Thursday, 21 May 2015

17th May in Kristiansand

Every major city in Norway has Norwegian constitution day celebrations. This takes place on the 17th of May and luckily the sun was shining this year. 
There are many different places to see the celebrations in Kristiansand but most go into the city. I live out near the Kristiansand airport and that is where my children take part in the march.
There are tractors, old military cars, bands, kids parade and dancing. Traffic is blocked off by the police on motorcycles, so please try and avoid this area next year if you plan on going in that direction.
At approximately 11:30am the parade started and the kids started to sing their songs. There is actually a competition between all of the participants. 
The class that sings the best gets a prize at the end, so there were some over-enthuisiasted singing :)
The parade ended at the airport military barracks where there were barbeques and everyone had a chance to relax and socialise.

Afterwards, I took a little trip into the city with one of my sons to see the parade. 
We got there at about 5:30pm which was a little late. We could not get near the parade because there were so many people.
So in the meantime, I walked around and got some pictures of the locals.
Seen in Kongens gate.
Seen in Markens gate
Seen in Dronningens gate
Seen outside the church.

See you at the 17th of May celebrations next year in 2016!!!
Adam Read

Monday, 18 May 2015

Trip to Ravnedalen Kristiansand

Ravnedalen is a park near the city centre of Kristiansand in Southern Norway.

During the summer months, it is a very popular destination for locals to have a meal or listen to some music.

If you stop a local in the street and ask " where is a good place to get a hamburger" the answer will usually be Cafe Generalen in Ravnedalen. 

Of course there are other restaurants in Kristiansand where you can get a good burger, but on a nice sunny day -Ravnedalen is the place to go.

My wife and I decided to take the kids there on a Sunday to try this famous burger. Well actually, there are a few different varieties of this burger, but I decided to go for the "Cafe Generalen burger" - as it is written on the menu.
It did not disappoint.

One thing to keep in mind is that there can be long queues and a long waiting time if there are many people, so a good idea is to get a table, order your food and go for a walk. They can even send you a sms when your food is ready.

The sun was shining and  the birds and swans were out in full force.
There is a little track where you can see the city from the top.
One of my boys decided to see how cold the water was - and in early May, it is very cold!
There was a couple sitting by the water so I went over and did a little Humans of Kristiansand interview with them.
Lets not forget the flowers. My son Jet decided to pick some for his mother.
As you might have guesses, it is also a very romantic spot. I spoke to a couple that were on their first date and saw some trees have " I love" words written on them.

Adam Read Visit Sørlandet

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Kristiansand Domkirke church

The Kristiansand Cathedral has existed since the 1800's and the church as it is today, is the fourth version. The first version was a small wooden local church, second was a Cathedral in wood and third was a stone cathedral which burned down in 1880. This was eventually replaced with the current version.
The top of the spire of the church from the ground up is 70 metres high which is the same length of the church overall. 
The church gardens have flowers that are regularly attended to from roughly April until October.
The church was designed by German architect, Henrik Thrap-Meyer who also designed the Lillesand and Grimstad churches as well as Victoria terrasse in Oslo.

During World War 2, the top spire was blown up by a stray cannon round and it is rumoured that the original one is located in someone’s backyard here in Kristiansand.
The church is very solidly built, all of the windows frames and intact and nothing has bent or swayed over the years. The windows are actually due to be replaced and the new ones are ready to be put in. Today, the church has 230 steps from the bottom to the top of the spire. 
The church is actually built on sand, wet sand. So as long as the water table stays at it is, the church will have no problems. If it rises, then there will be water in the basement, but if it dries, then cracks and movement will start to appear. However, the same goes for most of Kristiansand, so the church is not alone.
The bells are all set on electric timers and the bells can be rung manually. There are 36 bells all of which are connected electronically to a computer and an organ.
I always felt intrigued by the size of the church, so one day I ventured in there and asked if I could take some pictures. I met the organ player Andrew Wilder who offered to take me to the top spire to overlook the city. Of course I could not refuse such an invitation.

As we walked up the 230 steps to the top, I could not help but wonder what it was like back in the 1800s. My guess, is that it was no different. The wood has been kept in perfect condition because it is regularly treated with copper sulphate to prevent rotting and fungus. You can smell it as you wander up the steps.

I am from Britain, but have lived in Norway since 1984. I am an organ player which brought me and my wife and two kids to Norway looking for an organ playing job. I have lived in Arendal and Tønsberg and eventually came to Kristiansand in 1996. I am a full time employed organ player and there is also another part time organ player here at the church.
A little less than two years ago, we replaced the old organ that was here. It was awful to play and actually put me in hospital a few times. I had two operations on each wrist and two artificial discs in my neck from having pounded this old beast of an organ which did not really give any musical results. We had no choice though, we had to use it.
I did not know it was the organ doing damage to my body until my physiotherapist told me I need to stop playing the organ because it was slowly killing me!

