Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I have strange tastes and I'll be the first to admit it. There are lots of things I enjoy that most would consider mildly annoying, hokey, or just plain odd.

Bagpipes? Love em.

Joiking? Traditional or modern, I'm all about it.

Now, I have discovered something else that I like and will probably get some ribbing for: Norwegian hallingdans. I've always been interested in the folk-dances of different countries (maybe because I have two left feet and am enamored with how some people can be so coordinated), and I find hallingdans to be a lot of fun to watch. With the fluidity of movement, the constant, the apparent Slavic influence in some of the foot work, the constant movement and inertia as well as the acrobatics, it's aesthetically a very unique dance.

Have any of my readers ever tried hallingdans, or any other Norwegian folk dance? If you have, tell me about your experience. Leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

UPDATE: Apparently I'm not the only one who enjoys it. Hallingdans is being woven into a new online RPG, called Age of Conan.

Norwegian Experience Wrap Up

As the sun sets on another Norwegian Experience trip, we bid a fond farewell to this year's winner, Judy. I thought a nice way to round out this series was with a wrap-up interview with Judy. So, without further adieu, here we go:

How did it feel to be back home in the U.S.?
It actually feels fine being home again. I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since we came home… it’s gone so quickly. I have a new appreciation for home as well as an extended appreciation for Norway.

Please tell me what your favorite part of the tip was?
Favorite part of the trip??? That’s a great BUT difficult question. I can’t think of anything that was not a favorite part: the beauty and cleanliness of the country, the friendly and helpful people, the delicious food, the glorious hotels, the modes of public and private transportation, the private tours, EVERYTHING!

If you could do the trip over, is there anything you’d change or do differently?
I would have appreciated having at least one (or two) more days in each city to sit and relax – to enjoy the atmosphere a little more.

How was it working with Borton Overseas before and during the trip?
Borton Overseas was absolutely fabulous to work with for our trip. Linda McCormick (the Scandinavian Director) and Elaine Nelson Peik (Scandinavian Specialist) are professionals who went way beyond their “call of duty” to ensure our trip was truly “one of a lifetime.”

I can recommend them without reservations to anyone who wants help and/or advice when planning a trip to Norway. I am definitely thinking about returning and would call on Linda to help me again (and again and again).

What would you say to next year’s winner? Any advice?
Enjoy every minute of your trip; they’re not kidding when they describe it as a “once in a lifetime trip.” Be ready to be amazed from the moment you receive the call that you’ve won this wonderful trip. The planning process is just the beginning.

What would you say to all the people who are recruiting to win for next year’s trip?
Keep up the good work. Although I’m a good example that quality is just as effective as quantity. I recruited four new members – which may not seem like a lot – but the results were the same.

What is your favorite souvenir that you brought back from your trip?
I’d have to say that it’s a tie: my “father and mother” Henning trolls (which I planned to look for and hoped to find) and the beautiful glass vase and “plate” that I purchased at Hadeland Glassverk.

How has this trip helped connect you with your Norwegian Heritage?
I can appreciate the country of birth of my grandpa and great-grandparents even more than before. Their rich heritage is a part of me that will always be a part of who I am. I can also appreciate the beginning of the lives of many of our members who were born in Norway and immigrated to our area (Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood) even more. It meant a great deal to many of them who followed my travels, especially when they knew we visited their home towns or traveled through their birthplaces. (“You went right by our family farm when you were on the train to Stavanger.”) Their excitement made me even more excited about my trip.

Now that you’ve been home for a while and had some time to process everything you saw and did in Norway, any final thoughts on the contest, the trip or the experience?
It’s obvious that my trip was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I doubt if I will ever be able to afford a trip like this myself. As a retired school teacher married to a retired state employee, our vacations have been and will probably always be very modest in comparison.

However, I will ALWAYS have my memories of this fabulous trip – where I had the opportunity to fly business class, be met at an airport by a driver holding a sign with my name on it, be driven in a Mercedes or Jaguar “taxi,” receive personalized tours with a private guide, stay in five-star hotels, and eat at some world-famous restaurants. In other words, be treated like “queen for a day” for twelve straight days!!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

UPDATE: Viking Magazine Needs Your Help

I was in an editorial meeting yesterday, discussing some story ideas for the December issue of Viking magazine, and the editors told me that they are in serious need of sources for an article on Norwegian antiques. Apparently they are considering a story on people who collect antique Norwegian items, be it Hadeland glass, porcelain items or hand painted decorations. The editors are especially looking for people who are collectors or who know good places where collectors can find these items.

