• TEACHING in NORWAY!


Slick Slicer

posted Nov 1, 2016, 11:08 AM by Sam Johnson   [ updated Nov 1, 2016, 11:11 AM ]

Thursday, 27 Oct. 2016
   Oh, my!
   The Norwegian bread slicer is the slickest thing I've seen since ... sliced bread!
   Having purchased and eaten literally DOZENS of loaves of wonderful wheat, whole wheat, rye, and other types of hearty Norwegian bread, I must tell you that these are almost ALWAYS sold as whole loaves.
   At first I hauled these lovely loaves home and used a traditional bread knife to slice up what I needed at each meal. But my problem was consistency...sometimes the slices were paper-thin, missing parts of the crust, other times the slices were more like thick chunks ripped off the loaf!
   BUT THEN, I discovered the NORWEGIAN BREAD SLICER located in EVERY grocery store in Norway!
   What a time saver!
   Here's how it works: (click the video link to be absolutely amazed at this slick slicer!).

Best Bread in Norway

posted Nov 1, 2016, 10:50 AM by Sam Johnson   [ updated Nov 1, 2016, 10:58 AM ]

Wednesday, 26 Oct. 2016

   I LOVE Norwegian bread!
   Have I mentioned that before?
   Ever since I first tasted it in 1968 on my premier trip "til gamle Norge," I have been on a search to find a comparable loaf in the U.S.....and have failed. There is simply nothing like Norwegian bread in the U.S.! 
   But here in Norway, my search has been to find the very same tasty bread I enjoyed those many years ago...and it has NOT been easy!
   In fact, it has been problematic since I couldn't remember the name of that special bread ... and there are SO MANY varieties of bread commonly carried in the grocery stores!
   I have been treating my taste buds to 
Grovbrød, Speltbrød, Fjellbrød, Skogbrød, Landbrød, Birkebeinerbrød, Åkehbrød and 
Kneippbrød along with many other hearty wheat and rye breads of Norway. 
   But after almost 3 months living here and sampling loaf after loaf of delicious bread, I think I have finally found that tasty toast I have long been looking for!
   And it's the ubiquitous 
Kneippbrød!  
   Actually, that's not surprising as this is the most popular bread in Norway, and the one most commonly baked and sold in stores throughout Norway, Scandinavia, and indeed Europe!
   In fact, according to the international agency FEDIMA that tracks bread consumption, more th
an 60 million fresh loaves of Kneippbrød are sold every year in Norway, helping to make this country the largest consumer of bread in Europe!
   It's an interesting story Kneippbrød, named after the 19th century Bavarian priest and natural doctor, Sabastian Kniepp who is credited with creating the special recipe for it. His bread was brought to Norway in 1895 and officially licensed by Baker Hansen, which helped make it the most popular bread in Norway!
   What makes it so special? I'm not sure, but most tell me it is the special wheat used in the recipe and the way it is ground, which cannot be duplicated in the U.S.
   At any rate, my problem now is how to ship and store a couple ton of it back home!







Home to Hallingdal

posted Oct 15, 2016, 9:50 AM by Sam Johnson   [ updated Oct 16, 2016, 12:03 AM ]

Friday, 14 October 2016
   Mary Ann headed home to Hallingdal today!
   I went with her.
   The bus left Nesparken in Moss at 7:45 AM. There was a one hour stop in Oslo, then on to Nesbyen, Hallingdal where we arrived at 12:20 noon, met by Mary Ann's "tremeninger" (second cousin) Gunvor Marie, smiling from ear to ear!
    We traveled by bus to Nesbyen mainly because the Norwegian train system (NSB) is not operating fully, especially around Oslo and Bergen, because the engineers are on strike. It's an interesting political situation, because it is a "legal strike."
    At any rate, the bus ride from Moss south of Oslo up into the Hallingdal valley is gorgeous this time of year; October orange and yellow speckle the green pine-covered hills!
    We received very warm greetings from Gunvor Marie and husband Ole, and very much enjoyed catching up on family news since our last visit here in May 2013.
    For dinner, Gunvor made for us the traditional autumn meal of "fårikål" (lamb and cabbage stew). This special National meal coincides with the annual round up of sheep from the mountain. The Fårikål is spiced with peppercorns, and it was a delightful treat for us! "Det smakte så godt!"
    After dinner we looked at pictures from a new book about Nesbyen and Hallingdal which included pictures from the family farm here at Rudingen (home of Mary's mother's father Eivind Sørbøen) including a photo of Gunvor Marie's sheep walking back from their pasture in "håvardsøyne."
    Later that evening after a very long and cozy ("koselig") visit, we concluded the evening with typical ("typisk") "kveldsmat" (evening food) of "smørbrød" (open faced sandwiches) with "gravlaks" (cured salmon), various cheeses including "brunost" (brown goat cheese), various jellies including the very special Norwegian "multebær" (cloud berry) and "ripsbær" (red currant berry), cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and such! 
     It was a lovely end to the day, and start of a nice weekend visit!
 
