Misc

Wait for it, wait for it…

Spend your Corona quarantine time wisely, and plan for better days. See you at the other end!

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(Image is shamelessly stolen from the Visit Norway homepage.)

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24 December: God jul!

Thank you for following the countdown to Winter Solstice and the Jul Celebration – which in Norway is on the 24 December – on RideNorway.com. No list today – we just want to wish you all a fantastic Season’s Holiday, God Jul, and a Happy New Riding Year. Maybe we’ll see each other on the road somewhere in Norway soon!

Julekort

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23 December: Top 3 fun facts about Norway

RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

23 December: Top 3 fun facts about Norway

We have our oddities and funny facts about this country too. Here are our top 3 fun facts about Norway:

 

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C3PO at Finse. (Image: starwarsplaces.com)

1. The Battle of Hoth was filmed at Finse

In Star Wars – Episode V (film two in old trilogy, for the SW fans out there) – you would see the Rebellion HQ at the snowy planet of Hoth being attacked by the Empire. These epic scenes were filmed only a few hundred meters away from the railway station of Finse, a stop along the Oslo – Bergen train tracks. Legend has it that no taun-taun has been observed in the area since.

 

lærdalstunn visitsognefjorden

They have even provided proper stops inside the tunnel so you can take your photos.

2. The World’s longest road tunnel is in Norway

You know you want to ride it: The 24.5 km/15.2 mi long Laerdal Tunnel not very far from Bergen is the longest road tunnel in the world. It opened in 2000 after five years of construction, and pushed the Swiss Gotthard Tunnel down from the throne. A special ride indeed.

 

troll a

Huuuuuge structure!

3. The largest object ever moved by man was moved in Norway

The Troll A gas production platform is the largest object ever moved by humans. The platform is 472 meters high – of which 369 under water – and weighs about 656 million kgs. This huge structure is two times heavier than Empire State Building in NY City, and the underwater part of Troll is exactly the height of Empire State Building top floor. Troll A is mostly a concrete structure that contains reinforcing steel corresponding to 10 times the entire Eiffel tower.

Read more Norway fun facts here!

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22 December: Top 3 Norwegian Jule-dishes

RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

22 December: Top 3 Norwegian Jule-dishes

We wish each other “God Jul” these days in Norway. Our way of celebrating the Winter Solstice – “Jól” – of course comes with some special dishes that is served mainly during the Season’s Holiday. Here are the Norwegians’ Top 3 favourites:

 

ribbe

Pork ribs. Best served with aquavit.

1. Pork ribs

Most Norwegians prefer pork ribs with accompanying pork sausages, pork meat balls, sauerkraut, potatoes and a healthy helping of aquavit. A winner on any Julebord!

 

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Sheep or lamb ribs. Best served with aquavit.

2. Sheep/lamb ribs

Salted and dried lamb ribs are soaked into water for a day or two. Then pulled out of the water and put in a pot with some birch sticks in the bottom, adding a few inches of water. Let this steam for a few hours, make a rutabaga stew, add some sausages and potatoes, and hey presto! You have just made the Norwegians’ #2 Jule-favourite dish! Oh, and remeber healthy helping of aquavit.

 

Lutefisk

Lutefisk. Best served with aquavit. Some prefer it without lutefisk.

3. Lutefisk

Made from stockfish, which has been process in lye. It requires some skills to prepare lutefisk properly, but once you have tasted the real deal with the accompanying bacon, mushy peas, mustard and a healthy helping of aquavit, you will not go back. It is an acquired taste for sure, and many Norwegians can’t stand it, but it is still up there among the Jule-favourites. (Some Norwegians prefer fresh cod for their Jule-dinner, though.)

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21 December: Top 3 motorcycles from Norway

RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

21 December: Top 3 motorcycles and mopeds from Norway

Triumph. Moto Guzzi. Ducati. BMW. KTM. You know them, and you know where they’re from. Whereas Norway has been pretty good at producing the juice which makes these makes run, we do not have a long and glorious history of motorized vehicles. But we have some very few that we are still somewhat proud of. Here are the Top 3 motorized vehicles from Norway.

 

Tempo Taifun Tempo-online.net

A 1960 Tempo Taifun 175 ccm. (Image: Tempo-online.no)

1. Tempo

With a history traced to 1908, the Øglænd Brothers began serious moped and light motorcycle manufacturing after WW2, even though serial production of some motor-powered bicycle-like contraptions was ongoing since the 1930s. The Tempo became for Norwegians what Vespa was for Italians: A practical, economical and robust means of transport. The Tempo brand comprised mainly bikes from moped size 49 ccm to light 175 ccm motorcycles, and the Øglænd factory kept churning out these mainly Sachs powered vehicles until the last moped was shipped from the factory in 1987. Not totally unexpected, the Norwegian Tempo Club is one of the biggest – if not THE biggest – motorcycle enthusiast club in Norway.

