True Midnight Sun

The midnight sun is at its lowest in the sky in the middle of the night.  Which isn’t very low at all as it is still high above the horizon, hence the name, midnight sun.  You’d think that the midnight sun would be at its lowest in the sky when it is midnight.  However, because of daylight savings, the midnight sun at midnight is actually cosmically only 11pm.  That means that the true midnight sun in summer is 1am.

So generally Midsummer’s Eve is celebrated until the daylight saving midnight but this year in Alta, Northern Norway, we stayed up the extra hour to capture the true midnight phenomenon.  The midnight sun never gets old!

Blåtur

My first blåtur!  A blåtur is a mystery destination activity and is usually for a work celebration like a Christmas party or an end of year gathering.

‘Dress for the weather’ is what was said on my invite, so I looked outside (it didn’t look too bad – a little cloudy) and I wore jeans, a T and my jumper.  When I got to work I found out that ‘dress for the weather’ really meant ‘dress for freezing mountain climbing’!  Everyone else had three layers of clothes on including wool and rain coats.  Where the heck did they think we were going?  No one knew, only that experience had told them to dress for the worst.  However, my Norwegian buddies were quick to organise me with warmer clothes.

We drove about an hour out from Alta and arrived at a jetty.  Yep, we were going on a boat ride.  Off the jetty was this dinky boat.  Someone had forgot to build some stairs so it was a fun climb down – the adventure had started!

The water was choppy and us girls sat at the front trying to take pictures as we literally bounced off our seats.  The boys were a little smarter and took their seats at the back.  Along the way we passed Kviby.  A small village that is famous as a reindeer crossing.  The Sami herd their reindeer through the Finnmark plateau to the shore and take them on a barge to their summer grazing island Stjernøya.  On the way back the reindeer swim to shore before they go back for the winter.

We ended up in Storekorsnes.  It is a small fishing village with no trees.

Our base was a rental cabin.  (Phew – I was thinking little campfire next to the icy cold beach for a moment!)  The cabin had the best view of the mountains.

A few of the boys wanted to go fishing and I jumped at the chance.  For a moment I thought the boys might not let me tag along since Viking myth says that women on board a boat curses the fishing, and in fact, you shouldn’t even encounter a woman when walking to the boat if you want good fishing.  But I think the boys were delightfully surprised that I wanted to join in.

So in the boat again and we went fishing off the back.  I don’t think the boys believed me when I told them I could feel nibbles – (‘nibbles’ being a new English word for my Norwegians buddies to learn).  About ten minutes in I caught my first Norwegian fish.  It was a sei (or coalfish in English), a little too small so we threw it back.

Then every five to ten minutes after that I hauled more fish, mainly torsk (or cod in English).  One time I reeled in two on my line, got them off and dropped my line in the water only to catch another one a second later.  The boys were tickled pink.  (I thought it was beginners luck.)  Who’d have thought that a city girl from Oz would be a master at Norwegian fjord fishing!

My buddy DJ finally caught one.  Lucky, because if we were playing Aussie rules he’d have to swim around the boat naked if he didn’t catch a fish.

It was nearly lunch time and we went back to shore.  Our boss had cooked us up some chicken curry soup.  Fresh.  Homemade.  Delicious!

I was very satisfied with my bowl but everyone else (all the Norwegians) had seconds and thirds.  Dessert was sugared-strawberries and berry ice cream.  The sugar on the strawberries, like a cold saute, made them melt in your mouth.  My bowl was perfect and I was very amused to watch my dinner companions have seconds and thirds again.  I was ‘mett‘ (full) but then the outside cook brought in her BBQ stir-fry – more food!  Oi!

After lunch we all sat round the coffee table chatting.  Some of us took pictures outside.  Some even ate more.

Too soon it was home time.  I had a crazy ride back with the gals.  They were high on life and wanted everyone to join in.  I tell you what – who ever said Norwegians were quiet, controlled and boring certainly don’t know Norwegians!

 

Posessed Guitar, Anyone?

Facsimile from finn.no

Not sure if this is a joke, a selling gimmick or serious, but this ad showed up on the Norwegian classifieds site finn.no yesterday. It looks like just a regular guitar for sale until you read the title:

“Epiphone Goth Explorer w/gig bag for sale because it’s posessed”

And it continues:

“Since yesterday, 6/6 at around 6 AM, there have been some evil tones coming from the guitar. The E-string is constantly chanting something that may sound like ‘Ave Satani’.

I therefore do not dare to keep the guitar, and I’m hoping someone who is more acquainted with this culture will give it a more suitable home.”

The seller doesn’t name a price, but we can assume it would go for slightly less than your soul.

Norway’s Favourite Flavour is…

…not fårikål, not strawberries and not cardamon, but TACO!!! Unofficially, of course, but taco is the first spice mix that has infiltrated most ‘quick’ foods in Norway. You can get taco flavoured pizza, quiche, burgers, boller, pølse, dip, soup, salad, baguettes and potato chips, just to name a few. What’s worse is that quite often not one, but every ‘quick food brand’, such as potato chips, has their own ‘special taco’ flavoured line. This agonisingly limits selection at food stores because the shelves are filled with the monopolized flavour. There is only one reason for this invasion – kids!  I know this because there was a Norwegian kids show, Amigo, that profiled their contestants and you know what everyone wrote down as their favourite food? Tacos!!  Whenever we have babysitters, Taco is always their first choice for dinner (the kids get to make their own Tacos and therefore bypass the tomato and lettuce.)

It is no wonder that taco flavour has become so popular here as Norwegians have are very particular palate – salt, salt and more salt!

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