The local government then closed off the organ which was eventually replaced by a 12 million kroner organ which is a pleasure to play.
We have special half hour promenade concert for the visitors from the cruise ships.

Whenever there is a British ship that docks in Kristiansand, I ask them if they would like to sing a psalm, something like “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”. Some of the ships even have a choir on board who rehearse a song before they arrive here at the church.
We get visitors from all over the world – Spanish, Italians, French, Germans, Americans, Australians, it is wonderful to meet so many people from different cultures.

The Kristiansand church is open to the public from Monday to Friday from 1100 to 1400. 
Part of the interview was posted on the Humans of Kristiansand website. 

Adam Read
Visit Sørlandet

Monday, 20 April 2015

Family holiday at Farsund Resort

Hildegunn Teinum from Visit Southern Norway took a trip to Farsund with her family in the summer month of June. They were going to the American Festival in Vanse and stayed overnight at Farsund Resort.

Children enjoying themselves at the pier at Farsund Resort. Photo: Morten Teinum
They  stayed in one of the largest houses, with space for eight people. The house has enough space for two families. There are four bedrooms and two of them have a shared balcony. There is a large private bathroom for each bedroom, spacious beds and bright and airy apartments. The rooms have all equipment needed for cooking, and plenty of crockery, so you do not have to wash up after every meal. If you do not want to cook on your holiday, breakfast can be ordered from the restaurant the day before. Dinners can also be purchased at the restaurant or you can take a trip to the nearby towns of Lyngdal or Farsund.

Rent a boat and go fishing. Photo: Morten Teinum
Farsund Resort is a fairly new facility that is located at in Bjørnevåg between Lyngdal and Farsund. Visitors can rent a boat for a trip in archipelago or perhaps a little fishing? Close by you will find two small beaches and there are many delightful walks nearby. There is also a small hiking trail that runs right around the resort that is also suitable for children. 

Sound tempting? Here you can book your holiday at Farsund Resort.

The boats and dock at Farsund Resort. Photo Morten Teinum

The houses to rent at Farsund Resort. Photo: Morten Teinum

Enjoy a meal or drink outside Photo Morten Teinum

Qaint fishing hut at the Farsund Resort Photo Hildegunn Teinum

Easter at the Lista Lighthouse

Are you looking for fresh sea breezes, easter mood and puzzles?
Visit Lista lighthouse at Easter. Here there are activities for the family every day of the holidays.
Fun for the whole family at Lista lighthouse.
Photo: Hanne Feyling © Visit Southern Norway
Who will find the most eggs at Lista lighthouse?
Photo: Ann-Helen Erichsen
From Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday 1st following happens:

1. Eggjakt kl. 12-13
The Easter Bunny has hidden mass egg on site, and every day it becomes eggjakt where those who find most wins an Easter egg.

2. Draw Activity for all children, all day
Signs lighthouse, easter bunny, nature, or something you like to do at Easter. All drawings will be hung up in the info center, and all who participate receive prizes.

3. Nature Trail
Lista Bird Observatory stock trail for everyone on fyrområdet. Sharpen your brain cells and join. Answer sheets are available in the Info Center.

4. Easter Bunny comes
Rumors say that the Easter Bunny comes on Good Friday and Easter Monday 1st.

Coffee and overlaps servers in the Info Center.
Photo: Hanne Feyling © Visit Southern Norway
The information centre is open from 11:00 to 17:00 and serves coffee, soda and juices. The Lista lighthouse  gallery is also open. Else Marie Jakobsen images are exhibited.

Photo: Elisabeth © Visit Southern Norway

Monday, 30 March 2015

Snartemo Sword Hægebostad

Hægebostad is an area just outside of Lyngdal in Southern Norway. Its history dates back well before the Viking times where ancient rituals were practised around groups of large stones at Tingvatn. The area is an archaeologist’s dream, where ancient items have been found over the years.

Hægebostad Photo: Lyngdal Tourist Office

Snartemo Sword                                                                     
One such item is the ancient Snartemo sword.  The sword was found on a farm in 1933 by Richard and Olav Kjellingland when they were about to prepare the land for farming.  A tomb was located under a large stone slab dating back to the early 500's. Inside the slab was a sword that was to be called the “Ancient Snartemo sword.” There were also other items in the tomb including metals, a weapon set, rare fabrics and bear claws.

Large sword monument at Snartemo. Photo Adam Read
This amazing discovery resulted in a press and media frenzy across the world and has been hailed as the "The loveliest migration time grave find to this day was dug up on Norwegian soil."

