Travel & Leisure

The iconic Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) rises 1970 feet above the Lysefjord. Every year millions of people take the hike and enjoy the exciting and spectacular views.

Preikestolen is a mountain formed like a huge pulpit towering over the Lysefjord in Rogaland, Fjord Norway.

There is a crack between the plateau of Pulpit Rock and the mountain, and it is said that on the day seven sisters marry seven brothers from the Lysefjord area, the plateau will tear itself away from the mountain and fall into the fjord, creating a huge wave that will destroy all life in the surrounding area.
You’ve been warned. There is a well prepared track from Preikestolen Mountain Lodge to the top of the 604-metre-high mountain plateau. Expect to spend four-five hours hiking from the lodge to the top and back down, and allow an hour or two to spend on the plateau.

Max Froumentin
Max Froumentin
preikestolen1
Photo: Per Eide/visitnorway.com
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Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life AS – Visitnorway.com
preikestolen3
Photo: Alberto Carrasco Casado
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Photo: Gustavo Sugahara
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Photo: willem

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Photo: Wolfmann
Oslo Airport encourages people who travel abroad to be aware when buying souvenirs made from plants or animals. Do not contribute to organised crime or the extinction of endangered species.

“Oslo Airport does not want to be a port of entry for illegal souvenirs that contribute to crime and the extinction of endangered animal and plant species,” says Joachim Westher Andersen, media manager and spokesperson for Oslo Airport.

Many species are currently threatened with extinction. Despite this fact, they are used in the production of souvenirs, jewellery, leather, health foods and so on in many countries.

“The Customs Service at Oslo Airport uncovers a large number of attempts to smuggle endangered species. The most common seizures are belts, shoes and wallets made of snake and crocodile skins, as well as supplements that supposedly have slimming, energising and protective effects,” says Tor Fredriksen, office manager for Norwegian Customs and Excise at Oslo Airport.

“We take a very serious view of these things, and confiscate everything we find,” he continues.

Typical products you must be aware of include items made of ivory, tortoiseshell, snakeskins, conch shells and coral.

Importing such products without special permission is illegal and punishable by law. The Customs Service at Oslo Airport therefore reports all such cases to the police.

“Both organised smugglers and ordinary tourists risk being charged for importing such products. We hope we don’t see much of this during the summer season,” says Fredriksen.

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Photo: Jon-Eric Melsæter

If you have been to Norway or got chance to hang out with a Norwegian patriot, you may understand what brown cheese (Geitost) means for people in Norway. It may not be the most delicious cheese for non-Norwegians with its unique taste but if you know how to serve it, you may change your mind. Here are some examples:

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Norway will soon have the world’s first floating snowflake hotel.
Dutch Docklands is currently working on a project of a floating 5-star hotel in Norway in one of the most beautiful natural surroundings on earth. The design is based on an icecrystal which blends-in naturally with the “winter environment” between the most beautiful fjords. The hotel with a diameter of 120 meter will have 86 rooms, conference rooms, spa & wellness facilities and is completely self supporting and self-sustainable.
A wall of windows will offer views of the snow-capped Norwegian coast, as well as the potential for some epic northern lights shows, writes Huffingtonpost.
The snowflake will be situated near Tromsø, a popular tourist town in the Arctic Circle known as a superb place to see the northern lights. Developers will tether the massive snowflake to the fjord’s floor, though it will be able to float about six to 10 feet from its center.
The Krystall is schedueld to open at the end of 2016, a hotel rep told The Huffington Post in an email.

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Photo: Robyn Lee

In Norway, Pinnekjøtt is a main course dinner dish of lamb or mutton. Pinnekjøtt is a festive dish typical to Western- and Northern Norway, and is rapidly gaining popularity in other regions as well. This dish is largely associated with the celebration of Christmas, served with puréed rutabaga and potatoes, beer and akevitt. The preparation of pinnekjøtt uses a traditional method for food preservation utilizing curing, drying and in some regions also smoking as means of inhibiting the growth of micro-organisms. Although lamb is today available fresh or frozen all year round, pinnekjøtt is still prepared both commercially and in private homes due to the flavour and maturing the preservation process gives to the meat.[4] In home preparation of pinnekjøtt, racks of lamb or mutton are cured in brine or coarse sea salt. Once sufficiently cured, and when the weather is cold enough, the racks are hung in a cool, dark, well ventilated place to dry.

Ingredients

1 1/2kg sheep ribs

2 turnips/swedes

2 carrots (optional)

20 Potatoes

1/4 ts ground nutmeg

4 liters of water

Method

Cut ribs lengthwise between each rib. Place in cold water overnight.

