Thursday, September 15, 2011

Norwegian Experience: Day 2 & 3

Both Wednesday and Thursday have been fun-filled days for Nancy Madson, 2010 Norwegian Experience contest winner. Nancy visited the Oslo Folk Museum, Gol stave church, the Viking Ship Musuem, Parliament and much more! Let’s hear how she’s enjoying the trip!

Walk me through your day on Wednesday…did you have any favorite stops?

Wednesday was great! Last night especially! Our visit to Parliament was really interesting and the folk dance group afterward was wonderful and very large! There were dancers and musicians of all ages, from 10 to 70. There were even young children playing the accordion. Afterward we were served dessert and coffee and the dancers went out into the audience and encouraged us to dance a waltz with them. It was a great time!

I also did a bit of shopping with Luella. She wanted bunad shoes. (Of course this prompted my active imagination. So to prevent myself from picturing ornate, heavily embroidered shoes, I just had to ask. Nancy was happy to put my curiosity to rest, “special shoes you wear with a bunad-dancing shoes.”)

What did you do on the tour on Thursday?

A little bit of driving, we visited Heddal stave church, which is absolutely beautiful. Very large and decorated and it is currently in use, from April to October. They can’t open the church in winter because the electric heat would damage the interior since the church is 800 years old.

We also stopped at Hadeland Glassworks, which was very interesting and educational. I have watched freeform glassblowing before but at Hadeland today they used molds instead. I watched an artist use 3 molds in one piece today. I also did a bit of Christmas shopping for my family in their gift shop. (Nancy did give me the details on the nifty gifts she picked up--which sound wonderful--but I won’t spoil the surprise for the lucky recipients!) I also received a wonderful gift from Hadeland for being the contest winner, a beautiful cobalt blue Christmas ornament set of three hand-blown kings.

We also made a surprise stop in Eidsvoll to Eidsvollsbygningen, the manor house where the Norwegian constitution was written. Unfortunately the building was closed for restoration but it was nice to stop and see it from the outside.

When I visited in 2000 I didn’t participate in any tours, but this visit has been so much more of a learning experience. The tour guides with Borton Overseas have been wonderful. I’ve been taking notes and trying to remember everything. One of the things I learned was that Norwegians have a triangular flag as well as the rectangular flag. The triangular flag is used more for everyday use and what we would consider the “traditional” Norwegian flag is used for more official occasions. I was also surprised by the amount of sod roofs and stabburs I saw today. You think of them being “of the past” but you still see them in use in Norway. I’m hoping to find a stabbur souvenir to take home with me. I really enjoy those little buildings-some are so ornate and others are fairly plain.

I also was interviewed by John Granly, journalist and brother to our International Director Ernst Granly, for the local paper in Eidsvoll. So who knows, my picture might be in the local paper!

Don’t forget to check the blog later for more updates! On Friday Nancy will be off to Hamar and Lom to visit the Emigrant museum and the Ringebu and Lom stave churches, ending with a stay at the historic Fossheim Hotel. So, if you’d like to be the lucky recipient of this amazing contest for 2011, be sure to visit the Sons of Norway website and check out the contest details here!

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