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Archive for the ‘Art and Culture’ Category

Happy Independence Day America!

Hello friends! Hope you are all having a great 4th of July weekend. Living outside of the country and immersed in Norwegian Traditions I feel like it is extra important to keep my own traditions from home alive, so yes we do celebrate the fourth of July every year. I try to make it as traditional as possible, and mostly do the same things we did when we were living in New York. BBQ Ribs are a must, along with homemade potato salad (none of that store bought sh..) and of course corn on the cob. It’s a bit early for corn on the cob in Norway, we are too far north but we can usually get some imported from Southern Europe.

We did our celebration today though because we are at our summer house. Our vacation starts late this year because we are having lots of guests in the late summer so we are only here for the weekend. That means we will use the afternoon of the 4th to drive home. But no worries! We had a good celebration today, and I’ll make sure we get some burgers tomorrow so we don’t feel too left out!

Classic Car Show in Mariestad

Classic Car Show in Mariestad

Today we went to a classic car show which they hold the first weekend in July every year in Mariestad. The weather was hot and sunny, and there was a very good turnout. RennyBA will be posting more on this event so I won’t give you full coverage right now.

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Sunny beach day in Mariestad

After standing in the hot sun at the Classic car show we needed to cool off a bit. So we did as many others in the local area and headed to the local beach for a dip in the Great Lake Vänern. The water was just right for a swim, warm enough that you don”t go into shock when you get in, but cold enough to cool you down on a hot and humid day. It is really 4th of July weather here this year. Hazy hot and humid as we used to say back home.

One thing which is very different here is that you can’t send up fireworks in the summer time. Well of course you can but you won’t see them very good because the sky doesn’t get dark. So if you are missing fireworks, click here and make your own online, its fun!!

And don”t forget! Happy Independence Day!

Norwegian Wood Festival and Sweden Rock, let the festival season begin

Summer Rock festivals are popular phenomena in Scandinavia. Noway, Sweden and Denmark are known throughout Europe and the rest of the world for summer festivals with something for every taste. I must admit that I am not much of a festival goer these days. My sons are more the right age, and my oldest just came home from several days at Sweden Rock Festival.

Sweden Rock, when not raining!

Sweden Rock, when not raining!

Sweden Rock Festival is a heavy metal and hard rock-the festival in Sölvesborg in Sweden. Each year both well known and up and coming bands perform for a festival which lasts 4 days in the beginning of June. There are about 30,000 visitors each year. This years concert offered bands like Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, and Slayer. The boys said some of the local bands were also very good. They didn’t make it until the end of the festival though, because as is also typical for festivals – they got lots of rain. You’re really lucky if you make it through a festival completely dry hehehe. So after 3 days of sleeping on the lumpy ground in a tent they decided to “throw in the towel” so to speak.

Norwegian Wood 2009 Nick Cave

Norwegian Wood 2009 Nick Cave

This weekend one of the largest festivals in Oslo is also going on; Norwegian Wood. Located at the edge of Vigeland park in Frogner swimming area. This concert is not as much Heavy Metal and more of a variety of rock. Something for everyone in a way. They also reserve room for promising Norwegian bands in a section they call “untouched”. These are groups that are unspoiled by popularity and publication so far. Saturday the main acts will be Van Morrison, Amy MacDonald, and Jackson Brown.

Norwegian Wood Poster 2010

Norwegian Wood Poster 2010

I think I would have liked Norwegian Wood better, partly because it is more grown up music, and partly because I could sneak home after the concert, take a shower and sleep in a good bed…no tent required since I am local hahaha!! Okay, and if you are not the festival type then you can visit RennyBA to learn more relaxing ways to spend the summer days like in the Botanical Garden!

Folk Dance and living history at Norwegian Folk Museum

On Sunday the Norwegian Folk Museum held a rural folk dance this weekend so of course we had to be there. It is a lot of fun to watch Norwegian folk dance, and the traditional costumes called Bunad are very special indeed. Sewn after exact and traditional patterns they are quite expensive and valued for their tradition and connection to the owner’s local roots.

Bunad clad girls at the Folk Museum

Bunad clad girls at the Folk Museum

The Norwegian Folk Museum is a living museum with a collection of 150 buildings representing the different regions of Norway. The buildings are original carefully relocated to this one collection site. My entire family loves this museum. I remember so well how my children loved to join the Sunday activities, pet the horses, eat traditional lefse and most of all to explore the buildings which were open.

Regional costumes in traditional setting

Regional costumes in traditional setting

There were dancers on the main stage, and smaller groups scattered around the areas which represented their home communities. To see a video of the dancing and get a closer look visit RennyBA’s blog and check out his take on the day.

