
  • Play and cuddle with the dogs; they`re just the cutest ever!
  • Spend quality time with my family
  • Go shopping for some much needed new clothes
  • Plan a strictly food-blog project
  • Drink a lot of ice-cold Diet Coke
  • Have long talks with my mom
  • Go to church on Christmas Eve
  • Write more exciting posts on travelling
  • Take a lot of pictures
  •  Eat a lot of Chinese food
  • Donate christmas gifts to charity
  • Make the Christmas-dinner
  • Plan my 2013 budget
  • Try new recipes and share them with you
  • Help my brother with finding an apartment
  • Eat the best ice-cream in the world
  • Order curricula for the spring semester
  • Celebrate new year`s Eve with my best friends

 What are your goals for this Christmas?