Feel More at Home on Our Amazing Norway

Feel More at Home on Our Amazing Norway #1A magazine providing expats with everything they need to know about living in Norway and making it a true home. This publication includes extensive information about the country’s most interesting cities, Norwegian news, local cuisine, health and happiness, socializing and making Norwegian friends, a beautiful photographic tour, adjusting to a new way of life, a cultural overview, and a multitude of local business, restaurant and service listings.
Blogging about Norway, our culture, history, and traditions, I’ve met a lot of Expats in the Blogsphere and in recent years in real life. A lot of questions have been asked through comments in my posts, in mail or in person and I have tried the best to give a relevant answer. As a local, it’s often difficult to explain what is obvious or what is difficult to understand, when you are born into your homeland. So when I got this magazine from a blog friend, Kristie at Culture Shock, I just had to share it with you! The premier issue is really an interesting read, whether you are a local, an expat or just simply want to know more about Norway and how it is to live here. Let me give you some examples:

Facts and figures:
In total, the immigrants and their Norwegian-born children constitute more than 550 000 persons, or more than 11 % of the whole population at the beginning of 2010 plus an estimated 69,000 working immigrants that are staying for less than six months. Statistics Norway’s projection of immigrants shows that the number of immigrants is expected to increase sharply in the coming years, from 550 000 today to between 1 and 1.8 million in 2060.
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Some may wonder what actually an Expat is. You’ll find an answer on even that in this magazine: “One who have taken up residency in a foreign country” or “Residing in a foreign country – expatriated”

Interesting read in the premier issue:
Feel More at Home on Our Amazing Norway #2Here are some example of subjects:
* The Kingdom of Norway: About the Royal House of Norway, facts and figures and nice to know in a nutshell.
* Norway at a glance: A small peek at some of the most interesting cities.
* 5 Norwegian foods You Must Try!
* You’re hired! Everything you need to know about getting a job in Norway
* Where to meet locals?
* Education – the gateway to your dreams
* and plenty of more interesting stuff as well as wonderful photos!

Get it for free:
People who are new in Norway, are looking to immigrate to Norway, and especially those who already live in Norway can request a free copy of the premier issue of Our Amazing Norway by visiting IOS apps for the iPad and iPhone are also available in App Store!

RennyBA’s Blog Friends meet up in Mariestad Sweden

Mariestad The Osean City #1My motto is Blogging connecting people and meeting blog friends in person is always special after you’ve gotten to know them through their posts over the years. As many of you know we have our vacation home in Mariestad, the pearl of Lake Vänern, and this year we had the privilege of inviting our good friends TorAa and wife Anna from Norway as well as Mr. & Mrs. Lifecruiser from Sweden to a Scandinavian blog gathering there last weekend. Like other bloggers, these folks love to travel and are always looking for adventures and are eager to go photo hunting in new places – so I was looking forward to showing them around in Mariestad with its slogan: “The Sea City” (goes well with the photo – don’t you think).
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Mariestad Harbor Summer 2011

Some may think that Mariestad, popular in the summer time with its beaches and islands, might be kind of dull in the winter time. It’s true that there are fewer tourists and fairs, festivals or exhibitions, however there is still a lot to see and experience in this charming town all year round. Let me give a few examples:

The Cathedral and The Old Town:
Mariestad was founded in 1583 by Duke Karl (later become King Karl IX), who named the city after his wife, Duchess Maria av Pfalz. The hidden jewel at the heart of the city is the beautiful wooden buildings of the Old Town, which were erected in the 18th and 19th centuries and are still almost perfectly intact. The city of Mariestad suffered a great fire in 1895 so this old section is the only one not destroyed by the raging flames.
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Mariestad Cathedral is built (1593–1625) upon antagonism between the two brothers Duke Karl and Johan III. Duke Karl copied his brother’s drawings over the church in the capital city, Stockholm (St. Klara Church), drawn by the Dutchman Wilhelm Boy. As you can see, it’s close by the old town and of course with its tower which is a landmark of Mariestad.

