17th of May National or Constitution Day in Norway

17th Of May in Norway17th of May, Norway’s National and Constitution Day (signed in 1814), is celebrated as the most Norwegian there is. Nationalism, patriotism and childlike enthusiasm are shown, as we celebrate our freedom (after the occupation during World War 2 and 100 years of union with Sweden) and of course the signing of our Constitution.
Adding to that, for a nation located at The Arctic Circle – after a long, dark and cold winter – we are celebrating spring! Special also, and we are damn proud of it: The children are in the center of the activities and the parades are free of military presence of any sort.

I’ve posted about this big event in Norway a lot of time. I mean – this blog is after all a place to find interesting stuff about our culture, traditions and habits – and what’s more Norwegian than 17th of May? Here are some examples:
May 17 in Norway celebrating National and Constitutional Day
17th of May – Norway’s National Day in Oslo
17th of May Parade in Norway
17th of May Norway’s Constitution Day in Oslo
17th of May Constitution or National day in Norway

I wonder: How do you celbrate the constitutional day in you’re country – or have you been in Norway at the 17th of May – for a comparison? Please share in comments!

Happy Chinese New Year of the Snake from Norway

February 10, 2013 marks the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Snake. I’ve decided to get off to a fortunate start this year by sending out Chinese New Year post to all Asian and Chinese friends. So “恭喜發財” (gung hay fat choy) or “恭喜发财” (gong xi fa cai) to you all! I do it since my blog is about cultures, traditions and habits – mostly Norwegians of course – and over the years I’ve got plenty of friends all over the world and learned a lot about others. By sharing mine, the comments to my posts and links to others in Blogsphere have been an example to me as a network enthusiast: A Givers Gain! These years of blogging have increased my social awareness and also curiosity to listen and learn as I have had the chance to experience some Chinese culture adventures in Norway too. It’s summed up in a collage I’ve made tonight:
Chinese New Year of the Snake
Frank Woo inspires Norway with Chinese Art:
Frank Woo in Oslo, NorwayWe were invited to the opening of the Chinese painting exhibition by Frank Woo in Lillestrøm (1/2 hour drive north east of Oslo). Frank is my wife Diane’s best friend’s brother. Impressed by his personality and fabulous work, I gladly shared this art adventure with you (and repeat it in this post):
Born in Hong Kong, Frank Woo’s artwork shows an inspirational blending of traditional Chinese colours and textures mingled with modern art and raw emotion. He is a self-taught painter, trained in print-making in Hong Kong. His travels and burning desire for inspiration brought him to Japan, to Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College to complete his Degree in Illustration.

Chinese Food Song and Dance in Oslo:
Chinese five DishesWe’ve had special visitors from Xinjang, China in 2007 as part of the Chinese Cultural week giving a breath taking performance in Oslo Concert Hall. Before the show a Chinese friend of mine, Cong, invited my wife and I, plus four others to dinner. I love Chinese food as it is very different and very tasty, although a bit spicier than Norwegian food. The restaurant has a nice Chinese ambiance and the setting puts us into the right mood for the evening.
Talking about my friend Cong and what I have achieved by sharing experiences and culture: Among a lot she is a lecturer and writer on Chinese Culture and Thinking teach Chinese Language at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Click and take a look at some of her Chinese Wisdoms interpretation!

To me these are example of how much you can learn from blogging, sharing and being curious about others – just like one of my sayings: Blogging and other Social Media break down cultural, religious and other barriers. That’s way I by this want to say: Happy New Year of the Snake from Norway!

Beer and food at Cafe Christiania in Oslo

Cafe Christiania Beer Dinner #1Beer in a class of its own aligned with tasteful food is what Christiania Café offers for a gourmet evening with friends or collages. It’s called a Beer Banquet = a gourmet meal with appropriate beers, designed especially for pre-booked guests. The menu is put together by the chef and beer waiter with different types of beer from all over Europe for each dish. There are also opportunities to pour your own beer from their special beer taps in the ceiling.
The menu is a surprise menu and put together from seasonal produce. They select raw materials of the best quality and preferably local Norwegian food. The servings are also based on different beers, be it in marinades, sauces, beer sorbet, beer yeast in bread and more. The beer waiter then sets the appropriate beer to the menu and the waiter tells you all about both the food and drink before each servings. A lecture in matching food and beer from all over Europe – how about that? : -)

