Sunday, 29 June 2014

Re-living an experience at Paulsens Hotel in Lyngdal

Adam from Visit Sørlandet visited Paulsens Hotel in Lyngdal and met a man who had stayed at the Hotel 40 years prior.

I had just spent the day at the American festival in Vane Farsund and booked a room at Paulsen's Hotel in Lyngdal because I had heard it is like taking a step back in time. An old English lord used to stay there in the 1800s and not much has changed since. Same wallpaper, signs and that nostalgic feeling that makes you smile.

After chatting to the owners Bent and Jimmi I met a man by the name of Kjell Skimmerland. It ends up that he was at the Hotel with his daughters, partner and friends.

Kjell: This is an amazing day. It is my 80th birthday and my partner and family organised a little surprise party here for me. You know I stayed overnight here over 40 years ago. 

I used to work as a salesman for a company that sold Norwegian seeds to farmers. I would travel over the whole country selling them and at the time, I was not supposed to stay in Lyngdal but something happened.

I was driving a car with another guy along the road when a large boulder came flying down the cliff next to the road and landed directly in front of us. I did what I could to try and avoid hitting it, but it was useless. We crashed into it and damaged the front of the car.

Luckily there was another car there with some other people we knew, so they gave us a lift into Lyngdal. We had no choice but to find a hotel, so we stayed at Paulsens.

I was very surprised when I walked into the hotel because it was like a hotel would have looked like in the 1800s. Even the staff, the Paulsen sisters, were dressed up in old clothing - it was a real treat. There were very friendly and a little shy.

After a couple of days, I got the car back from the workshop, so I could drive back to work again. 

I never forgot about the Hotel so when I found out we were staying here tonight, I was thrilled. Walking into the room again, I could remember the smell and experience from the last visit even though it was 40 years ago. The place looks exactly the same. Same tables, chairs, wallpaper but the owners have changed. Bent and Jimmi are very nice and friendly. We feel very welcome here.

(There was very old classic jazz playing in the background). I even remember the music that was playing last time I was here. It was Sinatra.

You know 40 years ago, Lyngdal was not even a town. Just a few stores and this Hotel, so the area looks completely different. The road that goes by the city centre of Lyngdal was the only road back then.

You can find more information about Paulsens Hotel in Lyngdal here.

Adam @ Visit Southern Norway Dra på ferie til Lyngdal

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Southern Norway and Kristiansand on a budget

Here are some tips when you are traveling on a budget in Kristiansand and Southern Norway.

Kristiansand is the gateway to Norway when arriving by car from the European continent. Two ferry companies, Color Line and Fjord Line operates the ferries between Denmark and Norway.

If you come with a bike or by foot, train connections to Hirtshals, Denmark are easy when it stops only a short walk from the ferry terminal.

Most of the tips also apply for traveling in the rest of Norway.

Accommodation - on a budget

If you want to save money, stay in a tent or in your caravan. In Norway everyone has the unrestricted right of free access in the countryside - including the national parks. This opens up for great experiences!

It is not expensive to stay at camping and caravan sites. See a list over the best campsites in Southern Norway.

If you are a family, or two families traveling together, you could rent a cabin.

You will also find cheap B&B’s and hostels. Use or similar sites to find low prices (cheapest if you book some time in advance).

You should also check out lighthouse vacations, a unique experience for a reasonable price.

Do as the Norwegians; stay at one of the DNT (the Norwegian trekking associations) cabins together with the locals.

Traveling to Norway

Travel by train or bus. If you order in advance it is often cheaper. Flights can also be quite cheep if you order in advance. See how to get to Southern Norway and around.

Activities in Norway

Nature is what Norway is all about and it’s free to use. Go fishing along the coastline or hiking in the mountains. Again; remember "the right of access".

Hiking in Norway can be for one day or one week. Check out some of the hiking possibilities in Southern Norway and combine with a stay at the DNT cabins.

Fishing at the shoreline is free and you don’t need a permit. If you want to rent a boat, check out one of the holiday centers in Southern Norway.

Bike with a tent or find low price accommodation. There are many national cycle routes, and we recommend the North Sea Route (either by car or bike). Biking along the small coastal towns in Southern Norway is also a great experience.

Many of the museums have cheap (or free) admission and often possibilities to bring your own picnic bag to enjoy outside.

During summer there are a lot of outdoor concerts free of charge in the city centers.

Food – all travelers get really hungry

Bring your barbecue grill and buy some food at the local supermarket. Groceries are not that expensive in Norway. Asian stores also get a good selection of all kind of food. Many of the stores are closed at Sundays, but there are always some open. Ask the locals.

Do as the locals; get some shrimps at the local fish marked and enjoy on a pier by the sea.

Buy water in Norway? No way! All tap water in Norway is clean and tastes better than bottle water. When in a city it is usually cheaper prices at Asian restaurants. Ask the locals.

Welcome to Norway.

Monday, 9 June 2014

The long journey from Germany to Norway on a bicycle

Adam from Visit Sørlandet interviewed a German couple who were on a long journey.

On a visit to Lyngdal, I met a German couple outside the Lyngdal Tourist Office and had a chat to them.

Adam: Where are you both from?
Man: We are from Munich in Germany.

Adam: Have you ridden here?
Man: Yes from Hamburg. We drove our campervan to Hamburg where we parked it at a friend's house. From there we started our bicycle ride through Germany, Denmark and Norway. We have ridden 1,100 kilometres and average about 100 per day.

Adam: Where do you intend to stop?
Man: We will finish at the North Cape. You live in such a beautiful country. Riding here from Kristiansand, we stopped all the time to take pictures of and enjoy the scenery. It is amazing.