Exhibition: MC – Adventure – Freedom:
Mariestad had more to offer then its own charm this weekend – , in the library of all places we found a MC Exhibition. Taurus MC club, founded 20 years ago, held their annual MC show with about 100 enthusiastic members who enjoy displaying some of their treasures. Every spring they do a long weekend trip, one was even to Norway! Their favorite destination is south Europe where riding on the scenic Alps are the top of the cream : -)
The exhibition’s main attraction was this beauty of a bike model 1993, build in India. Royal Enfield MC have been continuously built for more than 100 years – the longest in the world:
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Royal Enfield 500 Bullitt
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A mini model display and some club photos

The bloggers meet up:
Camp base was our vacation home just outside of the city. Whenever we get together – even if it was two years since we met the Lifecruisers – it always feels like we met just yesterday. I guess it’s because we have so much in common. Traveling and photo shooting are well documented in this post, and of course good food and beverages was part of the fun too, which can be documented this way:
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Computers, Sangria and champagne on the table : -)
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Left: Spanish Tapas – Right: Lifecruiser’s shrimp cocktail with Champagne onion
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Left: Anna is cooking -> Right: An authentic old fashioned slow cooked meat dinner

We had a lot to talk about at this little Scandinavian blog gathering. Of course there is all we have in common but we also have a secret plan – a common dream – or rather a common goal. We will all meet again a bit south for Scandinavia. Keep watching and maybe you will catch a glimpse of us all together again this summer – in Provence, South of France at our good friend Claudie & Pierre’s home! The days are getting longer and the sun is higher in the sky, and we are looking forward to more exploring with good blog friends real soon.

Terella 6th Anniversary gives best posts about Norway

OsloBG2010 at RennyBARennyBA’s Terella is about Norway and the Nordic countries; the significant four seasons, our culture, traditions and habits. Six years ago today I started out on a project, not having any idea how large and great this project would be. This Anniversary post will be a look back at some of the highlights + a bit facts & figures:
This post is N° 548 and there are totally 15 150 comments approved. Yearly page view rate is now about 55 000 and almost 70% comes from Google with search words like Oslo fish market or Rakfisk (a traditional Yule dish), Gaustatoppen (mountain with the longest and widest view), Liv Ullman and Aleksander Rybak. The 10 most visitor countries are US, Norway, UK, Canada, Sweden, Germany, India, Australia, Netherlands and Philippines.Enough hard facts, let’s take a look at the most popular post each year; RennyBA’s Terella Hall of Fame (click photos to read the post):

2006: Norwegian Christmas Day Smorgasbord
Christmas smorgasbord in NorwayLots of my posts, especially at Christmas time are about food, but then again it is an important part of Norwegian Yuletide. This post is about some of our old home made food traditions, with recipes passed down for many generations and I consider myself lucky having a mom who still holds on to them. My mom and grandmother did most of it in the kitchen with fresh meat coming directly from the butcher. Then of course we have the cookies – 7 varieties – and the marzipan and other types of confect. It all shows up at our First Christmas Day smorgasbord at the traditional family gathering.

2007: 17th of May – Norway’s National Day
17th of May National Day in NorwayOur constitution was signed at this day in 1814 and declared Norway an independent nation. All over Norway, children march through the local neighbourhoods with an abundance of flags and traditional costumes. Each elementary school arranges its own parade, led by the school’s own marching band. The parade takes the children through the community, often making stops at homes for senior citizens, war memorials, etc.

2008: Christmas tree and food traditions in Norway
Christmas tree at RennyBANorwegians have either a spruce or a pine tree in their living room – decorated with white lights, tinsel, Norwegian flags and other ornaments for Christmas. As a child and with my children of course, we made paper baskets of shiny, collared paper. The baskets can be filled with candy or nuts. Chains made of collared paper are also very popular.
Our celebration starts Christmas Eve at 6PM with a feast and before presents are opened, we “circle the Christmas tree”; all the family holds hands to form a ring around the tree, and walk around the tree singing carols.

2009: From frozen Paradise to hot summer beaches
Bikini beach in NorwayAfter all, my blog is about our significant four seasons and this post literary illustrating my point. It’s a story about our favourite beach and how it change from the hot summer days where you need to cool down in a dip and then to wintertime where we go skiing and skating at the very same spot. So within 6 month, you switch from snowsuits to tiny bikinis – and everything between (sometimes less *LoL*).
Around summer solstice, the sun is up from around 3:45AM to 10:45PM -19 hours in southern Norway. If you then have in mind that the sun is up only for 5 hours in mid winter and the temperature is around -10C, I guess you understand why Norwegians are crazy about taking advantage of this sunny, warm weather.

