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!

Celebrating New Year with Seafood and Fireworks

Happy New Year 2013It’s time to open a new book with blank pages. The book – or blog in my case – I will call it “Opportunity”, and the first chapter is devoted to a Happy New Year Greeting. I could write about New Year’s Resolutions, New Year Greeting Cards, New Year’s Day Messages etc., but have decided to concentrate on a look at our New Year’s Eve traditions.
Still at the darkest and often coldest time of the year this sets the scene for enthusiasm and cheer so the celebrations are traditionally a blast of a feast. These traditions are all based on folklore and myths since the return of the sun has an important influence on our daily life and calls for special celebrations. In this post I’ll concentrate on our seafood delight dinner and the fact that we send up our own fireworks:

New Year’s Eve Dinner:
New Years Seafood delight dinner #AWe have followed the same procedure as for many years this Holiday – the best season of the year – Christmas Eve dinner with our children and visiting family the 1st day of Christmas (for the Yule Smorgasbord, click to read my post about the feast of traditional food: Norwegian Christmas Day Smorgasbord). Next stop is our vacation home in Sweden to celebrate New Year’s Eve. There are three important ingredients in this celebration; a week off, seafood dinner with champagne and of course setting off our own fireworks. Let’s start with the dinner:
My regular readers know we love seafood and no wonder since we have such a long coastline and Norwegians are known as fishermen. Only the best is on the table this evening: lobster, crab, crawfish and shrimp – all naturel – and the whole topped with a bottle of champagne. To make it short: click the photo to bigify, sit in and enjoy!

Setting off our own fireworks:
Happy New Year 2013Ever since my childhood, I remember we were allowed to stay up until pass midnight to see the fireworks. I also remember passing this tradition on to my children and the day before we would build a big ramp to shoot them off with snow and ice holding bottles for the rockets. These days for convenience and safety, I’ve changed from rockets to a box of fireworks with only one fuse.
Part of the anticipation is to buy it the day before. They demonstrate all the kinds they have on a video and we bought one which lasted for a bit more than a minute. Everyone goes out to see and the children have fun with sparklers : -). How we buy it and do it is to be read in my post: .

Happy New Year:
A new year has just begun and from all of me to all of you dear readers I wish you all the best and:
Happy New Year – Godt Nytt År – Gelukkig nieuwjaar – Bonne année – Gutes Neues Jahr – Buon Capo d’Anno – Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu – Szczesliwego Nowego roku – Feliz ano novo – Feliz Año Nuevo !

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.

Outdoor recreation in crisp Norwegian fall colours

Colorfull Fall in NorwayMy blog is about Norway, our culture, traditions and habits including the significant four seasons and fall or autumn is an excellent example. In Norwegian the season is called Høst which comes from the harvest of fruits, vegetables and grains that traditionally would be stored for the winter. It also means a significant change in the nature – the most colourful one – a perfect time for outdoors recreation; for charging your batteries before the dark wintertime season. We’ve had the loveliest sunny weather this weekend and my wife and I have had some quality time while enjoying the colourful fall scenery on our photo hunts. You’re welcome to join and enjoy some of the shots – let’s start with some collages I’ve made with the PS Touch app on my iPad:
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

Outdoor Recreation:
I love it and have posted about it plenty of times: Norwegians love outdoor life associated with physical activity or use of leisure time in nature. With outdoor life, I mean enjoying nature’s air outdoors, and should not be confused with English free or clean air, or even free of contamination. However, that’s what you get and it’s of course an important part of the recreational effect of a family trip out and about – especially in the fall!
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

If you think about it: We humans lived outdoors long before we lived indoors, and we had two million years as hunters and gatherers. So we’ve developed a body and a mind that is predisposed to a life in and of nature. The last thousand years however, we have developed a culture and a civilization that somehow appears to put ourselves above the rest of nature. To find peace and a new balance we need to interact with the old natural elements. My respectful contention is that these environments are vital to our health, well being and peace of mind:
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

The Crisp Fall colours:
Talking about quality time and the colourful season change in fall, I’ll let these photos speak for themselves:
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway
Colorful scenery; nature, people and animals in perfect harmony!
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

Norwegian Fall Cuisine:
Talking about traditions and habits within the frame of significant seasons: Even from my childhood, I remember well the smell of fall in the house – yes, you could smell it all over: Får i kål = “sheep in cabbage” or “mutton and cabbage stew” if you like: made from Norwegian mutton and fresh harvested cabbage, served with falls fresh potatoes. You can read all about this dish and even get the recipe in an earlier blog post of mine!
Even if my dear wife is an American, she has learned the tricks in making the very best dish – and if you add the nice treat she always packs for our quality time in the outdoor recreation – well then you know I am the luckiest guy in the whole world:
Colorfull Fall in Norway Colorfull Fall in Norway

Now you have seen us exploring our natural environment. How do you interact with your natural environment? Maybe you don’t have these colourful changes in your seasons, but every place has its own unique beauty. Let’s hear from your part of the world – share with us in the comments!

Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway

Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #2This weekend is the big “Get Outdoors Day” in Norway; the Norwegian Tourist Association’s national Outdoors Recreation Sunday – time to get up off the couch! In Oslo, the main event takes place at Sognsvann – a lake up in the mountain/forest 15 minutes from downtown by the tube. The whole idea and main goal is of course to motivate everyone to be more physically active and explore nature in your own neighborhood. The camp at Sognsvann has been held 20 years in a row – I was there with my wife and a friend and gladly invite you along to motivate you too:
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway
This grand event gives everyone in Oslo a good opportunity to use nature in a healthy way. Outdoor activity is good for both physical and mental health. This annual outdoor camp is also of course an important carrier of the tradition of Norwegian leisure culture.
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #1 Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #9

Sunday was the chance – for children all age – to try climbing, rowing, canoeing, fishing, orienteering, jumping – even skiing – and much, much more – free of charge!
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #12 Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #7
Skiing and Fishing
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #13 Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #10
Kiting and Swimming
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #8 Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #11
Canoeing and Climbing

Quality time with my wife:
I was there, all thanks to my wife. Struggling with my Parkinson – the uninvited guest in my body makes me stiff and hard to get going – it’s always easy to sit back in the couch and feel sorry for myself. However, to head out in the nature and get out of the patient role is the best way to charge my batteries – actually the best medicine too! So my dear Diane; Thanks for inviting me out and to share this nature in a quality time with me!
Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #3 Family Outdoor Recreation Day in Norway #4
The clean, fresh air – the scenery: is there any more recreational?

The summer in Norway is coming to an end but that isn’t the end of outdoor family fun. There are plenty of outdoor activities to do here all year round, and the Norwegian Outdoor Recreation Union does a great job of giving families plenty of inspiration for the seasons to come!