 

Slovakia in Norway

posted Oct 9, 2016, 8:12 AM by Sam Johnson   [ updated Oct 9, 2016, 8:21 AM ]

Sunday, 9 October 2016
   Sipping wine and chatting with the Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to Norway, Mr. František Kašický, was one of the pleasures of our Sunday afternoon in Moss, Norway today.
   The rest of our time was spent enjoying the stunning photographs of Slovakian historical sites and landscapes unveiled at The American College of Norway (ACN) as part of a special project and cultural event.
   ACN and 
Oslo Fotokunstskole (photographic art school) are two Norwegian partners in a unique cultural collaboration between Norway and Slovakia to document and artistically photograph a large-scale historic conservation project in Slovakia. The photography team included 2 Norwegian and 4 Slovak photographers. The result of this project is a multi-media compilation of 120+ photographs and 21 short documentary films about the cultural and historic sites selected. 
  This month, the Slovakian Ambassador and directors of the project have premiered a special exhibit of the project in a few select locations in Norway, including today's unveiling at the American College of Norway in Moss.
   In addition to sipping wine with the Ambassador and project directors, Mary and I enjoyed a "personal tour" 
of the historic sites by one of the Slovakian photographers, who shared with us the "stories behind the sites."
   At the conclusion of the event, Mary and I agreed that Slovakia would be added to our "places to go" list!
   
 
 

   

Moss Canal and Harbor

posted Oct 9, 2016, 3:37 AM by Sam Johnson

Friday, 7 October 2016
    Another fine fall day in Moss ... Mary Ann is almost fully acclimated now ... time for a harbor walk!
    We enjoyed a nice jaunt down to the harbor. The sun was out, the temperature 55 F (12 C), no wind, and plenty of people out and about shopping and strolling along the "Gågate" (walking street) to the town center (Moss Sentrum).
    Adults were having "kaffe og kake" at the street front cafes, children were playing in nearby play areas (it's still fall break here, so students are out of school today), and we soaked it all in.
    As we approached the open harbor area, the breeze off the Oslo fjord was salty, cool, and fresh. Seagulls squawked above us floating, bobbing about on the air current, searching for scraps of food we might have to offer. We had none.
    We walked along the Moss canal ("Mossekanalen") and across the canal bridge ("Kanalbrua") that links the island of Jeløya to the mainland at Moss, stopping to visit the famous Norwegian Lady of the Harbor who stands with vigilant eye and silent prayer for the sailors and others at sea. 
    On the walk back we stopped in a few shops, including the Husflid. These shops were originally part of the Norges Husflidslag, the national folk arts and crafts association that helped preserve and promote the traditional folk arts of Norway and can be found in larger towns. They carry many traditional items including yarn, fabrics & patterns, and specialty items for national costumes (bunads), though we've noticed a trend to including more upscale modern goods as well.
   Mary Ann also spotted a couple other håndverk butikks (handmade craft shops) and a second-hand store that she felt compelled to check out. (Mary has taken over the family role of favorite thrift store patron vacated by dad after his passing!) She bought some yarn at the sewing shop to make a head scarf while here, but didn't find anything at the second-hand shop ... this time.

Mary in Moss

posted Oct 6, 2016, 12:46 PM by Sam Johnson   [ updated Oct 6, 2016, 2:40 PM ]

Thursday, 6 October 2016
   Mary Ann's first full day in Moss, Norway and still a bit jetlag-groggy, she nevertheless enthusiastically joined me in a lovely walk about town!
   I took her first to my office at the American College of Norway, and showed her the classrooms, etc. Next, I took her to the Moss library "bibliotek" (you know I know how to show a girl a good time!), then stopped by the "Kino," a modern cinema complex with 5 theaters cleverly built into three levels of a former factory building in Old Mill Town "Møllebyen" area.
   From there we walked down the "Gågatta" (pedestrian mall), to the city center ("Moss Sentrum"), where we stopped in some of the shops that line the walkway. Then we popped into the AMFI shopping center and checked out some of the "tilbud" (sales) before finding a quaint coffee shop where we sat outside in the fresh fall air (it was 55 F, 12 C), and enjoyed a cup of Norsk "kokekaffe" and piece of freshly baked "eplekake" each.
   Afterwards we walked a bit further to the ethnic grocery stores, then back to our apartment where Mary Ann fixed "pølse med lompe," a curried split pea and vegetable dish, and we shared a "Ringness pils."
  The trip took us about 4 hrs. and 4 miles of easy sauntering. 
  It was a very nice autumn outing!


Created with flickr slideshow.