Because the sword had been buried in this tomb for thousands of years, it had decayed over time and was in three pieces. The handle of the sword was adorned with gold ornaments of human figures and fantasy creatures and the buckle was decorated with animal heads. 
The sword was adorned with geometric patterns and swastikas.

German interest
Interest in Nordic archeology was strong in Germany pre-war and its scientists were among the leaders in the field. This resulted in a close relationship between the German and Norwegian archaeologists.

In fact, information about the sword and its discovery was translated into German in 1935 and two years later, a Norwegian archaeologist named Bjørn Houge traveled to Germany for a lecture on the sword.

In 1936 the International Congress of prehistoric and historical research was held in Oslo. There was a special exhibition with Snartemo discovery as the main attraction. Several leading German archaeologists attended and among them was Herbert Jankuhn, who came to play a central role in the drama a few years would unfold in Norway. He was Himmler’s right hand man for culture and archaeology. In this role he hunted numerous artefacts from German occupied countries including of course, the Snartemo Sword.

Then war broke out between Germany and most of Europe and Norway was occupied from 1940 to 1945.

Herbert Jankuhn at a project. Photo: Archive of Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden
Most of us know the Indiana Jones movies where the main character tried to stop the Germans getting their hands on ancient artefacts, well there was a similar story within Norway.
The Vikings were of course seen as being successful warriors and so the Germans were fascinated or even desperate to get their hands on anything found from those times. 

Some Norwegian archaeologists foresaw a problem with this before the German invasion of Norway in 1940 and so wanted to protect these precious artefacts. As a result, the sword was hidden in a vault at the Bank of Fagernes which is a little remote town in the middle of Norway. There were very few who knew of its location.  Two replicas were also made by the Germans from photos, drawings and writings. One of these was presented to a Norwegian Nazi sympathiser - Vidkun Quisling, during a ceremony in 1943. The occupiers were unable to find the original, so it was a bitter sweet smile because he knew it was a copy and that they could not find the original.

Vidkun Quisling with Hitler photo: Riksarkivet
One year after the end of the German occupation during World War 2, the sword was returned to the Museum of Cultural History where the sword still is to this day.

Later in the 1990’s a company in Lyngdal was given permission to make four copies of the sword. One was given to the Tingvatn fornminnepark og besokssenter, one was given to the King of Norway as a gift when he visited the region, one was also given to the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo and the other is believed to be kept by the maker.

Copy of sword at Tingvatn. Photo Adam Read

Copy of sword knitted emblem. Photo Tingvatn fornminnepark og besokssenter
Unfortunately nothing is known of the man that owned the sword, but he was believed to be a man of importance, as the sword and other items that was found with the sword were very valuable in the 500’s.

The gold and different metals used on the sword are said to have come from various parts of Europe but it is believed that it may have been made locally in the Hægebostad area.

Tingvatn fornminnepark og besokssenter
Visitors can learn about the sword's history at the "Tingvatn fornminnepark og besokssenter" in Hægebostad and see a full sized replica. There is a very detailed article about the sword and Germany's obsession with finding it can also be found at the museum.

Explore history at the Tingvatn fornminnepark og besøkssenter. Photo: Adam Read
Tingvatn is approximately a one hour drive from Kristiansand. There are direct flights to Kristiansand from Amsterdam and Copenhagen as well as domestic connections within Norway.

Tingvatn fornminnepark og besokssenter
Address: Tingvatn, 4595 Tingvatn
Amenities: General facilities: parking, toilet
(Sword is located at 4590 Snartemo).

The Red symbol is where Tingvatn is located.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Perfect photograph opportunities in Farsund and Lista

Farsund is a coastal town in Southern Norway that is a must see when touring the coastline. The old wooden white houses, the fantastic harbour and events throughout the year are a good reason to visit.
There was quite a lot of wind moving the boats up and down so not easy to get a still shot of them!
I went there for several meetings and afterwards dropped by the Lista beaches to catch the sunset.

The colours were amazing.

Sunset to the left and Lista Lighthouse to the right.
The Lista lighthouse was the perfect setting for some pictures.

Very tempting to go for a surf at Lista!
Just around the corner is Nordberg Fort which was built by the Germans in World War 2.

To cap off a great trip, I stayed at the Rederiet Hotel in the centre of Farsund. There was quite a lot of wind, but the lights and clear skies were perfect for pictures.
Rederiet Hotel
The Rederiet Hotel has 17 rooms all with wireless internet access. Breakfast is included in a stay and most rooms have a view of the harbour.
The manager of the Rederiet Hotel, Theresa Malmo, and I had a long chat and did a little Humans of Kristiansand interview.
Adam Read
Visit Sørlandet