New Resuce Helicopter for Norway


All of Norway has just ordered in some new rescue helicopters.  The coast guard operates them for land and sea.  This new ‘Augusta’ is from the Augusta Westland factory.  The previous helicopter Norway used was the “Sea King” made by the same company.

Why is the helicopter brand name important?  Well, for us in Alta, at least, you don’t say ‘call the coast guard’ in an emergency, you say ‘call the Sea King’.  But I never did catch the correct name until I saw it written in the paper.  Norwegian’s seem to pronounce Sea King as ‘Seeking’.  It wasn’t until I saw it spelt out that I realized what everyone was trying to say.

Now everyone has to get used to the new name ‘Augusta’, a name that can’t be mistaken.  However, other countries are calling it the Merlin (GB) or Kestrel (US) or Cormorant (Canada).  I must admit, ‘Augusta’ is a bit of a mouthful to say in an emergency but it’s a lot easier for an outlander like me to say ‘Augusta’ than ‘Ring kystvakta‘ (Call the Coast Guard).

Lamb for Fårikål


Fårikål is the national dish of Norway.  It is a traditional country stew made with mutton, cabbage, peppercorns and water.  That’s it.  As there are many different dialects in Norway, there are also many different ideas about Fårikål.  Traditionalists say that you shouldn’t divert from the original simplicity of the dish but modernists prefer to add in extra ingredients for variety and flavour.  We’ve certainly experimented with a few of our own ideas, such as Fårikål with Rosemary and Garlic, Cinnamon, Curry and even Ginger and Chili.  We always start off the season with the original and nothing has ever been better than making fårikål with your own home grown meat.

I have seen a growing trend over the last few years that Norwegians are changing from using the traditional mutton (usually frozen) to using fresh lamb.  In the original dish the fat is very important for flavour and helps create the body of the stew.  Using lamb doesn’t give that thickness or rustic flavour, but it seems that the Norwegian palate is becoming finer and more health conscious.  That the fatty stew providing good for energy in the farming days is not needed for todays lifestyles.

One of the things Norwegians are certainly masters of is eating in season.  It is smart, economical and environmentally conscious, a long tradition that has paid off.  Norwegians have always valued home-grown.  I have come quite accustomed to eating certain foods at certain times of the year.  I think it is the natural way to eat.  Nature provides all the foods you need at the right times of the year to survive.  Autumn is my favourite.  It is the time of plenty, when nature gives to the most to fatten ourselves up for the long winter ahead.  Berries, mushrooms, vegetables, tea plants and meats go into the stores to wait for the many feast days of Christmas.  It’s lovely to live the old ways in the modern world.


Sunset Walk at Amtmannsnes


Amtmannsnes is a little peninsula off Komsa Mountain in Alta.  It is one of our favourite places for an after dinner family walk.  We load up everyone in the car and take the 5 minute drive down to the water at sunset.


There is something about Amtmannsnes; it has the kind of peacefulness you get when you feel everything in your life is in harmony.  You have no worries; all the time in the world to enjoy the beauty of the fjord, beach and mountain.


The sun and water have a special relationship.  They create ever changing atmospheres, and I guess that is one of the reasons we like Amtmannsnes so much.  At every turn and on every mound everything looks different, the colours in the sky, of the water and of the plants.


The cliffs are great for climbing with natural steps.  The higher we go the closer to the berries we get!  Amtmannsnes has a low forest.  Most of the plant life is not higher than the ankles with lots of berry types including cloudberries if you are lucky.


Ah-ha!  They may look like blue berries but they sure don’t taste as nice.  Blokkebær (bog bilberries) berries have the same colour and texture of blueberries but they are oblong instead of round and taste rather funky.


Right at the top of the walk are Cold War lookout ruins.  They were built by the local regiment in the 1960s to keep an eye out for any activity happening in the fjord, especially from enemy submarines.



To the east, and tip of the peninsula is a little beach with a fishing rowboat.



Walking towards the sun on the way back somehow changes the colours of everything.


These berries look like tyttebær or cowberries but are actually skrubbær (scrub berries) or grisebær (pig berries) in the local tongue, or dwarf cornels in English.



There is only space for a low forest on Amtmannsnes.  Being surrounded by the fjord, it gets the harsh brunt of winter.  Trees usually can’t survive the winter winds here but the berry forest thrives.  It is protected in winter under a thick layer of snow and has no tall trees to compete with for sun in the summer.


The peacefulness captures you and you can’t help but stop many times along the track just to breath in the beauty and tranquility.



Our Saint Bernard looks pretty small here but that is only because Moose is 6’7″.  He’s following the Bro Code: your dog must at least reach up to your knees.


In nature a science lesson is always waiting.  Lilu was fascinated with how one rock can draw on another – rocks can be softer or harder than each other.



Definitely, one of Amtmannsnes’ features is the incoming planes.  On the other side of the peninsula is our little airport.  No jumbo jets can land there, it is too small.  We mostly get propeller planes and small commuter jets.  The planes fly low over us and it is fun to watch them fly overhead while laying.  This particular plane was playing follow with us.  It circled round and around, following our walking path, making sure to fly right over our heads each time.



As the sun began to fall behind the northern mountains across the fjord, it was home time.


Back along the stoney beach, along the lush grass that leads up to Komsa Mountain, we headed back to the car.


But one last stroll by the water’s edge was needed before we said good-bye.  Until next time.

Candy Red: Colours of the Forest


Forest floor foliage.  Candy red is a featured colour in the Norwegian forest.  It sits scattered amongst the greens.  It almost seems it doesn’t belong to the Arctic; more like the tropics.

August, Transfarelv forest, Arctic Norway.

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