2010: The Oslo Blog Gathering
OsloBG2010 at RennyBAA dream came true – No doubt OsloBG2010 is my ultimate Social Media experience. It fulfilled my saying “Blogging Connecting People” when about 30 friends from all over the world met – in real flesh – in August in Oslo! It was a once in a life time experience and also proved another of my saying about networking like blogging: “It’s a Givers Gain”:
After sharing about Norway in general and Oslo in particular, it was a blast of a gathering when I finally could meet at least some of my regular readers and show them around at places they had read about and wanted to see by themselves! The top of the cream was when The Major of Oslo invited as all to the Town Hall and even a guided tour around in the building.
I’ve done my best to collect some of the blog posts by the participants about their stay and what they liked about Norway and Oslo. Take a look at OsloBG’s official program site and there you find the link to the participants and their reports from the gathering!

As I always say “Blogging Connecting People”: When I started this blog and first came up with that motto I had no idea how true it would be. Now I have so many good friends from all around the world, and blogging here on my Terella has brought me in touch with all of them. Thank you all for following along on my adventures and here’s to another year of blogging and connecting people!

A look back at OsloBG exploring Oslo and Norway

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #1Oslo Blog Gathering; A guided adventure in Oslo, the capital of Norway, to explore the city with our history, culture and traditions – 19th to 21st of August 2010 – was a thrill of a lifetime! A dream came true for me and good blog and social media friends from all over the world. The idea – after many requests in comments and mails – was to give everyone in Blogosphere a chance to come and see some of the attractions presented on this blog over the years. It was a perfect match to one of my sayings: “Blogging Connecting People” and a proof of what networking is all about: “A Givers Gain”.
To me this gathering was an ultimate outcome of sharing from Oslo and Norway. Today I want you to join me and take a look back and reminisce over the amazing time we had.

Oslo Blog Gathering Planning Kickoff #1Thanks to First Hotel Millennium we had a centrally located hub to meet up each day before our adventures. We thought we might be relaxing there in the evening but every single day things took off and we dragged ourselves in to the hotel totally exhausted and often quite late ; -) Never a dull moment and no time to waste at OsloBG!
The hotel manager and staff met with us several times throughout the planning process and helped us with setting up, tourist information, and an area to meet up and plan our daily adventures. Every time I pass by First Hotel Millennium now I think of our OsloBG and what a wonderful time we had.

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #3VisitOSLO was an important associate and a key contributor in making OsloBG a success. When I first talked with their Convention Manager – with my head full of ideas of a detailed program – she served me The Columbic Egg; “We give every participant The Oslo Pass, so they all can reach and enter the sights they want” – for free!
VisitOSLO is the leading organization in profiling and positioning the Oslo region as a tourist destination. They are dedicated to contributing towards the development of commerce and culture in the region. So when you are in or plan to go to Oslo; always check their website for all you want to know about the city:

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #5The Grand Opening was at Oslo City Hall with a reception from the Mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang. Even his own birthday didn’t keep him from greeting these excited bloggers and providing us with an exceptional guided tour of the City Hall. Even in places I had never seen before!! All of OsloBG’s guests had a little gift from their homeland for the Mayor’s birthday and to thank him for receiving us on this special occasion. After the reception many of us went for dinner at Aker Brygge and had a chance to be better acquainted over good food and wine.

OsloBG Vigeland Sculpture Park #2The first day as you may recall we had a guided tour around the highlights of Oslo. Oslo Guideservice provided excellent transportation and information on some of the most interesting sites in the area like Vigeland Sculpture Park and Holmenkollen ski jump.
The guides took us through Vigeland Sculpture Park and gave us an insight into Vigelands work and vision in designing every detail of this beautiful green area of Oslo. Although the weather didn’t cooperate as well at Holmenkollen ski jump, the best part was thankfully inside and many made it to the top for the ultimate view.

A look back at OsloBG 2010 #9On the 20th the group was divided into activities of choice. My group had a guided tour of Oslo Opera House, a trip round the main street of Karl Johan, and watched the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace. Meanwhile Tor’s group had a day on Bygdøy island exploring the museums and beaches there. In the evening we had dinner at a small but charming restaurant on Bygdøy Island with a fantastic view of Oslo fjord.