In an e-mail from the editor, she writes "We’re mostly looking for great finds, stores and markets in Norway. We’d be interested in good dealers and shops in the U.S., too. The story could go a few directions. Most interesting being the idea of an Antiques Roadshow in Norway."

Have you got a story to share? Do you know of a great shop to suggest? If so, I want to hear about it! If not, do you know someone who might be a good source? Tell me about them, too!

I think this could be a very cool article that a lot of our members will enjoy, but in order to make it happen we need folks to come forward before the end of August. If you are a collector, or know someone who is, please e-mail me at eevans@sofn.com or you can call me toll-free at the HQ at 800-945-8851. I know there are a lot of collectors out there, so lets make this happen!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sons of Norway Presents: En To Tre

Yup, you read the title correctly--no need to clean the glasses or do a double-take. Sons of Norway is now the presenting sponsor of En To Tre, the finest dining experience at Norsk Høstfest! This is an awesome new facet to our title sponsorship of Oslo Hall. But what's even better is that Sons of Norway members will get a 15% discount on Authentic Norwegian Buffet meals!

All Sons of Norway members have to do to take advantage of this great deal is go to click here and scroll down to the Sons of Norway logo to get your discounted tickets. It's a great deal and trust me when I say that it's some of the best food you'll find at Norsk Høstfest. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy deep fried food as much as the next guy, but it's a nice change to sit down to a meal of smoked salmon or roast beef with a spiced, aioli remoulade sauce. Sounds good, right?

Just remember that seating is limited, so you'll want to make your reservations ASAP to ensure you get a chance to sample this amazing culinary fare. And if you go, be sure to stop by the Sons of Norway booth in Oslo Hall and say hi!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sons of Norway Highlighted on Serve.gov

I'm working on an interview with our Norwegian Experience winner, Judy Gray to wrap up our coverage of this year's Norwegian Experience Recruitment Contest. In the meantime our membership coordinator, Nichole, has a post about a cool, new website and the efforts of one of our lodges.

Serve.gov is a blog that highlights the many ways Americans serve their country and fellow men, whether by large or small feats. Sons of Norway lodges routinely assist in their community (check the message boards for ideas and success stories), and serve.gov recognized one of our own lodge’s year-round contributions to Ski for Light.

Edmonds 2-130 has assisted with trail upkeep, guiding blind and mobility-impaired individuals and continuous promotion and fundraising for Ski for Light. You can read the full story here, under the title Sons of Norway Serve.

Congratulations to the Edmonds lodge for some well-deserved recognition!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Norwegian Experience: Day 11

Thursday was the final day in Norway for Judy and her sister. After spending the better part of 2 weeks constantly on the go, our weary travelers finally had a morning to rest and sleep in as is befitting any true vacation. Judy spent the late morning going back to the Bryggens museum and packing before she and her sister traveled to Solstrand, which was a perfect way to close out the trip.

You see, this year's winner received an overnight stay at the Solstrand Hotel and Spa, where she and her guest were treated to relaxing scenery and complimentary spa treatments. From what I hear, the massages and facials were just what the doctor ordered. After that, the pair went out for some sightseeing.

They wandered around Solstrand, taking a lot of photos and enjoying the sights. Overall it was a very relaxing way to close out the trip.

And with that, the 2008 Norwegian Experience Recruitment Contest comes to a close. I hope you've enjoyed following Judy and her sister around Norway as much as I have. Stay tuned because I'll be doing a follow-up interview with Judy later in the week to recap her trip.

Don't forget: If you'd like your own Norwegian Experience, you can either enter to win this year's contest, or you can contact Borton Overseas to plan your own experience with a 5% discount for all Sons of Norway members!

The Norwegian Experience Recruitment Contest is a joint venture between Sons of Norway International and its partner Borton Overseas. The contest is open to all Sons of Norway members who sign up a new, dues-paying member between January 1 and December 31, 2009. A winner will be drawn at random in January of 2010. For more information about this year's contest, visit www.sonsofnorway.com or click here.