Wednesday, 17 May 2017

National Day of Norway

Hurray! It is the 17th of May!

National Day of Norway

Parades, marching orchestras, national costumes – bunads – and lots of ice-cream. No fest in Norway equals the scale of the National Day.

Brazil is famous for its carnivals, Ireland – for its Saint Patrick’s Day. And what about Norway? If course, it is May 17th, the holiday of the signing of the Constitution in 1814.

National Day of Norway

In Norway, National Day is a fest for everyone, specifically for children. In the morning, Norwegians usually have a festive breakfast at home and often invite neighbors and friends. They serve fresh bread, omelet, smoked salmon, and champagne – for adults.

After that children processions start around the whole country, led by marching orchestras. The most grand-scale parades gather tens of thousands of people. Everybody wave flags and shout “Hurray!” In Oslo, the royal family greets the parade from the palace's balcony. The atmosphere is most joyful and pacifist, children are on the spotlight.

National Day of Norway

This day many Norwegians – men and women – proudly put on their bunads, national costumes.

Red and blue jumpsuits of russ seem less elegant. Russ are school graduates celebrating the end of their 13-years’ education. They have their own parades. They drive along the streets in buses and cars, playing loud music and offering their russekorts (russ-cards). Those are personal cards with contact information and comic by-lines.

National Day of Norway

Ice-cream and hot-dogs are popular festive food – though not too healthy. Afternoon is a time for crowd games and speeches.

Do not expect to do your business on the 17th of May – the majority of shops and offices will be closed.

If you travel by car, mind that the central part of the majority of cities will be closed, and there is high possibility of traffic jams.


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Monday, 15 May 2017

Treasures of Norway

Norway is the best place on Earth. Below you will find twenty reasons why.

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1. Because sunset in Norway look like that.

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2. And there is the view after dark.

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3. Natural beauties of Norway are unrivalled.

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4. However the sights made by man are impressive as well.

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5. Norway is fool of rivers and mountain streams.

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6. Even clouds cannot hide its splendor.

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7. Because that is what you will see from the window on the Oslo to Bergen train.

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8. Nothing can be more impressive than northern lights above now-covered mountain peaks.

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9. Because Norway inspired the creators of Cold Heart. Princess Elsa must have visited this place!

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10. Go on to an adventure and behold majestic whales.

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11. Do not forget about the original Norwegian cuisine.

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12. Norway offers a lot to explore.

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13. Winter here is amazing!

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14. You do not want to miss Norwegian summer.

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15. Norwegian cities are full of life.

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16. Mountains call to conquer them.

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17. Norwegian forests look like they were taken from epic fantasy books.

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18. Do not forget about friendly Norwegian fauna!

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19. Rocks and waterfalls go beyond your expectations.

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20. Because of its mysterious glaciers.

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There are many more reasons why Norway will be an unforgettable adventure for you. Just come and see it with your own eyes!

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Friday, 12 May 2017

Tromsø: Restaurants and Bars

Tromsø is wildly known as the "capital of the Arctic" and "Paris of the North." It is a lively and busy city situated north of the Arctic Circle, among fjords and mountains. It is also a large port and a university center.

Restaurant Tromso

The city center is small and easy to walk around. Residents of Tromso are very companionable and spend a lot of time in cafes that stretch along the Main Street. The number of bars per capita is impressive. Moreover, among Norwegian cities, Tromso has a reputation of an excellent party-town. Nightlife in Tromsø is loud, spectacular, diverse and open for everyone!

Multiple restaurants of Tromso strive to the highest quality of their food and use unique fresh Arctic ingredients, in the same time they get inspiration from French cooking traditions or the latest trends of international cuisine.

RESTAURANTS

Fiskekompaniet 

Restaurant Tromso

In a stressful society dominated by kiosks and fast-food chains, Fiskekompaniet would like to offer you some of the genuine and healthy food from the ocean. The restaurant is located in the very heart of Tromso, its interiors feature panoramic windows that offer breathtaking views over the fjord. The restaurant was open in 2009, its menu consists of seafood delicacies. Here you can try traditional Norwegian cuisine.

