Sunday, 25 October 2015

Huskies, Horses and Reindeer: Unique Norwegian Tours

DOG SLEDDING IN NORWAY

If vast snow-covered valleys, frosty air in the face and high speed lure you, dog sledding tour is an ideal pastime for you. 

Dog sledding in Norway

Huskies, "an ever-changing cross-breed of the...fastest dogs" according to Jeff Schultz, are commonly used for dog sledding. On a typical dog sledding trip, they will pull you at high speed across the Norwegian wilderness. During the tour, you will have a great chance to establish a bond between human and dog while feeding and looking for the huskies yourself. 

Multiple firms across the country offer tours of varying length and difficulty. In Northern Norway Finnmark, Svalbard and Narvik are among the most popular destinations with many local suppliers. BIRK Husky in Kirkenes, Engholm Husky in Karasjok, and Northern Lights Husky in Alta are just a small part of them. 

Dog sledging tours are also available in other parts of Norway. Check out, for example, Alaskan Husky Tours in Røros, Spydspissen Villmarksopplevelser in the Rendalen Valley, Høve Støtt in Geilo, as well as Sirdal Husky Farm

HORSE RIDING IN NORWAY 

Ride along running roads and hidden paths. Sitting on the back of a horse you can reach far into the wilds and come close to the primal unspoiled nature. On organized trips you will be accompanied by expert guides. You can choose among indoor riding, riding trips for the experienced and for beginners, plus opportunities to hire a horse by the hour. 

Horse riding, Norway

Today there are three different Norwegian horse breeds. The North Norwegian fjord horse is one the world’s oldest horse breeds. North Norwegian mountain horse has the same general features and body shape as the Norwegian fjord horse, but it is noticeably smaller. The Norwegian work horse has been used for farm and forestry work for generations. These strong horses are famous for their mental skills. They are intelligent, very patient and get deeply involved with their owners and riders. 

REINDEER SLEDGING 

Let reindeer drag you across the white valleys of Finnmark in Northern Norway! Travelling at a gentle pace through snow-covered forests and across motionless plateaus provides you with an insight into the ancient Sami way of life. If you are lucky, you will enjoy Northern Lights just above your head! 

Reindeer sledging Norway

Comfortably wrapped up under warm reindeer skins in your sledge, you will submerge into the silence and the beauty of the surroundings. All you can hear is the peaceful crunching of the sledge as it glides smoothly over the snow. If you are seeking for something more adventurous, speed up a little by being pulled along by a reindeer whilst you stand on skis. 


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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Top Eight Norwegian Dishes

LUTEFISK 

Lutefisk is made from aged stockfish (air-dried whitefish) or dried/salted whitefish and lye. It is gelatinous in texture. Its name literally means "lye fish". Stockfish softened in water and lye, then cooked and sometimes grilled. Typical accompaniments are potatoes, bacon, mushy peas and mustard. 

Lutefisk, Norwegian cuisine

BRUNOST 

Brown cheese with a sweet, yet somewhat sharp flavor with notes of caramel. It is traditionally cut into wafer thin slices with a cheeseslicer and eaten on bread, toast or crisp bread. 

BRUNOST

PINNEKJØTT 

Salted and dried, and sometimes smoked, lamb's ribs which are usually steamed over birch branches. Served with sausages and mashed potatoes and swedes. The preparation of pinnekjøtt uses a traditional method for food preservation utilizing curing, drying and in some regions – smoking. Although lamb is today available fresh or frozen all year round, pinnekjøtt is still prepared in a traditional way due to the flavor and maturing the process gives to the meat. 

FÅRIKÅL 

Lamb simmered with cabbage and whole peppercorns. 


SMALAHOVE 

It is a traditional dish made from a sheep's head, originally eaten before Christmas. The meat is salted, sometimes smoked, and dried. It is then boiled and served with mashed swedes and potatoes. Originally, smalahove was typically eaten by the poor, but today it is considered a delicacy. 

RØMMEGRØT 

Rømmegrøt is Norwegian porridge made with sour cream, whole milk, wheat flour, butter, and salt. It is thick and sweet and is generally drizzled in butter and sprinkled with sugar and ground cinnamon. Because this is so rich, it is often served in small cups with a small amount of butter topped with brown sugar, cinnamon and cream. 