These tables take up to 16 people – we were 6 from a work group of the Norwegian Computer Society. You see: at the end of every season of intense teamwork to provide our members with a variety of cutting edge subjects, we believe we deserve a social gathering. What’s better than a culinary feast and trying a new restaurant in Oslo then? ………. and of course you are welcome to join us:
Cafe Christiania Beer Dinner #2 Cafe Christiania Beer Dinner #3
So then, finally: let’s enjoy the menu – this surprise put together by the chef and the beer waiter:
Cafe Christiania Beer Dinner #5 Cafe Christiania Beer Dinner #4
Left: Crawfish and Mussels with Erdinger Beer (German brewed on wheat)
Right: Breast of forest dove with Trappsites Rochefort 10 (Belgian: a sweet and alcoholic aroma that pours a thick muddy brown soothing on the throat)

Cafe Christiania Beer Dinner #6 Cafe Christiania Beer Dinner #7
Left: Pig Fillet with Leffe Brune (Belgian: a delicate taste of vanilla and clove, and the full aroma of toffee and caramel)
Right: Mature Brie Cheese with Chimay Rouge (Belgian: topped with a creamy head it gives off a light, fruity apricot aroma produced by the fermentation)

We had a splendid evening with good servings, tasty food and great beer. If you happen to be in Oslo and want to give it a try – which I do recommend – here is their website.

The outcome of our interesting discussions on “Does IT Matter?” for the members of our work group is to be presented during the coming months – I’m sure they’ll like it too : -)

Ian Anderson with Jethro Tull concert in Oslo Norway

Ian Anderson Jethro Tull in Oslo 2012 #CAttending the Ian Anderson concert with his band Jethro Tull playing Aqualung, Living in the Past and of course Thick as a Brick, was a sensational nostalgic music adventure to me. I had the pleasure once before, 40 years ago and my very first concert ever. I was only 18 and for a country boy who just moved to the big capital Oslo, it was an almost indescribable adventure. People where drinking beer and there was an odd sweet fragrance in the air – they were screaming and clapping hands: I was overwhelmed *LoL*.
On the stage there was Jethro Tull from England leading by a long haired, tartan caped maniacal flute player named Ian Anderson: The concert is still reckoned as one of the great rock performances of the 70s. Most of the songs were in the album “Aqualung” released two months later. The year after, he made the album “Thick as a Brick” and of course it went through my head at this adventurous concert – this time together with my dear wife DianeCA. Our tickets were a gift from my friends at the “Boys Only” party when I turned 60 – some weeks ago. I gladly share our experience with you – this time with some collages of the photos – the light conditions where difficult, so I hope you understand:
Ian Anderson Jethro Tull in Oslo 2012 #A

Actually it was not Jethro Tull, only Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson on the posters this evening. Earlier this year it was 40 years since “Thick as a Brick” and with that in mind “Thick as a Brick 2” was made as a follow up album- however this time with Ian Anderson only on the cover.
Ian Anderson Jethro Tull in Oslo 2012 #B

It was the same band composition which Jethro Tull is known for: Guitar, bass, keyboards and drums – and in addition the boss’ with his special small guitar and his trademark: the Transverse flute. Besides, there was an extra vocalist, Ryan O’Donnell who also performed as an actor and mime artist – singing in a similar style and balancing out the more rusty voice of the boss.

The original work was performed as it was originally released on LP record – in two consecutive sessions. “Thick as a Brick” was originally featured a mixture of a prog-album and a rock opera. The so-called story – about childhood to Gerald Bostock was admittedly very in the background. In return here all the classic progressive elements with their frequent theme and tempo changes. It is not classic pop songs, but rather a coherent symphonic works. This could probably also be part of the reason that the material has been so seldom performed. The music was remarkable complex and unique in a style never copied through all these years.

The second half of the concert consisted of the raw material anno 2012. It continues the story of Gerald Bostock with a wide range of stories about what happened after adolescence. Unlike the first part of this disc consists of simple songs with a kind of cohesive story and not a coherent work. The material is also performed by this 65-year-old’s voice, and worked perfectly as successor to the first part of the concert.

And by “Locomotive Breath” as an encore, it was also a rehearsal with one of the classic songs from “Aqualung“. Although Ian Anderson doesn’t stand as long on one foot when he plays his flute solos, he is full of energy and the same enthusiasm and artistic aura which he had back in the 70s. A truly magical evening and a trip back memory lane all rolled into one.