Emmas Drommekjokken 

Dining at Emmas can be both intimate and formal but, above all, homely and relaxing. The perfectly prepared food is always tasty. Emma is well versed in traditional French cuisine and also keeps abreast of the latest trends, fashions and culinary skills. She is always open to good ideas from kitchens around the world but, above all, she appreciates, as they say in the north, ‘real food’; well prepared local produce, just like mothers and their mothers before them used to make.

Restaurant Tromso

Short-dried cod and fish au gratin are two such authentic North Norwegian dishes. They always remain on the menu even though the other dishes are changed at least 5-6 times a year, according to season. This and many more light, quickly-served dishes are included on the lunch menu at very reasonable prices.

Aunegården 

Restaurant Tromso

This restaurant-cafe is situated in an old building that dates back to the 19th century. Here they serve fantastic salads, sandwiches and main courses. Even if you are not hungry, pop in there just to have a cup of coffee with a luxurious fancy-cake.

Compagniet 

Compagniet is one of Tromsø’s oldest restaurants, and is located in what is locally known as “Scandinavia’s Paris”. In the rooms filled with continental atmosphere and 175 years of history, you can still be served the best in gourmet French cuisine to the north of the 69th latitude.

Restaurant Tromso

Once owned by a prominent family from the fishing industry, the old mansion now offers rustic and distinguished dining rooms and a menu that is constantly evolving. Neither food and wine, nor decor is left to chance.

Skarvens Biffhus 

Restaurant Tromso

A two-store restaurant is situated in the former dockyard building of 1820-ies. On the menu are soft steaks as well as various dishes of goat eat. Just choose the size of your steak and enjoy the delicious taste!

BARS 

The majority of bars are located in the southern part of the city. Among them Ølhallen and Gründer are especially popular.

Ølhallen 

Mack’s brewpub Ølhallen is Tromsø's oldest pub. In its younger years, it was teeming with fishermen, farmers and townspeople.

Bars Tromso

Today Ølhallen is one of the most iconic places in Tromsø and is serving Norwegian quality beer from 67 different taps. It’s a place where townspeople of all ages meet and taste the best beers brewed by Mack – the world’s most northern brewery.

Gründer 

Bars Tromso

Gründer is one of Tromsø's most popular venues for all kinds of people. Lunch from 11:00 every day except Sundays. Tasty snacks, tapas, sandwiches and salads are popular menu items. In the evenings, Gründer turns into a bustling bar. On weekends, Gründer is merged with Gründer by Night and becomes the party place of the city!


Norway Travel Blog
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Thursday, 11 May 2017

In Search for Norwegian Trolls

Norway is a country with numerous local legends. It will never disappoint those who keen on listening a good old story.

In Search for Norwegian Trolls

Travelers who drive RV255 between Lillehammer and Vinsra constantly look about: this picturesque place was the arena of a battle between Peer Gynt and the trolls. In the original version of the legend, Peer the hunter saved his manor from the trolls who came on the New Year's Eve and started to dance. Peer caught the trolls in a boot and set a polar bear against them. The area is called Peer Gynt Country, and a trail – Peer Gyntvegen – goes parallel to the highway. You may visit the manor of the legendary hunter at Vinstra.

Of course, this place is not the only one where you can meet trolls. Traces of those creatures can be found everywhere. For example, if you want to cross the Troll's Bridge, take a trip from Åndalsnes to Valdall through Trollstigen serpentine road. The stone bridge goes right under the Stigfossen Waterfall.

In Search for Norwegian Trolls

Take a train of the Raumabanen (Rauma Railways) from Åndalsnes to Bjorli, which in summer makes a stop at the Troll Wall (Trollvegen) – the highest sheer wall in Europe (1000 meters).