Norwegian porrige

MULTEKREM 

A traditional Norwegian dessert, made by mixing cloudberries with whipped cream and sugar. The cloudberries can be served as-is or heated. Multekrem is also a traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner dessert. 

Multekrem

PØLSE I LOMPE 

Hot dog in a thin "tortilla" made from flour and potatoes. You can buy it from a kiosk, or in a supermarket. 


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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

What to See in Eastern Norway

Eastern Norway is the land of high mountains. There you will find famous Jotunheimen National Park and the capital of Norway – Oslo. 

Jotunheimen, Eastern Norway

THE DRAMMEN REGION 

Combine urban life in the city of Drammen with wilderness and picturesque nature. 

Go to Drammen Theatre. The main stage of the theatre has three rows of box seats, gold ornaments and decorations and excellent acoustics. Drammen Museum offers impressive permanent collections of Nøstetangen glass, Baroque silver, eighteenth century Drammen faience, urban furnishings, textiles, interiors, church art and folk art. 

Drammen Theatre

You also may be interested by a medieval stone Skoger Old Church that was built between the years 1200 and 1220, and is one of the oldest buildings in Drammen. 

HADELAND 

No surprise that Hageland, with its fantastic nature, exciting sights and cultural attractions, is one of nationally valuable culture landscapes. It is the southernmost region in the county of Oppland. 

Hadeland Glassverk

When in Hadeland, visit renowned Hadeland Glassverk (glassworks), its main attraction where you can admire glass-blowers practicing their craft the same way as they did in the 1700s. The entire area is like a cozy village with exciting activities for the whole family. 

HEDMARK 

Mountains and lush valleys, cultural landscapes and scenic rivers – Hedmark combines nature experiences and cultural attractions that offer you a genuine insight into the exciting history of the region. 

JOTUNHEIMEN 

Jotunheimen is highlands in Eastern Norway. It can boast the biggest amount of mountain peaks higher than 2000 meters in Northern Europe. Its highest summits are Galdhøpiggen (2469 meters above sea level), Glittertind (2464 meters), and Store Skagastelstind (2405 meters). Moreover, you will find charming waterfalls, powerful rivers, transparent lakes, glacier and vast valleys. 

Take a boat across Lake Gjende to the heart of the Jotunheimen National Park. From the stops at Memurubu and Gjendebu you have plenty of hiking options. 

Jotunheimen National Park

The Ridderspranget (The Knight's Leap) canyon in the Sjoa River got its name from the legend of the knight Sigvat Kvie from Valdres, who stole a bride and fled. With the girl in his arms, he jumped across the river. 

Come along on a journey 70 meters under the ice and 6000 years back in time. Learn about the history of Norway’s climate and the tradition of hunting in Mimisbrunnr Climate Park

Lom Stave Church is one of the biggest and most beautiful stave churches in Norway. It dates back to the 12th century and is still in use. 

LESJA 

The municipality of Lesja is highly mountainous, with Lesjaskogsvatnet lake draining both west to the Rauma river and east to the Gudbrandsdalslågen river. The largest part of the area is over 900 meters above sea level, with the highest mountain peaks reaching above 2200 meters. Numerous lakes and rivers here are abundant with the Norwegian trout. 

Lesja, Eastern Norway

Visit Lesja Bygdetun. The museum consists of a traditional village square surrounded by 12 buildings dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth century. It exhibits local village culture, working life and living conditions of that time. 

LILLEHAMMER 

Lillehammer is the only destination in Norway where you can go skiing in the morning, visit an art museum during lunch and do some shopping in the afternoon. 

Lillehammer

OSLO 

Oslo is one of the largest cities of Norway. However, only 20% of the land mass has been developed, which means the remaining area is parks, protected forests, hills, and lakes. When here, you will want to make sure that you have on good walking shoes, because there are numerous pathways and trails that connect to public areas. 


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Friday, 9 October 2015

Top Attractions of Hedmark

The name Hedmark originates from the old Norse word "Heiðmǫrk" – woodland of the heathens. Hedmark successfully combines nature experiences and cultural attractions that offer you a genuine insight into the exciting history of the region. 