Telemark dance in full swing

Telemark dance in full swing

The children also loved the occasion, and it is good to see the tradition is carried down the line.

Children showing their skills

Children showing their skills

In addition to the dancing there was of course food. Many brought food to grill as all the local dance clubs were invited and admitted free. Some also had samples of local foods for us to try different tastes from different regions of the country.

Trying traditional delicacies

Trying traditional delicacies

If you would like to wander back into time with us, remember you are welcome to join us at the Oslo Blog gathering. The more the merrier, and if there isn’t dance at the Folk Museum when we are there we will happily dance with joy because you were able to join us!

An Oasis in the City, Oslo Botanical Garden

Soon it is the 200th anniversary of University of Oslo (UiO) which was founded in 1812 by Frederik 6 of Denmark and Norway. Originally the plan was that the University would stand on land given to the community in Tøyen, however this plan was never implemented. Instead, in 1814 it was decided that a botanical garden would be created there.

Peaceful surroundings

Peaceful surroundings

The garden is now an oasis in Oslo, with almost half a million visitors each year. In the period from 1906 to 1916, the museum buildings with botanical, zoological and geological museums were erected, and these days it is 100 years since the Zoological Museum opened its doors to the public for the first time.

Lilly of the Valley

Lilly of the Valley

The period from 1870 to 1920 was an important period for the natural history museums internationally. Charles Darwin’s evolution had given science an important place in the public debate, and the importance of scientific collections were aknowledged. Natural History museums or museums in botany, zoology and geology were built in all major cities. University of Oslo Botanical garden seeks to increase public awareness of the importance of plant diversity through research, education and plant conservation. The plant collections contain approximately 7500 species.

Rhodedendron

Rhodedendron

Not to mention it is a popular tourist attraction as well as lovely meeting place for the local residents of Oslo. This weekend RennyBA and I took a trip to enjoy the spring-early summer season. May and June are very good months to visit the garden as there are lots of plants coming into full bloom.

Spring blooming trees

Spring blooming trees

I am like a butterfly, especially attracted to the lovely colors and fragrances. When I first came to Oslo this was one of the places I was really looking forward to visiting. I love flowers and this one is very meticulously maintained and laid out so that there is always something blooming in every section. The rock garden surrounding the pond is always a favorite of ours as is the smelling garden full of fragrant plants, with all the markings also in brail so that blind visitors can enjoy the garden as well using the other senses. It is also allowed to touch the plants in that section.

The smelling garden

The smelling garden

If you are interested in beauty and nature, and are crazy about flowers like I am add this to your list of things to do when you visit us at the Oslo Blog Gathering. I am considering being the local guide for this part of the trip.

Who will win Eurovision 2010? I was there for semifinal!

Who will win? Who will win? Statisticians at MIT predict Azerbaijan while Cinta large scale newspaper poll predicts it will be Germany. The poll on facebook is currently showing Turkey in the lead. Everyone has an opinion, so as a good blogger I went last night to check out some of the entries myself.

Telenor Arena comes alive

Telenor Arena comes alive

Okay I can’t take full credit, I must thank NRK to donating the tickets to our center. We received 10 free tickets and gathered the girls together for an exciting night out. They donned their makeup and their heels, did their hair and hopped the bus (??!!??) to the Telenor arena. Yes I did say bus, the local transportation arrangements were excellent with busses going every 3 minutes or so at the rush time for the show.

Azerbaijan's performance

Azerbaijan's performance

I had my camera of course. I felt very cheeky sneaking it in, but when I got in I noticed they weren’t too strict about it because there were lots of cameras around. I am afraid our free tickets weren’t exactly first row. Actually I have a suspicion that the front row areas are reserved for guests of each country as they are very neatly divided into the different countries groups…but I did the best I could to capture the atmosphere anyway.

The Netherlands performs their song

The Netherlands performs their song

I found it very hard to decide when it came to voting for my favorite. I noticed that when I watch the show on tv I am a lot more critical to the presentations. When I was actually there they all seemed good in their own way, and I realized that of course it is the ‘best’ each country has to offer. I realized a lot of time and work and planning goes into each act and I was affected by the enthusiasm of each countries supporters. The biggest surprise to me was that Sweden didn’t go on, as I have heard the song before and thought it was a really good performance. The ten finalists who go on the last competition on Saturday were: Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey, Israel, Ireland, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Romania, Armenia and Denmark.

So who did I vote for? As a good democrat I shouldn’t tell, but I will. I liked two performances better than the others. Sweden, which sadly didn’t make it to the final and Georgia which did.

So what do you think? Who will win the Eurovision 2010 Song contest??? To learn more of the history and another point of view on the Eurovision experience check out RennyBA’s Terella!