The final day of our program again included the groups dividing up and exploring as far away as Drøbak! Ending the day with a champagne reception in the medieval park, and a roaring night on the town at The Dubliner!! That and plenty more photos – even a movie from the Mayor’s reception – is included in this cavalcade of a movie I made from these three days, enjoy:

OsloBG at Medieval Park #3I want to give a special thanks to all the participants. One thing we really felt after you all went home, when we looked back we felt so certain that Oslo Blog Gathering would have been different if even one of you didn’t come. One of the best things about OsloBG was the people and how everyone added a little something special to the group. In short it wouldn’t have been the same without you!
Click to see The participants and their adventures posts!

We hope one day to meet everyone again, and who knows maybe there will be another OsloBG in the future?

Biking Göta Canal in the heartland of Sweden

Along Göta Canal in Sweden #5Sweden’s most beautiful waterway, the Göta Canal from Sjötorp by Lake Vänern to Stockholm, takes you through green forests, along sparkling lakes to picturesque homesteads in a breathtaking rural landscape. Anyone who longs to relish the silence of intact and untouched nature is definitely in the right place here and a bike trip is one great option to take it all in.
I often post about my love for outdoor recreational activities. So when my wife and I started our little bike trip from Sjötorp to Norrkvärn (10 km) the other day, I was thinking: this is a perfect example of what I mean when I talk about charging your batteries! As always we both have our Nokia mobile phones at hand to capture some of the highlights and of course I gladly share some with you – along with some educational facts of course – click photos to bigify & enjoy:
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Left: Biking is a popular activity – Right: Well maintained bike paths make this a real treat

The Göta Canal:
Celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2012, Göta Canal is Sweden´s construction accomplishment of the millennium. Built between 1810 and 1832 under the leadership of the famous engineer Baltzar von Platen – employing some 58,000 soldiers as laborers – it’s 190 km long, passing through no less than 58 water locks and reaching a total elevation of 92 meters above sea level. All along the canal you’ll find an abundance of sights and attractions, lush, scenic vistas and many charming towns and villages, all embedded in a unique canal atmosphere.
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Left: Canal town, Lyrestad – Right: Charming lock keeper cottages
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Panorama view of the Swedish countryside
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Left: Still of the original hand cut stones – Right: The locks have room for some fairly large vessels

You can rent boats, canoes and kayaks in many places along the canal. The old labor road along the canal is one of Sweden´s most popular bicycle routes, and there are also many attractive hiking trails along the way.
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Us with the rented bikes at Sjötorp
The rental bikes are sturdy and comfortable, with broad wheels that roll smoothly on gravel and grass alike. They are equipped with baskets and a luggage rack on the back so you can have as much or as little as you like with you on your trip.
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Canoes & Kayaks

Norrkvärn – a miniature version of the canal:
In the area surrounding the Norrkvärn lock, we see a miniature version of Lyrestad’s church tower within a model of the Göta Canal. The mini canal is a working model of Väster Götland part of the Göta Canal and a popular area for families with children:
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Children learn through exploration at the mini canal

The models are made of solid building materials so the children (all ages LoL) can play in the water, sail boats down the canal and learn through experiencing it firsthand. The mini canal includes locks, a waterfall and buildings from the local area and invites to play and experimentation. Oh and by the way, this is all free – there is no admission to enter the Norrkvärn Park.
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They can follow the route or sail their boats through the locks.

MS Bellevue of Mariestad:
Many tourists negotiate the canal in their own vessels, but there are also tours with classic canal ships available, offering cozy scenic cruises with fine onboard accommodations and restaurants. Of course you can also choose shorter cruises between the many historically and culturally interesting sites along the shores. My wife DianeCA shot a film with her Nokia of one of them: Bellevue of Mariestad. Including some of the photos, I made a movie out of it – enjoy:

So if you want to see the idyllic heartland of Sweden from a unique perspective, a voyage on Göta Canal is highly recommended! You can easily understand how this part of Sweden has a special place in the heart of this Norwegian. Although we have been coming here for over 10 years there is always something to experience anew. If you need more info or booking, Mariestad Tourist Office gives excellent service!