 

Raufossmoped Andreas Mathisen

The Raufoss Moped. (Image: Andreas Mathisen)

2. The Raufoss Moped

The traditional armament producer Raufoss Ammunisjonsfabrikker had in the mid-1950s a brilliant idea: Why not make a sturdy, top quality moped that was also  prepped for winter duty for the Norwegians? As said, as done: In 1958, the Raufoss moped was presented to a huge audience (for Norwegian standards) comprising representatives from all but one of the 19 Norwegian counties, a dozen newspapers, more than a hundred retail sellers and more. The interest was very high in the days, as was the quality of the moped: Prepped for winter duty and a sturdy Zündapp engine was supposed to make it the ideal transporter for Norwegians. Alas, after only four years of production and very meager sales, the Raufoss moped was history in 1962. Its quality never lost appeal, however, and is today highly sought-after by Norwegian moped connoisseurs and enthusiasts.

 

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The 1922 Spanjola. (Image: Unknown)

3. The Spanjola

If you pull the “Spanjola” name up in talks even with Norwegian riders, they will most lightly not have a clue of what you are talking about. No wonder: This monster of a sidecar contraption is a single build, being the brainchild of Norsk Hydro engineer Christian Larsen in 1920-1922. It is three meters long and has plenty room for a family of five and their two dogs. It was powered by a V4 of 2000 ccm, derived from Indian engines, and even had aluminium parts to make it somewhat lighter. The remains of this beauty was discovered some years back and is under restoration. The restorers have pledged to have it on the road in 2021. A unique and fascinating piece of Norweigan motorcycle history!

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19 December: Top 3 Historical Sites of Norway

RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

19 December: Top 3 historical sites of Norway

If you, like us, likes to visit any country’s historical sites to better understand how it came to be, then these three sites should be visited when you are in Norway. You can of course find ancient and viking artefacts in museums, but visiting places where the history is alive is far more interesting. Besides, it gives you ideas on where to ride next. Here are our top 3 historical sites which should be visited while in Norway:

1. The Rock Art of Alta

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The Rock Art of Alta. (Image: Altamuseum.no)

No, it’s not a tribute to the Rolling Stones. This is the largest concentration of rock art made by hunter-gatherers in Northern Europe. These rock carvings and paitings are 7000 to 2000 years old, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. How’s that for art for eternity?

Urnesstavkirke

Urnes Stave Church is the oldest of the 29 remaining in Norway, dating back to ca 1140. (Image: Nina Aldin Thune/Creative Commons)

2. Urnes Stave Church

Never mind your religious beliefs, if any: The stave churches of Norway are worth visiting as they are also a testament to craftmanship. Several hundreds of years ago, Norway had probably hundreds of these churches sitting all over the country. Today, only 29 remain, and Urnes Stave Church is the oldest of them all, dating back to year 1140. Quite impressive, as these churches are made from wood.

 

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In to big guns? These will still your cravings. (Image: RideNorway.com)

3. Austrått Fort

From newer history, but nevertheless a very cool place to visit if you’re into World War 2 stuff. The Austrått Fort’s claim to fame is its enormous triple gun tower coming from the Nazi-German warship Gneisenau, the sister ship to Scharnhorst. Both had a role in the Nazi-German invasion of Norway 9 April 1940. The Gneisenau sustained heavy damages in a British air raid in 1942 and was subesquently decommissioned. However, one of its gigantic triple gun turrets were shipped off to occupied Norway and to Austrått Fort. It is still sitting there, and you can go have a look in its 5 story halls in the mountain. Scarily big!

Other tips for historical sites in Norway? Let us know in the comments below!

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17 December: Top 5 hikes in Norway

RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

16 December: Top 5 hikes in Norway

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The Pulpit Rock. Or “Preikestolen” as it is known in Norwegian. Wear proper gear if going on a hike while in Norway! (Image: ridenorway.com)

Of course you are first and foremost a rider. But some of you still like to take a day or two off the bike and go for a hike. Rarely have you been in a country where the hiking routes are so available and enjoyable. So pack your hiking gear (proper footwear and clothes is a must!) and follow these tips from fjordnorway.com, which ridenorway.com too can recommend.

