Monday, January 28, 2013

Norwegian Travel: It's A Scream

Last week marked the beginning of the official Year of Munch in Norway, 150 years after the birth of the famous Norwegian expressionist. To celebrate both the painter and the inspiring Norwegian landscape, is collecting travelers' scream experiences in Norway. You can be part of the celebration too.

"We want people to share and join the celebration by creating the longest scream in the world," says Norwegian director of tourism, Per-Arne Tuftin. "The film is showing the modern day scream experiences in Norway. The only difference is this time it's all about the positive experiences in life that make you scream."

And here's the good news: You can scream your way to Norway! Each week Visitnorway will chose a contestant for a chance to win a real scream experience in Norway. Submit your best scream to win one of five gift cards. As the video grows, so does the prize value. "We basically want to make the world scream," says Tuftin. For more information, go to

While you're at it, don't forget to check out this month's annual Viking travel issue. You'll find articles about Hurtigruten, Norway's coastal steamer, fun outings to Oslo neighborhoods, alternative lodging ideas and more!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Image: Edvard Munch: Skrik, 1893. © Munch Museum / Munch-Ellingsen Group / BONO, Oslo 2013. Photo: © Børre Høstland, National Museum

Friday, January 25, 2013

Remembering Chester Reiten

Sons of Norway was saddened to learn this week of the passing of Chester Reiten. Chester, or Chet to his close friends, was one of the biggest personalities in the Norwegian-American community of the Upper Midwest. Probably best known as the founder of Norsk Høstfest, the largest Scandinavian festival in North America, Chester was also a man dedicated to his community, his state and to the celebration of Norwegian heritage. His passing will be felt and mourned by hundreds of thousands of people throughout the North America and Norway.

Pam Davy, the Executive Director of Norsk Høstfest had this to say about Chester’s passing, “although this man, to whom the Scandinavian-American community owes so much, may have left us physically, let there be no doubt that his leadership and inspiration will live on for as long as there is a Norsk Høstfest.”

Beyond being the founder and driving force behind Norsk Høstfest, Chester was a man dedicated to making his community a better place to live. To that end, he served as the mayor of Minot, ND for 14 years, including during the 1969 Souris River flood recovery—during which time he played a significant role in future flood protection plans. He was also a North Dakota state senator for 16 years. For his service to communities across the state, Chester’s passing was even acknowledged on the floor of the state senate floor this week.

For me, personally, Chester was always a larger-than-life personality. He had a presence that you could feel whenever he walked into a room and a way about him that took charge of any situation that needed his attention. Having been a regular Norsk Høstfest attendee for the last 13 years as a Sons of Norway staff member, I had a lot of opportunities to see and speak with him and I’m going to miss him greatly. The Norwegian-American community has lost a great champion this week.

If you knew Chester or ever had the pleasure of meeting him, please share your memories in the comments below.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ålesund Named Top Destination

National Geographic has named the Norwegian city of Ålesund  one of Europe's best small ports in the February/March issue of Traveler. The city was chosen for its lovely Art Nouveau architecture, thriving food scene, historic harbor and stunning scenery. "Ålesund could be the backdrop for a Nordic fairy tale—with a modern plot twist," the article says. The other ports that made the list are Tallin (Estonia), Zadar (Croatia), Gdansk (Poland) Ajaccio  (France) and Valetta (Malta).

Want the scoop on visiting Ålesund? Viking writer Carter Walker visited the city and shared her impressions in last year's January travel issue. To read it, check out "Norway's Enchanting City"  in our January 2012 issue.

And if you love to travel, don't miss this year's travel issue, where we feature Hurtigruten, Norway's coastal steamer, along with recommended outings in Oslo neighborhoods and alternative lodging ideas.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

118 Years and Still Going Strong!

Today marks a very special occasion for Sons of Norway members throughout North America and Norway because it is the 118th anniversary of our founding!

On this day in 1895, 18 Norwegian immigrants living in Minneapolis MN came together began a mutual assistance group to protect their families in times of tragedy and loss. Their founding principles were to protect the members of their community in difficult times, similar to a program they had access to back in Norway.

Since then we have grown into a $325million international Fraternal Life Insurance company with nearly 400 lodges throughout the U.S., Canada and Norway. Just as important, we are now the largest organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Norwegian heritage and culture. This is thanks in large part to the dedication and hard work of our members around the world. Their hard work to bring heritage programming to their communities and the great volunteer work they do play a significant role in the organization’s success yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Since this is a time of celebration, please join me in congratulating Sons of Norway and its members worldwide for all the great work they do on this special day!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

More Options for Travel to Oslo

International airfare can take a huge bite out of a travel budget. So I was excited to read that Norwegian Airlines will soon offer nonstop service from New York to Oslo. From May 30 to June 24, Norwegian will offer two flights between New York (JFK) and Oslo Gardermoen airport per week. Starting June 25, there will be three flights a week. And the price is right: flights start at $339 one way. This is great news for travelers—particularly if you live on the East Coast!

While Oslo is often a first or last stop for travelers visiting Norway, it's also a great destination in itself. Check out this video from It will put you in the mood to spend a day, a weekend, or a whole week kicking around Norway's beautiful capital.

If you're looking for urban adventures in Oslo, be sure to check out the Viking travel issue. We've highlighted some of our favorite attractions, restaurants, nightclubs and shops in the Grünerløkka and Tjuvholmen neighborhoods. God tur!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Aquavit: Not Just for Christmas

Maybe you enjoy a shot of aquavit with your Christmas lutefisk, but this beverage is much more than just a holiday fish chaser.

This year my husband and I made mock aquavit to give as gifts for the holidays. While it's a fast and simple holiday gift idea, it's a fun project any time of year. Why not make some for your next gathering with friends? We infused our aquavit with fennel and orange, but there are dozens of flavor possibilities. Check out Scandinavian food blogger Kari Deihl's instructions on

Or, how about aquavit for dessert? Try this recipe for aquavit sorbet from Norwegian chef Andreas Viestad on the New Scandinavian Cooking blog. Viestad also suggests serving it as a palette cleanser (but probably not for the same meal!) by making it with less sugar.

Finally, if you like Bloody Marys, you'll want to meet Mary's Norwegian cousin, "Blodig Maren." This recipe for Aquavit Bloody Marys from gives the classic cocktail a Nordic twist.

What's your favorite way to enjoy aquavit? Leave a comment below or drop me a note at

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585. 

Photo courtesy of Doug Bratland.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year from Viking!

Happy new year from the staff of Viking magazine! While 2013 may have just started, our staff has been busy planning our editorial line-ups for months. We're excited about what's in store this year.

This year's travel issue—a January tradition—has already arrived in many members' mailboxes. In it you'll find an article on Norway's famous Hurtigruten coastal steamer. You'll also find ideas for urban adventures in Oslo, Norway's capital city. At the request of one of our readers, we've created a guide to alternative accommodations in Norway—think big savings! And finally, we'll inspire you to plan a getaway to pursue a passion—such as rosemaling, woodcarving or genealogy—and give you the resources to get started.

 In February, in honor of Valentine's Day, we'll celebrate Love by highlighting four notable Nordic couples. Adventure lovers will want to read about Les Stroud, aka TV's "Survivorman," and his 10-day experience in the Norwegian mountains.

We'll share a conversation with Norway's internationally acclaimed crime writer, Jo Nesbø, in March, as well as Easter brunch recipes with a decidedly Nordic twist.

What would you like to see in Viking in 2013? While our calendar is brimming with ideas, we'd still like to hear from you. Share your comments below or email your suggestions to

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.