In Search for Norwegian Trolls

If you want to see a real troll that was turned into a stone, go to Ånderdalen National Park situated at Senja Island. Here you will find the largest troll, which was listed in the Guinnes book of Records. Its height is 18 meters, and weight is 128 tons. In its womb there is the whole museum with small figures from fairy-tales.


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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Hotel Oslo: Where to Stay. Part II

Lean more about the particularities of the Norwegian capital and choose the best hotel Oslo!

Hotel Oslo

HOTEL OSLO NEXT TO FROGNERPARKEN 

The Royal Park smoothly passes into Frogner Park (Frognerparken), famous for its collection of unique Vigeland's sculptures (Vigelands skulpturpark).

Hotel Oslo

This region is green, and tourists are quite rare. Although Frogner Park is a popular tourist attraction, it is situated quite far from the city center and the majority of sights. Moreover, this place is not rich in supermarkets, cafes or restaurants. Hence, if you are fond of quiet places and lazy walks in green surroundings, it is a great option to choose. Look at local villas, like, for example, Villa Frogner Bed & Breakfast.

HOTELS CLOSE TO HOLMENKOLLEN 

Often people ask me whether it is worth staying somewhere outside the center of Oslo. To my mind, if you have a car and already saw major attractions of the capital, it may be reasonable. Holmenkollen, for example, is a respectable rural district. It offers fresh air (because of the forest around), ski tracks, and wonderful views to the Oslo Fjord and the city. However, if you stay there, you may be unable to participate in a noisy city nightlife, because you will have to climb to the top of the hill on the way back – even if you use public transport.

Hotel Oslo

Probably, the best option to stay is Holmenkollen Park Hotel with a view to the famous ski-jump Holmenkollen, and which history counts more than a century. You may want to check nearby hotels, like Soria Moria, Lysebu and Voksenåsen as well.

HOTEL OSLO: PARTICULARITIES 

I think that the main feature of a hotel Oslo is how expensive it may be. For a four-star hotel somewhere in Spain you would pay 100 euro per night, in Norway the price will be 160-170 or higher for a similar option.

The majority of Norwegian hotels belong to one of several Scandinavian chains – Radisson, Comfort, Scandic, Rica, Thon, or Clarion Collection. Usually they offer wonderful breakfasts that include traditional cereals and muesli, hot pastry, porridges, and even several kinds of fish.

Hotel Oslo

The design of those hotels is usually similar and functional. In the bathroom you will find just a shower (to save the water), and there are no small soaps, shower caps or other peasant small surprises you may find in other countries.

Lately, Scandinavian hotels started to separate garbage, so you may find several small bins in your room.


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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Hotel Oslo: Where to Stay. Part I

Lean more about the particularities of Oslo's districts and choose the best hotel Oslo!

Hotel Oslo

My advice is to stay in Oslo for no less than two days – it definitely worth it! You will spend your time there walking around and visiting some positive and unusual sights, like Bygdøy Museum. That is why it is wise to buy an Oslo Pass. If you plan to stay in Oslo for longer, it is important to choose a right hotel.

OSLO CENTRAL STATION DISTRICT 

Usually travelers' first acquaintance with the city starts from the Central Station (Oslo Sentralstasjon, or Oslo S for short), because trains from the airport come there.

Taking into account that the center of Oslo is quite small it is strategic to live close to the railway station. You can get from here to the Royal palace, cruise liners terminal, or Akershus in about 15 minutes. All trains, if you want to visit, for example, Kongsberg – the town of silver mines – or old and picturesque Fredrikstad, are close. 

Hotel Oslo

Here, you will find some modern hotel chains like Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Comfort Hotel Grand Central, Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret, and a bit farther, closer to the port, Clarion Collection Bastion Hotel Oslo.

KVADRATUREN DISTRICT

Kvadraturen district is located between the railway station and the Park, you will find there the Royal Residence. Streets here cross each other at the right angle. It is said that this part of the city was designed by King Christian IV himself.