 

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16 December: Top 3 Souvenirs to bring from Norway

RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

16 December: Top 3 souvenirs to bring from Norway

As the smart rider you are, you do not fall for the touristy souvenir stuff that is for sale everywhere. You do not want cheesy troll figures (which are made anywhere but in Norway), nor do you want a lusekofte sweater. You want something more savoury or practical to remember Norway by. Here are our top 3 tips.

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The Løiten Linie aquavit has crossed the Equator in barrels to become this golden gem. (Image: RideNorway.com)

1) Aquavit

Scotland has its whisky, France its cognac – and Norway has its aquavit. It is our national spirit in a bottle. Some of the brands have been shipped round the Equator in barrels. Some are clear, others are golden in colour. Our favourites are Gilde Non Plus Ultra, Løitens Linie (Equator-crossed) and Løiten Tur Aquavit (with a touch of liquorice), but all are good. Gives you loads of bragging rights when back home, and is said to help grow some hair on your chest.

 

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Brown cheese. Sweet and very Norwegian. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

2) Brown cheese

You’ll either hate it or love it, but this sweet brown cheese is a national gem. It is perfect accompanied by bread or crackers to go with your coffee. It has a long standing tradition, and is made from either goat or cow milk. It can be kept for a long time in your fridge, and whenever you feel like going on a trip down memory lane, you can have a slice and savour it while looking at your pics from your Norway trip.

 

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Get a proper cheese slicer while in Norway. It is a Norwegian invention, and will help you slice your cheese in an egalitarian manner. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

3) Cheese slicer

This typical design cheese slicer is a Norwegian invention. It epitomizes the Norwegian egalitarian thinking, as the cheese will be sliced evenly thick – or thin – whether you are rich or not-so-rich. It was patented by a Norwegian carpenter back in 1925, and you should have one. Whenever you slice your cheese with this, you’ll have fond memories of your ride in Norway.

Other souvenir tips? Let us know in the comments below!

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15 December: Top 3 shoestring tips for Norway

RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

15 December: Top 3 shoestring tips for Norway

Some may be put off visiting Norway due to its notoriety for being expensive. While it is true that some things are particularly expensive, it is no problem to tour this country on a shoestring. Here are the Top 3 tips on how to save a buck while riding in Norway:

Tent

To find a nice spot and pitch your tent somewhere in the uncultivated land adds to the experience of Norway. (Image: RideNorway.com)

1. Camp for free

Accomodation may be expensive in Norway if you opt for hotels or other hard-roofed alternatives. But Norway has a big money-saving legislation up its sleeve, namely the Freedom to Roam Act. This act entitles you to put up your tent and stay a couple of nights practically anywhere in the nature. So bring your camping gear, and spend the nights in the nature you came to visit anyway.

 

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Bring your stove and prepare your own food. (Image: RideNorway.com)

2. Prepare you own food

Shop necessary foodstuff in the supermarkets, and prepare the food yourself. Bringing a camp kitchen is a huge money saver, as food from cafes or restaurants can be pretty expensive. Remember to bring your fishing rod, as sea fishing is for free (and you have more than 100.000 kms of coastline to fish from) and the catch and quality is top stuff.

 

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All service station brands have a coffee/tea deal. Get one, if you are a coffee/tea drinker. (Image: BestStasjon.no)

3. Get into a loyalty program at service stations

Petrol will most lightly be your highest cost driver while in Norway. It is a long country, but fortunately service stations are plentiful, even in the more rural parts of Norway. All the major service station brands – Shell, Circle K, Esso, YX etc – offers loyalty programs which saves you a buck or two for each tank you fill. They also provide “hot drink deals”, where you buy a cup for 20-30 euro, but you can then fill it for free at any of their service stations for a year. Even if you do not plan to stay a year, you’ll save some money on this deal if you love your coffee or tea. A nice treat for riders.

Here are more shoestring tips for traveling Norway. If you have others, let us know in the comments below!

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14 December: Top 15 cities to visit in Norway

RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

14 December: Top 15 cities to visit in Norway

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Ålesund. One of the – or perhaps THE – prettiest town in Norway. (Image: RideNorway.com)

It may be a bit over-ambitious to call our cities for “cities”. They are rather small compared to those in the continental Europe. Maybe Oslo falls within the city framework – other than that, we mostly have towns. Anyway: Here is a list of the 15 best cities – or towns – to visit in Norway. It’s compiled by the travel web site Touropia, but it’s actually quite good, and hence recommended by RideNorway. Would probably put Ålesund on top – its architecture is simply astonishing! – and we’re not too sure about a few of the contenders at the lower end of the scale, but anyway: Here it is, the Top 15 Cities to visit in Norway.

Disagree? Let us know in the comments below!

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