Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Norwegian Experience : Day 1

Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to check in with Nancy Madson, the 2010 Norwegian Experience recruitment contest winner, via Skype. A member since 1990, Nancy has held numerous lodge leadership positions and is currently vice president of Solskinn 6-150 and a zone director. As the 2010 winner, Nancy will be spending the next week visiting some of Norway’s most scenic and historic places, including UNESCO World Heritage sites and several stave churches, courtesy of Borton Overseas and Sons of Norway. I caught up with Nancy after a busy travel day to Oslo, complete with an orientation city tour and a welcome dinner and dessert with Sons of Norway district 8 members.

How has the trip experience been so far? Are you enjoying taking part in the Presidential Tour with Sons of Norway members?
The hotel is really beautiful and the flight went well…although it was very long. I think I will probably be asleep within a minute of my head hitting the pillow! Half the fun of the trip is enjoying it with fellow members. Having common connections and interests just adds to the trip and I’ve really enjoyed meeting other members.

What are you most excited to see?
The Stave Churches! I was able to see 2 of them during my visit in 2000, but seeing 8 of the 28 of them is really something special. I’m also really looking forward to the food! I’d like to try some new things as well as enjoy the food Norway is known for, like seafood and reindeer. I am also really looking forward to trying whale during our stop in Bergen.

Any highlights from the Oslo city tour?
I really enjoyed seeing all the amazing architecture. Everything is so old and intricate. Where I live in Palm Springs everything is new, you don’t get to see carvings and stonework like this there. While others looked at the stores, I was looking up at the great buildings. I did stop into one store…a bunad shop! It almost made you drool to see all those great bunads.

On Wednesday you will be visiting the Oslo Folk Museum, the Gol stave church and the Viking Ship Museum. Have you visited these heritage sites before?
Yes, I was able to see many of these places when I visited Norway several years ago for the International Convention. However, this time I am looking forward to being able to visit with a good friend of mine who actually works at the Folk Museum in Oslo. We’re also going to experience a behind-the-scenes visit to Parliament Wednesday afternoon and a performance by a folk dancing group. Later in the day I’d like to explore the area a bit and do some shopping.

Is there anything about the city that surprised you or looked different since your visit in 2000?
I had forgotten a lot. Last time I visited I was under the weather and so it made it a bit more difficult to really enjoy the city, so everything really looks brand new to me! I did notice all the construction that seems to be happening in the city and I love the new Oslo Opera House, it is so beautiful!

Visit the blog later this week to see more updates from Nancy and exciting trip details along the way! And don't forget, you, too, can be eligible to win the Norwegian Experience! For contest details, click here.

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