RennyBA’s Top sites to visit in Oslo

RennyBA's Top Oslo SitesOslo is the economic and governmental centre of Norway and a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. It is an important centre for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe. The city is home to many companies within the maritime sector, some of which are amongst the world’s largest shipping companies, ship-brokers and maritime insurance brokers. Oslo is also a pilot city of the Council of Europe and the European Commission inter-cultural cities programme.
Some have been here before, others will be visiting for the first time; This post might help to make it an experience of a life time! You’ll find tips & hints to help when planning for your stay – planning is half the fun you know – and you may use this page as a reference to share when you return home too:

Oslo Sightseeing tips:
Oslo New Opera HouseOslo New Opera House: The construction – designed by the acknowledged Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta (If you want to have a look at some of their famous project around the world, click here) – is the largest single cultural-political initiative in contemporary Norway. It took five years to build and the result is an extraordinary building that rises directly from beneath the fjord. Founded by the government, the idea was to bring opera and ballet to the people and it’s the only opera house where you can walk on the roof! It’s only 5 min. walk from Grand Hotel so don’t miss it!

Vigeland Sculpture ParkVigeland Sculpture Park: The Vigeland Sculpture Park is the most striking part of Oslo’s Frogner Park. Gustav Vigeland’s (1869-1943), 212 sculptures attracts over 1 million visitors a year – even more: Vigeland also designed the layout of the entire park. It’s a popular recreational area with a human message presented through the many sculptures depicting the life cycle, and is a must see when you visit Oslo.

Thr Viking Ship MuseumMuseums at Bygdøy island: Just over the fjord is a peninsula called Bygdøy. In 20 min. you can get there by bus (number 30) or by ferry departing from the harbour by the City Hall. At Bygdøy, within walking distance, you’ll find:
The Kon-Tiki Museum showing the legendary expeditions of Thor Heyerdahl; the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History; the Viking Ship Museum; the Norwegian Maritime Museum and the ship Fram, used by Roald Amundsen on his polar expeditions. Bygdøy is one of Norway’s oldest cultural landscapes with a rich history.

Holmenkollen Ski JumpHolmenkollen Ski Jump: Just 20 min. by the tube, you are into the forest and up in the mountains with a breath taking view in the most recreational aria of Oslo.
The Holmenkollen Ski Jump is a famous Oslo attraction you should not miss. It’s the home of our national ski museum and was e.g. site of the 2011 Nordic Worlds Ski Championship.

RennyBA’s Oslo Sightseeing Map:
Click the blue marks to find more info about some of Oslo’s attractions – or click text: “RennyBA’s Terella Oslo Guide” (down left) to explore the map in details!

Vis RennyBA’s Terella Oslo Guide i et større kart

All you need to know about Oslo:
VisitOSLOVisitOSLO is the official marketing organization for Oslo and the surrounding regions. The purpose of their website is to promote Oslo as a travel destination. It’s the Official Travel Guide to Oslo providing all the information you need to plan your visit. I strongly recommend that you visit their site and get acquainted with Oslo; what they have to offer and what you would like to do: www.visitoslo.com

Use Public Transportation!
Oslo PassTake the Gardemoen Express Train from the airport (fastest = 22 min. and cheepest!). All trains stop at the Central Train Station, every other stops at the station “Nationalteateret” which is right in the centre of the ciry. Then there is a comprehensive public transport system in Oslo, consisting of buses, trams, trains, boats and T-bane/Sub/Metro.
Easiest way to explore Oslo and surroundings, the Oslo Pass, provides free travel on all public transport and free admission to museums and sights.

Weather & Climate:
Songsvann in Oslo by RennyBAThanks to the Gulf Stream bringing temperate water from the Gulf of Mexico, Oslo’s climate is milder that what its latitude would imply.
Statistics says for October: Average temperatures: 6,3 to 10,8°C // Min. temperature: -0,2°C and Max. temperature: 22,5°C
You’ll get the best weather forecast by clicking here!

Check if you need a Visa:
A visa is not required for nationals of countries with which Norway has signed a visa waiver agreement. Nationals of countries with a visa waiver may stay in Norway for up to 90 days. The countries with which Norway has a visa waiver agreement are listed here.