So, the other day I got this question on Instagram: “Are electric cars really a thing in Norway? I mean... it's a huge country. Do they hide a large battery somewhere in the mountains?” LOL! Well, I don’t know about the battery, though, how awesome would that be?! To be honest with you, I get this question all the time working as a tour guide. Apparently, whenever international media report about Norway nowadays, it’s either for tourism purposes or to talk about electric cars. The latter seems to have sparked quite an interest abroad:
It might seem like Stavanger in summertime is full of tourists, while all the locals disappear to either their summer cabin or to Spain in search of vitamin D. However, there's actually loads going on in the city during the summer months and besides Hafrsfjordkaupangen in June, late July is a time when the entire region gathers in Stavanger again after the summer break to celebrate food at Glad Mat Food Festival and this year, also to have a look behind the scenes of the world's sailing vessels at the Tall Ships Races.
This post is long overdue considering the fact that I visited mainland Denmark in 2017 but better late than never. Prior to that, I'd been to Copenhagen several times but you haven't really seen a country until you venture out of its capital, right? So, that's what I did last year. I based myself and my parents for a week in Aarhus and we went on to explore Aalborg, Odense and Ribe from there. Needless to say that I got to know a different side of Denmark on this trip and learnt SO many things about the country that I didn't know before!
Stavanger is one of the oldest cities of Norway and remnants of human settlement in the area date back to the Viking Age. All the more reason to stop obsessing with Pulpit Rock for a moment and have a closer look at the city and its history itself! Often overlooked by tourists coming to visit, Stavanger actually has an abundance of Viking culture to offer - there are old gravestones with runic inscriptions, the former residence of Harald Fairhair at Utstein, and, of course, several monuments paying tribute to the Battle of Hafrsfjord. The biggest and for most people probably also most interesting attraction when it comes to experiencing Viking culture in Stavanger however, has got to be Hafrsfjordkaupangen!
This is my fourth year of living in Norway and you should think that Norway's National Day isn't a big deal for me anymore, except that this year was the first one I got to spend in my new home of Stavanger! Having spent it in cold and rainy (and one year even snowy) Tromsø in previous years, I had high hopes of lovely weather and warm temperatures for the day - which, except for the coastal wind, was a wish come true!
Today I wanted to take the time to not only update you on myself, though, but also fill you in on the Norwegian healthcare system that I've now been forced to get to know a lot better than I ever did before in recent weeks. Whether you're a tourist coming to Norway on holiday or planning to move to the country, in this article I'd like to tell you everything I've learnt about what happens when you get sick in Norway!
Imagine my excitement over getting the chance to visit a reindeer farm in Lapland this winter! Feeding and cuddling baby reindeer in a winter wonderland? That does sound like a day too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, you're lucky because I'm going to recap the entire day for you in this post - and don't worry, there's plenty of cute reindeer footage coming along!*
Long story short, I thought I knew the true meaning of "winter wonderland" from what I've experienced in Tromsø these past few years. Little did I know, though, that there's one place that takes snow to a whole new level: Ruka-Kuusamo in Finnish Lapland! Read on to find out why the area might very well be the most stunning part of Finland - and why the country needs more than just 1 word for snow!
Now, it might be the yummy cuisine of Finland or maybe just all those views and nature, but Finns seem like a very happy people - and I could totally picture myself living in Helsinki!While that's probably never going to happen as my brain doesn't seem willing to learn a 7th language - at least if the language in question is Finnish - I did have the pleasure to get a taste for what life as a Finn is like in Ruka-Kuusamo!
You maybe know the city of Stavanger as the oil capital of Norway. Or maybe as the city closest to Preikestolen. But did you know that Stavanger also is Norway's most colourful city and a real hotspot for street art? This gem at the west coast has so much more to offer than what you might expect and I'm so glad to be able to call it my home.In this article, I'll take you on a visual tour around the street art in town and explain why a street art walk is the best way to really get to know Stavanger!
Have you ever heard of Lahti? This town of 100.000 inhabitants, just a 1.5h drive from Helsinki, is known to many as a centre of winter sports in Finland. Not to me though. I'd never even heard of Lahti before visiting Finland for the first time - and was pleasantly surprised to find a town in stunning surroundings that has so much more to offer than just sports! Lahti is, in fact, a culinary hotspot of Finland and in this post, I'm giving you 8 reasons to visit the Lahti region that all involve delicious Finnish cuisine. I hope you're not reading this on an empty stomach!*
Berlin is an odd mix of German and Soviet influences, with some neighbourhoods being more Turkish or Arabic. Did you know, however, that you can also enjoy the Scandi feeling in Berlin? After all, the city is located just a quick flight from Stockholm, Oslo and co.!So when visiting Berlin this past December, I made it my mission to find more Scandi influences in the city and found 8 hangouts you will definitely enjoy if you're into Scandinavia and the Nordics!
When I moved to Stavanger, I was almost certain that from now on, I'd only ever see snow when visiting Simon's family for the Easter holidays. Literally, everyone told us that "it only ever rains in Stavanger" and asked if we wouldn't miss the snow in Tromsø. Of course, we would, but as it turns out - there was no need to worry!
Before heading to my parents' house in Germany, Simon and I decided to spend a few days in Berlin to check out the Christmas markets there and do a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping.While Berlin has, of course, loads of Christmas markets to choose from, we visited the Nordic-themed Lucia Market and it was hands-down the best market we've been to during this entire Vlogmas!
Last week, we made our way to the tiny town of Egersund, which is situated an hour south of Stavanger. During the Christmas season, the town centre transforms into one big Christmas market and that’s something we just couldn’t miss!We were incredibly lucky with the weather as we got to experience the very first snowfall of the season at the Christmas market, which made the whole visit even more magical
But “Advent” is also the name for the period leading up to Christmas, and in Norway there are some special customs to be followed during these weeks. For instance, it’s common to light a candle on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and then light another candle each Sunday until the big day. These candles are often left in windowsills, so they can shine out at passers-by. Driving through a town or village at night, and seeing these little lights winking at you from every house, is a truly magical experience.
Last week, we explored locally and checked out what our new home of Stavanger has to offer in terms of Christmas. Turns out, a lot! From a Christmas market of the unusual sort, to a stunning gingerbread village at the Oil Museum, to absolutely gorgeous fairy lights all over the city!Stavanger is such a lovely town and you should definitely consider visiting in winter to skip (most of) the crowds and experience the Christmas magic :)
Apart from the cosy wooden market huts, where you can buy chocolate, cured ham, smoked salmon and Christmas decorations, there is a farmer’s market with local fresh produce, delicious cheese, jam and, my personal favourite, herbed butter. There are also concerts, theatrical plays, quizzes, and mysteries. Lastly, you’ll find the most unique cafe in a huge Sami tent, a lavvo tent, where you’ll be able to enjoy special Christmas beer or hot chocolate. It’s magic!
Haugesund is a fishing town situated halfway between Bergen and Stavanger, in Karmøy municipality of Rogaland county of Norway. It's just 2-hour drive from here, making it the perfect place for a day trip! The town itself is super charming. Very similar to Stavanger when it comes to architecture, weather and views, but without all the crowds. See it for yourself in my Vlogmas video!