Hedmark, Eastern Norway

NATURE 

Among picturesque landscapes of Folldal you can find Einunndalen, one of the longest valleys in Norway. The valley is crossed by a 55 km toll-road from which many hiking trails branch off, luring visitors into the depth of unspoiled nature. Do not worry – there are nice camps along the routes. If you like fishing, local lakes and streams are full of mountain trout. 

Einunndalen, Hedmark

Cascades at river Røa are the main natural attraction of Engerdal. Powerful water streams run down from high cliffs, making five waterfalls 3-18 meters high. These are Kvennfallet, Storfallet, Styggfallet, Kløftfallet and Gittostfallet. 

NATIONAL PARKS 

Gutulia National Park is famous for its primeval forest that comprises spruce and pine trees dating 300 to almost 500 years back in time. You will find there restored old mountain-farm buildings. 

Femundsmarka National Park is situated between Femund Lake and the Swedish border. You will enjoy walking in a pine forest and breathing salubrious air. Lakes are abundant of fish. Feel the absolute silence and calm while hiking in a mountain plateau or admiring a scenic peaceful lake. 

Femundsmarka National Park, Hedmark

Forollhogna National Park is home for wild reindeer. Here you can find the biggest animals of the species in Norway. The Pilgrims' Trail to Nidaros leads through Forollhogna. 

Rondane National Park with its vast valleys, gentle plateaus and mountain peaks is considered to be one of the best hiking places in Norway. The region is famous for its hunting traditions. Citizens of Rondane take care of wild reindeer that inhabit the area – a species Norway has a particular responsibility to preserve. 

CANYONS 

Jutulhogget is a canyon stretching 2.4 km, and is one among the longest of its kind in Northern Europe. It was formed during the last ice age when a natural dam burst and water from a lake under the ice carved a new course east through softer ground. There are many legends about the canyon. One of them tells that it was dug by a by the mountain giant called Rendalsjutulen. He wanted to lead river Glomma across to Rendalen, but was stopped by another mountain giant Glåmdalsjutulen. 

Jutulhogget

Korpreiret is a 3 km long canyon in Hamar. Each side of the ravine offers hiking routes that allow walking it around and admiring its grandeur. River Øksna forms three outstanding waterfalls, of which the uppermost has a vertical drop of some 40 meters down to the river. 

MUSEUMS 

Blokkoden Villmarksmuseum in Drevsjø is an ethnographic open-air museum where you can get an insight into unique Sami culture from the beginning of the 17th century until present. You will learn about special link between the Sami people and the nature, and their careful use of natural resources. Blokkoden has exhibitions on forestry, hunting and fishing, and its collections include buildings and ethnologic artefacts from the Sami culture. 

Blokkoden Villmarksmuseum in Drevsjø

Domkirkeodden/Hedmark Museum is one of the largest medieval museums in Norway. Its territory comprises 60 ancient buildings that will familiarize you with the history of Hedmark region from the Viking era and up until today. A genuine glass structure covering the cathedral ruins is the main attraction. 

Plunge into the atmosphere of peasant life in Glomdal Museum, one of the largest open-air museums in Norway. Buildings and household items will familiarize you with the history of farms of Østerdalen and Solør that were settled more than four hundred years ago. In summer, the museum is also home to traditional Norwegian domestic animal species. 

Glomdal Museum

The Mine at Folldal was in operation from 1748 until 1941. Practically nothing changed there since then: the same industrial community with 70 buildings. Explore the mine, visit the museum and look around the National Park Visitor Centre. At Folldal Mine, you will also find cultural trails, stone shop, geology garden and Rondane Geopark. 

Magnor Glassworks was established in 1896. It is a popular tourist point where you can observe glass blowers at work, visit an exhibition featuring glass art and tableware of local makers as well as unique artefacts connected with a long history of this unique workshop. You can buy souvenirs at the factory outlet at Magnor Glassworks. 

Norwegian Forestry Museum in Elverum is dedicated to the history and development of hunting, fishing, forestry and wood processing. This open-air museum offer multiple activities that make it an exciting place for the whole family. 

Norwegian Forestry Museum in Elverum

Norwegian Railway Museum is a huge complex that include an exhibit room, children playground, park with trains, steam locomotives, railways and station buildings. Arguably, its main feature is the legendary Dovregubben locomotive. 


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Sunday, 4 October 2015

Norway's Olympic Heart: The Lillehammer Region

Lillehammer is the only destination in Norway where you can go skiing in the morning, visit an art museum during lunch and do some shopping in the afternoon. 