Adam: You speak very good English. There are not too many people from Germany I have met that can speak English.
Man: My wife cannot speak English but I lived in South Africa for many years and so I had to speak English there. You might not believe this, but I am 75 years old!

Adam: You are right. I do not believe it!

Here is an map of where they have ridden from Germany to Lyngdal in Norway (1100 kilometres).

Here is a map of where they will end up. According to google, it is about 3,300 kilometres to get to their final destination. That is a LOOOOONG WAY!!! I certainly hope that they will buy tickets and fly home from there!

Before they left, they told me that Flekkefjord was their next stop. I suggested they go there via Farsund to check our the amazing views at Varbakk. I met up with the tourist manager there the next day who confirmed that the German couple visited her tourist office and she showed them the way there.

The Lista Region has something to offer everyone. Make sure you visit Lyngdal, Farsund, Kvinesdal and Flekkefjord.

Send me an email if you need any further information on adam (at)
Dra på ferie til Lyngdal

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Southern Norways biggest Salmon

Adam from Visit Sørlandet went to Lyngdal to meet Southern Norway's famous salmon fisherman. He has the record for the biggest salmon caught in Southern Norway since World War 2 in the Lygna river.

Jan Ole Ødegård is a very friendly man who loves his fishing. I used to work with him at Kristiansand Airport with SAS in the ground services department. He was always up for a chat and had a friendly smile.

On my first trip to Lyngdal from Visit Sørlandet, I met the tourism chief Anne Grete Løland who showed me a large fish attached to the wall in the tourist office. There was a picture next to it of Jan Ole. What a small world. I told her that I knew him and suggested that we have a little interview with him and join him on a fishing trip.

Shortly after, we did just that. We met him at the tourist office one week later where I took a picture of him proudly standing next to the great salmon. We then got chatting on the way to a fishing spot in Lygna river where he told me the tale of the big catch.

Jan Ole said...

"It was August the 22nd in 2008. My wife and daughter suggested I go fishing while they went shopping. It was a beautiful day and I had planned doing other things, but I can never say no to a fishing opportunity. So, off I went.

I headed to Lyngdal where I normally go salmon fishing. I know that river like the back of my hand. Every nook and cranny.

I went to one area where I almost got an 8-9 kilo salmon, but he got away. I was very disappointed so I tried a different place a little further up the river. I climbed down the ravine and on my second cast with the fly fishing line it just stopped and stood still. I thought that I must have caught a log or something, so I tried to wiggle it around for a while and then all of a sudden I saw the massive salmon trying to get away. I held on for about one and a half hours until the salmon was tired and could no longer fight me. I pulled it up and could not believe how big it was so I called a couple of friends.

After I got off the phone to one of them, the local paper called and asked for an interivew. Shortly after that I got interviewed by a couple more newspapers.

I then found out that it was the biggest salmon caught in Southern Norway since World War 2, so I was very proud. Later the local tourist office and kommune made a replica fish like the one I caught and put it up on a wall in the tourist office with my name underneath it. I did not expect that to happen, but I am very proud of that fish!"

Adam: What is it about fishing that you love so much?
Jan Ole: It is not just fishing that I enjoy, it is experiencing nature. We are so lucky here in Norway that we take it for granted. Last summer I lost about 6kg just from going up and down steep ravines and long walks to find the salmon. 

I also love the fresh river water smell. Some people do not understand me when I say that. "Does fresh water in a river have a smell" they ask me. "Of course" I answer them. Those who understand the rivers and nature here, know what I mean." (End of quote)

After Jan Ole and I chatted, we stopped by a small place, climbed down a steep rock and watched him do some fly fishing. Unfortunately he did not have any luck, but it was worth a try and fun to watch.

It was a great day out with Jan Ole. He knows more about fishing in the waters of Lyngdal than most. 

You can get a brochure from the Lyngdal tourist office with pictures and information on activities, accommodation and things to do along the Lygna river on Phone:+47 38 33 48 33. Dra på ferie til Lyngdal

Monday, 2 June 2014

Havnedagen in Kristiansand

Adam from Visit Sørlandet checked out the Havnedagen in Kristiansand.

On Saturday the 31st of May, Kristiansand was showing off its best weather by far this year. No clouds in the sky, light winds and 25 degree temperatures. So my wife and I decided to take the kids into the city on our boat and check out Havnedagen which is a special event for families by the harbour and waterside in Kristiansand.

We were greeted at fiskebrygga by a packed crowd and a full harbour of boats. It was a bit of a mission to find a parking place. After a few laps, we managed to find one by the footbridge at the harbour.

The main parking area for the boats was roped off because of a little boat taking kids on trips around the harbour. It is a copy of the boat out of the cartoon TV programme 'Elias'.

We went straight for the ice cream store and relaxed on the harbour steps. There was a musician playing some songs and I could not resist the smell of the barbeque taking place a few metres over and felt compelled to taste the free samples of salmon. 

Shortly after, I bought two salmon wraps for my wife and I.

I can honestly say that I have never had a nicer wrap. If only they cooked them everyday at the harbour!

Shortly after finishing the wrap, I noticed a man struggling to paddle a rubber boat over the ropes that were blocking off the harbour. He was an unfortunate soul that was on his bachelor party. After chatting to him, he told me that his mission was to paddle into the middle of the harbour with a blow up doll and buy some sun screen. That is something you do not see everyday.

There was also a Boat Show taking place not too far away, so we walked over there and had a bit of a look around. There were a lot of nice boats and stands selling items for the boats. Luckily we are very satisfied with our boat and our bank will be thankful that we did not ask them for more money to buy  a new one...

The police and fire brigade had stands there, so the kids hopped in for some photo opportunities.

To cool off, they happily jumped under the water fountains by the waterside.

A great day out!