Oslo to Moss

posted Oct 6, 2016, 2:41 AM by Sam Johnson   [ updated Oct 6, 2016, 2:43 AM ]

Tuesday, 4 October 2016
   Mary Ann arrived at the Oslo Gardermoen airport at 4 PM...but her luggage didn't!
   Turns out the Air France connecting shuttle from Charles De Gaulle airport missed getting her suitcase on the plane, though they managed to get her on despite a very close connection!
   In Oslo, the Air France person was nice, apologetic, and promised to send Mary's bag by taxi to us in Moss, Norway (about 70 km -- 50 miles) once it arrived the next day. (We had doubts).
    But we hopped on the "Flybussekspressen" (airport express bus) back to Moss and enjoyed a comfortable and relaxing 90 min. trip with lots of "catching up" conversation. The day was sunny, about 55 F, so the 15 min. walk from the bus stop to the apartment was nice and easy.
    After sleeping practically the entire next morning away, then making a quick trip to the Rema1000 (a popular grocery store chain just a 15 min. walk away), sure enough...Mary's suitcase showed up later that afternoon, intact!
    The delivery guy said they average 500 pieces of luggage a day that needs to be delivered from missed flight connections, and over a third of those have no outside identification, so they have to go inside to look for information and take photos of the contents for claiming purposes.
    "But you," he said, "we found your name, so it was easy to deliver."
    Turns out, all her things were there just as she packed them, so life was good!
     We decided that "All's well that ends well!"

Fall Cleaning

posted Oct 6, 2016, 1:58 AM by Sam Johnson

Monday, 3 October 2016

   Oh, yes..."Fall Cleaning" ... getting ready for Mary Ann's arrived from Grand Forks, North Dakogta!
   I've been "batch'n it" since mid-August, which means mostly light cleaning when needed!
   Now that Mary Ann is on her way to be here in Moss, Norway during the rest of my teaching stint at the American College of Norway (until mid-November), it's time for some "deep cleaning!"
   If really wasn't much of a chore..mostly sweeping or sucking up the "dust bunnies" from under things..beds, sofas, chairs, eating table, etc....and some "spray & wipe" cleanser for the shower and bathroom fixtures, bowl, sink, etc.
   All-in-all, it went pretty quickly! :)

Moss Harbor Walk

posted Oct 3, 2016, 6:27 AM by Sam Johnson   [ updated Oct 3, 2016, 6:32 AM ]

Sunday, 2 October 2016
   Another gorgeous October day, and another wonderful walkabout!
   Mid-morning was a chilly 41 F (5 C), but I was indoors doing a little "fall cleaning" in preparation for Mary Ann's arrival. (She's flying here to join me in Moss, Norway until my teaching stint at the American College of Norway is over).
   By 2 PM I was finished and ready for some fresh air. It was 58 (14 C) at that point...sunny, no wind, perfect for a harbor walk!
   So, I walked down to the harbor to watch the fishermen on the pier. Then strolled along the "Mossekanalen" (Moss Canal, a 60-ft. wide waterway) and over the Canal Bridge ("Kanalbrua") that links the island of Jeløya on the Oslo Fjord to the mainland at Moss, turning it into a peninsula.
    
Jeløya is said to be the largest island in the Oslo Fjord and is made up of lava rock (though the terrain is lush with forests, fields, and flowers!). Not only that, but "the largest Norwegian moraine from the Ice Age crosses Jeløya, goes to the east of Moss...and continues through Sweden to Finland" !
    I also discovered two other special things about 
Jeløya -- the "Sjøbadet" (swimming beach), and the "Kyststien" (the Coastal Trail). It was a tad bit cold to go swimming, but the trail was nice, and I walked a mile or two along it before circling back.
   Plenty of others were out walking the trail, and some just enjoyed sitting in the sun along the shore near the statue of "The Norwegian Lady,"  watching the ferry from Horton pass back and forth, and perhaps like The Norwegian Lady, "wished all the men of the sea safe return home."

Created with flickr slideshow.

Tykkemyr Parkway

posted Oct 2, 2016, 3:25 AM by Sam Johnson   [ updated Oct 2, 2016, 3:46 AM ]

Saturday, 1 Oct. 2016
 
 Tough to beat this first day of October in Moss, Norway! ...
   ... Sunny, blue sky, no wind, leaves just starting to turn yellow, gold, red!
   The afternoon temp hung around 60 F (15 C)... and lots of folks walking about!
   I walked the wooded trail around Tykkemyr through Nesparken, then down to the harbor to watch the ferry boats shuttling back and forth from Horton, and fishermen trying their luck along the pier.
   Many people were soaking up the sun along the pier, in the park areas, and along the beach, and many were out shopping (a typical Sat. afternoon activity).
   I sat for awhile at the skateboard park "skatepark" watching the boisterous youngsters showboating the bowls and ramps on their skateboards, scooters ("Sparkesykkel"), and freestyle bikes. 
   Not a bad way to start October and Fall Break at ACN!

Created with flickr slideshow.

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