Lillehammer, Norway

WHAT TO SEE 

Olympic Arenas 

The Olympic Park at Lillehammer is home to five Olympic arenas: Håkons Hall, Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena, Birkebeineren Ski- and Biathlon Stadium, Lillehammer Olympic Bob- and Luge Track, and Kanthaugen Freestyle Arena. 

Hunderfossen Family Park 

Guarded by a 14-meter high troll, and behind the gates of the 37-meter tall fairy tale castle the treasure of the Norwegian folk stories is kept safe in Hunderfossen Family Park. The park is one of Norway's largest tourist attractions, and features a high ropes park, swimming pools, Fairytale Grotto, a racetrack and many more. 

Troll, Hunderfossen Family Park

The Norwegian Olympic Museum 

The only museum in Northern Europe that presents the entire history of the Olympic Games from the very beginning in 776 BC to modern days. It has more than 7,000 Olympic items giving insights about both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. There are three areas in the Norwegian Olympic Museum: a history section, Lillehammer ‘94 and the Olympic Room. 

Maihaugen 

Maihaugen, with close to 200 buildings, is one of Northern Europe's largest open-air museums in Norway. It is divided into three primary sections, the Rural Collection, Historic Town, and the Residential Area. 

Maihaugen, Eastern Norway

Rural Collection represents the villages in Lillehammer, focusing on the period 1700-1850 but also houses dating back to 15th century. Historic Town is the collection of buildings from Lillehammer between the early 19th century and around 1920. Residential Area consists of the time typical homes from nearly all decades of the 20th century. 

Lillehammer Art Museum 

Lillehammer Art Museum offers a vast collection of important works by Norwegian artists. It boasts a permanent collection comprising paintings and drawings by artists such as J. C. Dahl, Hans Gude, Adolph Tidemand, Erik Werenskiold, Eilif Peterssen, Christian Krohg, Frits Thaulow and Edvard Munch. Works by local Lillehammer painters are also on display. 

Skibladner 

Skibladner is the world's oldest paddle steamer. Enjoy a trip around Norway's largest lake Mjøsa from the deck. Enter the world of exciting sights, sounds and smells, unspoiled scenery and warm hospitality. Since she was built in 1856, she has carried passengers, post and goods to the surrounding towns and villages. 

Skibladner, paddle steamer

Ringebu Stave Church 

Ringebu Stave Church was first mentioned in 1270, although it could be older. It is one of 28 remaining stave churches in Norway, and one of the largest. 

WHAT TO DO 

Skiing 

Lillehammer is one of the oldest winter sport destinations in Norway and offers excellent opportunities for alpine and cross-country skiing with its long winter and perfect snow conditions. 

Lillehammer skiing

  • Alpine skiing: the Lillehammer Ski Resort ski pass provides access to five alpine centers and a total of 92 downhill runs (117 km), 45 lifts and six terrain parks. Hafjell and Kvitfjell offer family slopes as well as extreme runs, whereas Skeikampen, Sjusjøenand Gålå are ideal for those who prefer skiing on a smaller scale. 
  • Cross-country skiing: the Lillehammer region has kilometers of well-prepared trails and downhill runs suitable for all levels – from novices to professionals. 
  • More than skiing: enjoy dog sledding, tobogganing, bobsleigh runs, snowshoe walks, guided ski trips among other winter activities. 

Hiking 

Lillehammer is the gateway to the Gudbrandsdalen Valley, surrounded by impressive mountain plateaus. Hiking in the lowlands is becoming increasingly popular, and new routes are developed. The region is also an excellent starting point for visits to the national parks in Langsua, Rondane and Jotunheimen. Rafting in Sjoa Gudbrandsdalen has the country's best rafting and river paddling areas. Trips are customized to suit different levels and individual requests. Many people consider Sjoa to be one of the best rafting rivers in the world. 

Gudbrandsdalen Valley

Fishing  

Mjøsa is one of the country's best fishing lakes. In addition to famous 10-kilogram trout, you can catch pike, perch, grayling and 18 other fish species. In the mountains, you can enjoy crystal streams, running rivers, forest tarns or mountain lakes. Follow the Norwegian Trekking Association’s network of trails or bring a tent and find your own perfect spot. 


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