Friday, September 16, 2011

Presidential Tour 2011: Day 2 and 3

Yesterday I spoke with International President Dan Rude about the presidential Tour of Norway to see how it’s going so far. I caught up with him as he was just finishing lunch at the Hadeland Glassworks, but more on that in a bit. Here’s what Dan had to say:

SofN: So, Dan, how’s the tour going? Last time we chatted you’d had a long day, but were looking forward to the excursions to Akershus and the Storting. How’d they go?

DR: Oh, it was so interesting! Akershus and the Norwegian Resistance museum were amazing. Going through the museum, it really this home how much Norwegians sacrificed when fighting the Nazis. Their homes, their families, and in some cases their lives. It really puts things in perspective.

SofN: Wow, that sounds really moving. I’m glad you got to see it. Now, after the Akershus trip, you went to the Storting, right?

DR: Oh yes! That was last night and it was fantastic! We met with a good friend of ours who is a MP and he took us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Storting. We were able to go places within the building that most citizens never see in person, like the Main Chanber, where the MPs meet. Looking around, I was so amazed at the level of technology they employ.

Then we went down on the main floor of the chamber, where people are rarely allowed to go. It was a great experience because the whole building has some great architecture and design.

SofN: That sounds like a lot of fun and a rare opportunity. Was there a favorite part of the tour?

DR: I think it would probably have been seeing the room where HM the King waits prior to opening the Storting every year.

SofN: Very cool. I bet there aren’t a lot of people who get to see that. Now wasn’t there a dance performance as well?

DR: Yes! We met up with a bunch of our old friends who live in Oslo. They are in a group called Steinsgardskroken, and they have an accordion group that plays for the dances. It was awesome! I even learned some new dances and, best of all, made some new friends.

SofN: Sounds like a lot of fun. So with all that activity yesterday, are you enjoying some down-time today?

DR: Not at all. I’m still full of energy! We spent part of the morning on the bus, going to visit the Heddal Stave Church. That was quite an experience for us since it’s the largest stave church in Norway.

Then we came here to the Hadeland Galssworks. We’ve just finished lunch and are about to take a tour of their glassblowing area, then do some shopping for gifts and souvenirs.

SofN: Hadeland Glassworks are a great place to visit. We’ve sent a number of past Norwegian Experience winners there. They’ve all had a great time and learned a lot about the art that goes into making glassblowing and the resulting artwork.

DR: I’m sure it’s going to be very educational for everyone. Then once we wrap up here, we’re going on to Eidsvold where we’ll visit Constitution Hall. That’s going to be a very special part because it’s such an important part of Norway’s history. Unfortunately because it’s under renovation we won’t be able to see much inside, but it’s still an important stop on the tour.

Then, after Eidsvold, we are off to Hamar, which is a very special place for me. It’s where my grandmother came from, so there is a deep familial connection with the area. When we’re there we are also going to visit Mjørsa, which is the largest freshwater lake in Norway. The scenery there is so beautiful, I know everyone is going to love it!

After that, we are ending the day with a nice dinner for everyone on the tour and we’re going to be visited by International Director Ernst Granly, his wife and his brother. It’ll be great to see him and I know that everyone will enjoy meeting with him.

SofN: Wow, Dan, it sounds like you’ve had a full couple of days! Is everyone on the tour able to keep up?

DR: Oh, yes! Everyone is still really excited to be here. We’ve walked a lot of miles so far, but everyone is having a great time!

SofN: Great, Dan! Thanks for keeping us up-to-date on everything that’s going on with the Presidential Tour!

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