Hotel Oslo

This is a central region with wonderful infrastructure. At Karl Johans gate (street) you will find many city stores, restaurants and souvenir shops. At Stortorvet market square you can buy fruit and vegetables, and flowers. You can purchase food also at nearby Youngstorget square, you can get there by Torggata Street where people sell clothes, cosmetics, shoes and dinnerware.

The hotels of Kvadraturen that worth your attention are Perminalen Hotel, Saga Poshtel Oslo Central, and Thon Hotel Oslo Panorama.

OSLO HOTELS NEXT TO THE ROYAL RESIDENCE

To the north-west to Kvadraturen you will find the royal residence – Det Kongelige Slott, with the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinge) and National Opera buildings nearby. This is the most respectable district of Oslo with the most expensive hotels.

Hotel Oslo

Usually, local hotels occupy historical buildings, that is why your room or a bathroom may turn out to be too narrow, or there may be problems with the Internet. However, the rooms are mostly authentic, with ancient furniture and its own history.

Just check testimonials first – it is the center, so it may be quite loud in the nigh. Another disadvantage is a limited number of parking spots and high prices for supplementary services like the Internet.

Hotel Oslo

Nevertheless, this district is good, and if your budget allows, you may want to check Hotel Continental, Thon Hotel Cecil, Best Western Karl Johan Hotel, Hotel Grensen, and Hotel Bristol.


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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Visit Norway. Part IV: Clothes and Weather

When you pack your suitcase before going to Norway, remember that the clothes should be comfortable and cold-proof – even in summer. I do not speak about a coat, but a normal water- and wind-proof jacket is a must. And a sweater. Sometimes, you will want to put on both!

Visit Norway

Try to put on layers of clothes – a T-short, a sweater, and a jacket. So, you can add or remove the layers depending on the weather. Take a couple of pairs of trousers, preferably at list one pair should be with fleece lining. Everything water-proof is preferable. Add tracking shoes and tracking socks for hiking, do not forget to pack running shoes and flip flopes – the latter are great at campings. Do not forget about a hat or anything to cover your ears.

Tracking sticks will make your journey considerably easier. Add some torches (if, of course, you do not travel during the midnight sun period) – just in case. It is useful to have a water-proof cover for your backpacks. On the route, you never know when the rain starts, and how strong and long it would be.

Visit Norway

No matter where we planned to go, we always had a spare set of dry clothes for each of us in a trunk: a pair of trousers, a pair of socks, a T-shirt, and running shoes.

WEATHER 

Here is the main weather website in Norway: YR.

Visit Norway

The weather, as I have already said above, is unpredictable. It may be hot and sunny in May, and July may be rainy and cold. It is often cloudy in Norway, not foggy, but cloudy, when thick flock-beds cover the mountains from the top to the bottom. It is really impressive, however, if you have such weather for several days running, you cannot see a lot of sights.

My advice: be morally and physically prepared for all kinds of weather as there are no rules.

SEASONS 

To be honest, there are some rules that allow to distinguish seasons.

Visit Norway

For example, in May and June, the mountains are especially beautiful, with snow-covered peaks and stripes of white and black, like zebras. Waterfalls are in full power, filled with waters from melting glaciers. There are many flowers, the nature is awakening, and mountain lakes are half covered with ice. And it is a real beauty. Days are long too. However, some high mountain tracks and roads are still closed in May, glaciers are not yet blue enough, and it is often quite chilly. Spring in Norway reigns until the end of June.

By August, you will find less flowers, mountains are less snowy, and the green becomes of that deep dark mature color. August is not the most beautiful time, but it is rich in berries and mushrooms, all tracks are available, and it is warm enough even when it rains.

Visit Norway

September often features warm and soft weather. Sometimes you can even see Northern Lights in the North. The end of September – beginning of October is a period of golden and scarlet shades – a treat for your eyes and a photo camera. However, the weather is unstable, it rains often, days are shorter, first snowfalls occur in the mountains.

Overall, every season in Norway is great, you just need to find a right approach!


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