CategoryHistory

May is almost Summer and full of Festivals in Norway

Spring time in NorwayMay is a lovely month – most Norwegians believe it’s the most beautiful: Never is the grass greener, the tulips bloom and beautiful lilacs spread their intoxicating scent. May is the month of plenty of holidays and nearly summer. It is the month to buy new shoes, summer dresses and ironing the flag. May is the month for confirmations, ice cream, summer parties and garden parties on the green lawns surrounded by flowers. It is the month to find the grill and take the year’s first swim in the ocean – the craziest of us have a tradition of swimming before May 1st, but most expect the first swim to be well into May. Anyway, while waiting for the water to get warm enough you can live it up with a blanket and basket in the park or at the beach.

Writing a blog about Norway; our history, traditions and habits, I have made plenty of posts to illustrate and explain all about this. So in this post, I have decided to sum it all up and give you it all – chronologically in a nutshell – about May traditions in Norway:

May is Norway’s own month
May Celebrations in NorwayMay means exams for many and of course we have to work a bit too. For some its graduation and then the Russ celebration is on (see below). Actually, Norway in May is the month of red, white and blue, marching bands and national anthems. We’ve got three anniversaries: 8 May is the Liberation Day 1945, 17th of May our Constitution Day 1814 and then June 7 Union Resolution (from Sweden) 1905 – everybody has his way connected with liberation. Adding to that, we have the Labour Day – of course at the 1st of May. All these days have the status of public Flag Day.

1st of May – labor day:
1st of May in NorwayEvery year different Unions or local chapters of the Federation in Norway arrange the 1st of May parade. Labor Day was first celebrated in Norway in 1890. Since 1947, 1st May has been a public holiday. In most places in Norway, like in Oslo, the host for the demonstration parade is LO (The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions); decidedly the largest and most influential workers’ organization. It all starts with speaches at Youngstorget (The Labor Square).
You might like to read about one of my 1st of May experience meeting our prime minister some years ago by clicking here!

8 May – Liberation Day 1945:
8 May 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally and the Second World War ended in Europe. Norway was again a free country and never has there been such a party. The freedom party that started on May 8 lasted a whole month and reached its peak by King Haakon’s return to Oslo on June 7.

May 17th – National or Constitutional Day
17th Of May in Norway17th of May is Norway’s national day. Across the country there are parades with school children -celebrating signing of the Norwegian Constitution at Eidsvoll in 1814 – with flags, bunad (national clothing), marching bands, ice cream and is one of this country’s happiest days.
Our famous writer Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson was also a pioneer when it came 17th. In 1870 he organized the first children’s parade in Christiania it went from Akershus Fortress past Parliament and ended up at the Royal Castle. The parade consisted of approximately 1,200 boys and in 1889 also the girls were in the parade. The idea of the parade belonged to the school principal P. Quam who in 1869 conducted a parade of children from their school. Since 17 May 1906, the Norwegian royal family has stood on the palace balcony and greeted Oslo schools’ pupils, except in 1910 when King Edward VIII, Queen Maud’s father, was buried, and during the war years 1940-1945. Reed all about these tradition and celebrations on my posts by clicking here!

The revelling Norwegian Russ in May:
Russ in NorwayThe tradition goes back to the 1700s, at a time when no universities existed in Norway, and Norwegians would attend the University of Copenhagen to study alongside Danish students. To be enrolled at the university, students had to pass the Examine Artium.
The modern Norwegian russ tradition dates back to 1905, when the red russ caps were introduced. The caps were initially only used by boys, and were inspired by German students, who in 1904 wore red caps when they visited Norway. In 1916, blue caps were introduced at the Oslo Handelsgymnasium, a high school specializing in economics.
In the russ vehicle, modern tradition requires an expensive stereo both on the roof and inside the vehicle (the largest systems allowed can have forty speakers which can generate over sixty thousand watts), bus sweaters, bus lighters/key strings, bus caps and a bus song.
Read all about this russ traditions by clicking here!

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:
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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.
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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.

