Reported by Lesley ‘Amber’ Stene from Great Britain.
A kingdom of around 4.8 million people, spread over about 385,200 square kilometers. The official head of state is King Harald V. Spectacular wide open spaces, mountains and fjords. Norwegians joke that there are more trees than people. The climate is surprisingly temperate for its northerly latitude. Locals are cosmopolitan, hospitable and friendly with the sentimentality of the Scots when you get to know them!
Viking Ship Museum, Oslo. A must see. Full of everything from jewellery and textiles to whole Viking ships found in the early 20th century when Norway became independent.
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, Oslo. Europe’s largest open-air museum with traditional buildings from Norway’s history, rebuilt on this site in the quiet peninsula. You’ll find several museums close by, including the Kon-Tiki Museum and the Fram Museum. Full of traditional crafts, costumes and furniture.
Well worth at least a day of your time in Oslo. Akerhus Fortress and Castle. Includes Norway’s Resistance Museum.
Take a ferry and go island-hopping off the Oslofjord for the day.
The day when the Norwegian constitution was signed (17 May 1814) is a national holiday and in Oslo, that means children’s parades that attract similar national attention to the Lord Mayor’s Show in London.
Public transport – Generally modern and comfortable. Frequency depends a lot on population density. The transport infrastructure is in public hands, but services are run by private companies. There is subsidised travel and there are several high-speed rail links.
By water – There are many ferries and active working ports around Norway.
Driving - Only if you really have to, though the lack of traffic makes it a pleasure. Tax on cars is very expensive in Norway. Zero tolerance on drink driving and speed limits are tightly enforced everywhere.
Breakfast – Try Brunost – the brown cheese that’s either made from goat’s milk or goat’s milk mixed with cow’s milk. The taste is sweet but sharp, so have thin slices as Norwegians do. The (sweeter) spreadable version is worth a go if you aren’t sure you can handle it.
Seafood is always worth having, salmon in particular.
Common meats include local lamb, beef and reindeer. Salted and preserved meat and fish are common as well as fresh goods.
In big towns and cities, expect to find the same kind of cosmopolitan fare as you would across most of Europe – pizza, pasta etc. Eating out can be expensive.
When re-enacting, visitors tend to be so well catered for that there was no need to eat out. Eating with family and friends feels like an occasion to be enjoyed and hospitality is important to Norwegian re-enactors.
Water is safe to drink.
Soft drinks or alcohol may be the most expensive part of your meal if you eat out. Alcohol is more expensive than in the UK.
The police do not carry guns.
Crime - Take the usual precautions, but don't worry too much.
110 is the emergency number for fire; 112 for the police; 113 for ambulances; 120 for emergencies at sea.
Elks (moose) are enormous and are kept off motorways by very high fences. Wolves. Reindeer. Lovely small horses (they look like punk ponies with Mohicans). Ermine are vermin in some places!
There are poisonous plants, so listen to advice from local re-enactors when you are at a battle re-enactment site.