Steam the meat on sticks of birch (without bark). You may also use a metal grating placed in the bottom of a saucepan any fish pot. The water should be level with the ground. Add the lid and allow the meat to steam for 2 – 2 1 / 2 hour until it separates from the bone. Add more water if necessary. Make sure it does not go dry.

The meat should be put under the grill for about 20 minutes before serving to make it crispy.

Serve turnip stew and potatoes with the meat.

Turnip stew

Boil turnips and any carrot slices.

Mash and season with salt, pepper, or a little ground nutmeg and butter or a little of the fat / juices from the meat.

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Wikimedia

Gløgg is served after heating and mixing with some nuts and rosiner.

When the Christmas table is set, eyes seek for this special drink. Gløkk is a beverage usually made with red wine along with various spices and raisins. It is served hot or warm and may be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions of glögg can be bought ready-made or prepared with fruit juices instead of wine. The main classic ingredients (of alcoholic gløgg) are red wine, sugar, spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and bitter orange, and optionally also stronger spirits such as vodka, akvavit, or brandy.

Throughout Scandinavia, gløgg spice extract and ready-mixed spices can be purchased in grocery stores. To prepare gløgg, spices and/or spice extract are mixed into the wine, which is then heated to 60-70°C. When preparing homemade gløgg using spices, the hot mixture is allowed to infuse for at least an hour, often longer, and then reheated before serving. Ready-made wine gløgg (and low- or non-alcoholic varieties) is normally sold at groceries all over Norway, ready to heat and serve, and not in concentrate or extract form. Gløgg is generally served with raisins, blanched almonds and Ginger biscuits (Ginger Snaps), and is a popular hot drink during the Christmas season.

If you would like to do it from bottom on your own, here is a practical recipe:

INGREDIENTS

1 bottle red wine

80g caster sugar

1 big stick cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

10 whole cloves

5 cardamom pods

1 piece dried Seville orange peel

Dash of cognac or rum (if desired)

Flaked almonds or raisins, to serve

Method

Pour the wine into a saucepan and add the sugar, spices and orange peel.

Heat until the mixture is hot but not boiling (around 80°C – anything hotter and the alcohol will start to evaporate).

Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for an hour or more.

Strain the spices then reheat if necessary. Add a dash of cognac or rum if desired for extra warmth.

Serve in small cups, with a teaspoon of flaked almonds and raisins added.

Recipe courtesy of Bronte Aurell at Scandinavian Kitchen

Photo: Wikimedia

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Photo: Hans Splinter

Marion Fjelde Larsen, curator of the Lofotr Viking Museum, picks for Visit Norway five places in Norway well worth a visit.

1. The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

The Viking Ship Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in Viking history. The world’s two best-preserved wooden Viking ships, both dating from the ninth century, are displayed here. Smaller vessels, sledges, a cart with exceptional ornamentation, plus a range of tools, harnesses, textiles and household utensils complement the exhibition. Read more about the Viking Ship Museum.

2. Lofotr Viking Museum, Borg, Lofoten Islands

Travel back in time and experience life in a Viking household in Borg, near Leknes, where remains of the largest known Viking Age longhouse were found. Hear Viking stories of power, glory and wealth. Join in a Viking feast, where you will be entertained and taken care of by the governor, his wife and their slaves. In summer you can also row a Viking ship, ride, and try your hand at throwing axes and shooting with bows and arrows. Read more aboutLofotr Viking Museum.

3. Karmøy and Haugesund, Rogaland

After the battle of Hafrsfjord in 872 AD, Harald Fairhair established Norway’s first throne at Avaldsnes. Follow in his footsteps and discover the rich history of the Vikings at Karmøy Kulturopplevelser. A Viking Festival also takes place there.

4. Stiklestad National Culture Centre, Nord-Trøndelag

The St Olav Festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. It features a medieval market, an art exhibition, concerts, theatre performances, seminars and more. Also popular is the St Olav Drama, which is performed each year at the end of July. It started in 1954 and is the longest running open-air play in Norway, and the purpose-built amphitheatre is also the largest open-air theatre in Scandinavia. Read more about the Stiklestad National Culture Centre and the Viking Settlement at Avaldsnes.

5. Viking Valley Market, Gudvangen, Fjord Norway

The Viking Camp in the tiny village of Gudvangen, located on the banks of the picturesque UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord, celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2012. Get a taste of Viking life at the Viking Market, where you can watch as traditional handicrafts are produced, taste Viking food, take a peek into the Viking tents, or even get to row a Viking ship (well, a replica anyway).