7 years of blogging at RennyBA’s Terella

RennyBA celebrating 60 years with a look backHappy blogaversary to Terella.no! As many of you may remember from previous years, my adventure with blogging started out as an experiment. I was lecturing a class in “Technology Business and the Society” at the Norwegian School of Management and among the topics was a new phenomenon; Blogging. Considering myself a network evangelist, the concept fascinated me and I decided to try starting my own blog. After a short time I was addicted as it seems blogging filled several needs in my personal interests. It filled my need to be social and meet new people, it fulfilled my interest in networking, my passion for technology, and last but not least it enhanced my enthusiasm for photography providing a place to share my interests with people from all around the world.

Blogging connecting people:
Oslo Blog Gathering Logo 365-400Over the years I have experienced many new and interesting things because of my blog. I have met new people who over the years have become good friends to me. I now have friends all over the world, and have both visited other bloggers and had many visitors in my homeland because of our connection through blogging.
Oslo Blog Gathering in 2010 is a good example of how blogging has brought myself and others together. Not only did I get the opportunity to meet many of my readers face to face, but many of those who started reading my blog have become friends with each other have built new friendships and new networks out from people they met in Oslo.

Living the good life through blogging:
In recent years living a good life – or as the Italians say “La Dolce Vita” has become more and more important to me! When I came down with Parkinson’s disease a few years ago I had to learn to slow down and give more focus to enjoying life. I quickly experienced that blogging also enhanced my personal enjoyment and quality time with my wife DianeCA. Diane shares my interest in photography and social media, and together our quality time together grows when we share it with others.
7 years of blogging at RennyBA’s Terella #B
We both enjoy photo hunting and trying to capture the magic of the day, the season or the moment. We often enjoy what we are doing that much more while we are imprinting a memory that we will later share with others. We have also traveled around Europe over the last few years and met up with some of our blogging friends. Almost anywhere we wish to travel we already know someone we can contact in that land.

Expanding to other social media – a bonus not a replacement:
In the past couple of years some of the time I used to spend blogging has gone over to new forms for Social Media such as Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. I don’t see these things so much as a competition to my blog as an enhancement. I use them to keep in daily contact with friends from the blogsphere – and while I may blog less often than I did in the beginning, I like to keep my theme – Norway and the Nordic countries; our culture, traditions and habits while keeping the quality of my posts at a high level. I feel it is more important that the reader learn something interesting from my posts then that they follow my daily movements.

Family from Norway exploring Cinque Terre in Italy

Family from Norway exploring Cinque Terre in Italy #1Cinque Terre (means five lands) consists of 5 tiny villages connected by footpaths and linked by boat, rail, and trail. At the Northwest coast of Italy, they date as far back as the 13th century and sit on the hillsides of that plunge into the Mediterranean Sea. Colorful houses seem to hang on the cliffs. Local churches sound their daily chimes. And the land is terrace farmed for food. Surrounding these five villages is an infinite mosaic of vineyards, olive and lemon groves, and fruited trees. These agricultural plots seem to hang onto the sheer cliffs above the sea. And from these marvelous fields, we receive tangy local wines such as Sciacchetra, purely extracted olive oils, and delightful herbed pesto.
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These five communities discourage auto traffic to preserve the tradition and ecological impact of the area – so they are best reached by train. It has now become a World Heritage Site and a UNESCO National Park. In fact, certain parts of the nearby sea are part of the National Park system as well. And it is the preservation of this area that makes for some clear water scuba diving and snorkeling.
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The agriculture is of main concern here in Cinque Terre. All of the 5 towns and other rural villages are tied to each other in their quest to keep local farming alive. The towns people, like their forefathers, preserve the terraced farms as a means of income and property stability. While some of the farmland has been abandoned and is scrub, most have been passed on from generation-to-generation. They farm mostly wine grapes, olives, pears, and herbs. Each family plot is divided by old, dry-rock, stonewalls, built hundreds of years ago.
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Monterosso al Mare is the most western of the 5 towns and the closest to being a classic beach town of the Italian Riviera. Vernazza, and Corniglia are just a few kilometers down the coastline.

