Aug 30, 2013

A day or two in Stavanger

After three months of working in Kristiansand I had my heart set on spending a few days in Bergen but before getting to Bergen I was rewarded with a full day in Stavanger. A blend of beaches, culture, and mountains Stavanger is often associated with the title "oil city" because offshore oil was discovered here back in 1969. The fourth largest city in Norway, Stavanger attracts visitors from around the globe.

A guided walk or hop on, hop off bus tour is a good way to tour Stavanger. If an escorted tour doesn't appeal to you there are many attractions to visit. Start with the Norwegian Petroleum Museum and than check out "Old Stavanger" a mix of of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century. The Mosvangen Park is a good spot to relax and enjoy the greenery. Other popular attractions are the Canning Museum. Stavanger Maritime Museum, Stavanger Cathedral, Norwegian Emigration Centre and the Iron Age Farm. An interesting side excursion is the Utstein Monastery. This monastery was once the royal estate of Norway's first king; King Harold Fairhair.

Whether you're seeking extravagant accommodations and dining options or something more middle of the road or budget, Stavanger offers it all. 

High End Hotels:

Rica Park Hotel                                        Victoria Hotel
Prestagardsbakken 1                                   Skansegaten 1

Moderate Priced Hotels:

Thon Hotel Maritim                                  Myhregaarden Hotel
Kongsgaten 32                                             Nygaten 23
Cheap Hotels:

Skansen Hotel                                             Comfort Hotel
Skansegaten 7                                              Klubbgaten 3

Worth the Splurge Restaurant:

Straen Fisherestaurant
is regarded as one of the best seafood restaurants in Norway!

Moderate Priced Restaurant:

Gaffel & Karaffel
specializes in Norwegian specialities with a Continental flair.


Cafe Sting
serves a variety of international dishes at affordable prices.

                                                     Norwegians love their seafood dishes                                                      

Aug 27, 2013

Three Months in NORWAY

Kristiansand, NORWAY

When I arrived in Norway at the beginning of June to start my summer job at a vacation farm in Kristiansand I had no idea what was in store for me. The Norwegian farmer who owned the farm put me up in a small house that he once lived in with his wife and son. I couldn't believe that I was given a whole house to myself but within a week I felt that I earned the perk of living in that cozy Norwegian house. Each morning I was up by 7:00 am to have breakfast and start my workday. I worked seven days a week with no days off but  I didn't mind, after all I was in beautiful NORWAY surrounded by the sea. People from around NORWAY came to the farm on a mini vacation. There were cabins to rent on the premises and a lake nearby for boating and swimming. I had plenty of chickens, cows, goats, and pigs to take care of in addition to all the other tasks that keep a farm running. Often I would take guests on tours of the farm and help host the picnics that we held each week. The farm had acres and acres of land but it was the farmers grand palace sitting on top of a hill glistening from all angles that caught the eye of everyone. 

I worked with a brother and sister from Poland on the farm. We worked hard and got along very well. Once in a while the farmer took us on a boat ride on his luxury boat and sometimes we were invited to his grand palace for a Norwegian dinner. This wealthy farmer expected us to work a lot. I think he was pleased with us workers for the most part. It was easy to stay thin that summer because all that physical work kept the calories burning. 

June, July, and August (Three Months in Norway) to explore a little bit of this and that. Yes! I did work seven days a week but there was always an hour or two each day to get away from the workload and explore Kristiansand. To sum it up this region of Norway with its rolling hills, open space and seacoast was very easy to embrace. 

Biking around the region is one of the best thrills because the scenery is stunning and there's always someplace to stop like the local market for some shrimp, or a swim in the sea. With so much water around boating is a popular attraction so whether you prefer a relaxing ride on a motor boat or a more intense exercise on a canoe, kayak, or paddle board you can count on lots of water, water, everywhere. Fishing is popular with Norwegians and when the fishing boats come to the harbor spectators often marvel at the catch of the day. Norwegians are big fans of seafood; fish cakes, mackeral, shrimp, and smoked salmon are on sale everywhere. Filet of moose, cheese, chocolate, and fresh fruits are other Norwegian favorites.

Ravnedalen is a lovely a park to explore. One of the most popular beaches in Kristiansand is Hamresanden. It's one of the best beaches in all of Norway. For culture the Vest-Agder is an interesting museum. Other attractions are the waterfall in nearby Boen, an amusement park and zoo called Dyrepark and the Agder Theater. Kristiansand also boasts some pretty lighthouses. The Kristiansand region is known for its entertaining festivals, pretty harbors, rocky coast, white wooden houses and outdoor activities. No matter where you choose to spend your time, Kristiansand is bound to please. You'll also be pleased with this cake recipe!

Mor Monsen Cake is a traditional cake that's been around for decades. I usually made this tasty cake for the farm picnics. It's a crowd pleaser at anytime of year.


8 oz of pure Norwegian unsalted butter, 8 oz of sugar, 1 cup chopped blanched almonds, 5 eggs, 1 cup chopped currants, 8 oz unbleached white flour.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. Add the flour gradually. Pour the mixture into a greased large shallow baking pan and smooth out the mixture with a spatula. Sprinkle almonds and currants on top of the mixture. Bake for about 30-40 minutes at 300 degrees. When cake is lukewarm cut it into squares. This tasty cake can be served on plates on napkins.  Yummy!

After my three month working stint on the Kristiansand farm I spent a week exploring Stavanger, Bergen, and Oslo. Stay tune for my upcoming post "Stavanger to Oslo Norway in a Week"

AUSTRIA; Ever-So-Wunderbar

                                                                            Everyone has a favorite place on this earth, for ...