Source: The Nordic Page

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Rivingen Lighthouse by Grimstad, Southern Norway | Credits: Johan Wildhagen - Visitnorway.com

Norway promises more than its stunning natural beauties. Would you imagine to stay at an ice hotel or a cozy cottage? How about an unforgettable night at a lighthouse?

Lighthouse Holiday in Norway

A night at a night house sounds to be a legendary experience, right? But it is possible to do all over Norway. Lighthouses offering accommodation can be found all along the coast of Norway, from Vardø in the north to the Grimstad in the south.

Until quite recently lighthouses were manned and keepers lived in them. But by the 1990s automation had largely taken over and the living quarters were abandoned.

Today more than 60 historic lighthouses have found new roles offering accommodation to travellers in search of something a little bit different.

For a fan of fresh air and sea views, a lighthouse is a unique holiday home. Usually you live in the keeper’s cottage where you can make your own meals.

Among many, Haugjegla Lighthouse in Smøla in Nordmøre,Ryvarden Lighthouse near Haugesund and Kråkenes Lighthouse in Stryn and Nordfjord are three lighthouses that offer accommodation.

At some lighthouses you will be entirely alone on your own personal rock. Elsewhere you will become part of the local community. The small coastal villages tend to be extremely hospitable places, and a stay at a lighthouse may also involve late nights at the local pub or fishing with the local fishermen.

The lighthouses’ extraordinary locations and striking designs have enormous evocative power. In Norway the sense of history is especially powerful. After all, the sea and ships have for ages been the very lifeblood of the coast.

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta

Couple at Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Finnmark | Credits: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life – Visitnorway.com

Another dream like place to stay is Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta. All interior and exterior is made of snow and ice in this luxurious hotel, even the glasses in the bar. The front door of Norway’s Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta would be indistinguishable from the rest of its snowy surroundings were it not covered in reindeer fur. Step through the door and you enter a long corridor leading to a bar, chapel, gallery and 30 bedrooms; all are carved from ice.

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel opens its door in January each year and melts away again in the spring.

The beds are made of reindeer fur and warm sleeping bags to keep guests comfortable in the hotel’s constant inside temperatures between 24.8 and 19.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

But do not worry, no icy toilet seats here. A large wooden building next to the hotel houses the bathrooms. They are warm and link through to the sauna. Take a stint there, before running outside across icy decking and into the bubbling hot tub.

As for the food variety, The Lakesestua Restaurant, constructed from wood in the shape of a tepee, stands next to the igloo and serves breakfasts of porridge, eggs, cheese and ham and dinners of reindeer stew and fish dishes. The hotel bar serves one drink only, bright blue vodka served in ice glasses.

Kirkenes Snow Hotel

Kirkenes Snow Hotel, Finnmark | Credits: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life – Visitnorway.com

Alta is not the only destination you have to go to experience an icy stay. You can alternatively go to Kirkenes and spend a night with David Spinx in a snow hotel in Northern Norway. And be sure to order a northern lights wake up call before you sleep. You will not freeze when you stay here. The beds are warm and comfortable with reindeer fur, and there are toilets and showers with hot water in a building next door. Here you will also find a restaurant serving local, Arctic food.

The Kirkenes Snow Hotel is built from scratch every year. This year it has more than 40 rooms, a bar and a chapel. All made out of snow and ice. You can choose between queen and king size beds, and all rooms have snow decorations on the walls. Ice sculptures are also on display throughout the hotel. And the hotel offers northern lights wake up calls.

In addition to the snow hotel, Radius Kirkenes offers Sami experiences, dog sledging and snowmobile safaris. You should definitely sign up for a northern lights safari while you are here. Start by watching David Spinx hunting the northern lights.

Cottages and Holiday Houses in Norway

Cottage at Beitostølen | Credits: C.H. – Visitnorway.com 

Last but not least, cottages and holiday houses are popular hire accommodation among both Norwegian and foreign tourists. You will find cottages and cabins to hire along the coast and fjords, in the woods, valleys and mountains. Some are available for very short periods, others for a minimum of one week.

Standards vary from the extremely simple to the very luxurious. What they all offer, however, is the opportunity to experience the traditional Norwegian cottage cosiness that just cannot compare with staying in a room in the city or at a hotel. At the cabin you organise your time as you like. Or more to the point not organise it at all.

Cottages and cabins can be hired through local and regional tourist offices or professional agencies like Norgesbooking and Norbooking.

For those interested in hiking in Norway, more than 400 cabins throughout the country is offered by The Norwegian Trekking Association. Also BookNorway offers the largest available selection with more than 2500 cottages, apartments and holiday houses in Norway.

The Nordic Page March 2014 Issue / Visit Norway
Photo Credits: Johan Wildhagen – Visitnorway.com

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