The latter is different from the others because it is situated on a plateau, over 300 feet above sea level, while the others lie next to the Sea. Manarola and Riomaggiore lie on the eastern end. All of the villages are linked by charming cobblestone pathways that make home to local musicians.
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Over centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. The villages are not influenced by modern development, and that simple, original look, combined with pretty colorful houses, arranged one upon another like stairs gives this piece of Ligurian coast a unique charm:
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This is the fifth post from our big family trip; my wife (DianeCA) and I, our children + SO and even my grandchild met up with Diane’s brothers and spouse from the USA. 14 people in all gathering in Pisa at the Park Hotel California, and having the time of our lives enjoying each other’s company, getting better acquainted and exploring this wonderful part of Italy. From my first post: Family from Norway touring Tuscany in Italy, you’ll get an introduction and then you’ll find information and links to my other posts from Pisa, Florence and Sierra.

Pisa more than Leaning Tower for Norway Family

Pisa more than Leaning Tower #7Born as an Etruscan port on the banks of the Arno River around the middle of the 6th century B.C., Pisa is much more than the famous Leaning Tower. Known as Pisae, a Roman colony, the settlement displayed some Ligurian and Etruscan influence. After the end of the Roman Empire, this was a port town of great importance for the Goths’, the Longobards and the Carolingians too. In the 11th century, a further development transformed Pisa into one of the most powerful Italian Maritime Republics, together with Genoa, Venice and Amalfi. In this period the buildings that made Pisa famous were begun: the Duomo, the cathedral’s bell tower and the well-known Leaning Tower.
Because of their peripatetic nature, Pisans brought long-forgotten ideas of science, architecture and philosophy back to Europe from their trade travels. Pisa’s great variety of architectural styles in its monuments is testament to their exposure to different people, cultures and artistic concepts and to their willingness to blend and harmonize external influences into new and original forms of expression.
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It was here that the refined Pisan-Romanesque style was born – Pisa’s permanent legacy to the world’s art, and where Galileo, one of the world’s greatest physicists and astronomers, and Leonardo Fibonacci, the great mathematician, were born, studied and taught. It can also add its renowned University established in 1343 to its hall of fame, as it remains today one of Italy’s top schools.

Piazza Garibaldi:
This square is very popular. It is in the exact centre of the city, and in fact the bridge opposite the square is called Ponte di Mezzo, the “middle bridge”. The statue in the square is of Garibaldi. The square is always very crowded and it is one of the gathering points in Pisa:
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From April to July the square is packed with students going to the bars that open onto the square and sitting on the Lungarno walls. Moreover, in this square you can find the best ice-cream shop, La Bottega del Gelato: don’t miss it!

The Square of Miracles:
The Piazza dei Miracoli was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO 25 years ago. The square is not located in the center of the city as you might imagine but to the north-west of the fortified wall, almost out of the town; there probably wasn’t enough space to use at the time the project got underway so this is the site decided upon. Since the times of the Etruscans, the three structures found in the piazza have been considered central to religious life, symbolizing the main stages of a human’s life: the Baptistery represents birth, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore life and the graveyard of course alludes to death.
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The square is surrounded by a beautiful green lawn where tourists and university students can lie down and relax in this amazing setting.

The Leaning Tower:
What about the Tower of Pisa? Well, we haven’t forgotten it but the famous and so called Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually considered a part of the cathedral since it is really its bell tower.
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The construction of this imposing mass was started in the year 1174 by Bonanno Pisano. When the tower had reached its third stores, the works ceased because it had started sinking into the ground. The tower remained thus for 90 years and was completed by Giovanni di Simone, Tommano Simone (son of Andreo Pisano), crowned the tower with the belfry in the mid-14th century. The top of the Leaning Tower can be reached by mounting the 294 steps which rise in the form of a spiral on the inner side of the tower walls.
The Tower is the monument that, among the others of the “Piazza dei Miracoli”, stirs the imagination of everybody. Typically tourists take some kind of photo of them holding up the tower for fun! And our extended family is no exception as you can see – after all it is quite heavy!
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This is the fourth post from our big family trip; my wife (DianeCA) and I, our children + SO and even my grandchild met up with Diane’s brothers and spouse from the USA. 14 people in all gathering in Pisa at the Park Hotel California, and having the time of our lives enjoying each other’s company, getting better acquainted and exploring this wonderful part of Italy. From my first post: Family from Norway touring Tuscany in Italy, you’ll get an introduction and then you will know that I’ll do more posts from this trip, so stay tuned – Cinque Terre is next – I’ve saved the best post for last!