Norgesreisen 2012 went to Gudbrandsdalen and Valdres. Our journey started in Oslo, and we enjoyed locally produced food, traditional dance and music, and learned a lot about Norwegian history, as well as the art of making great food.
Every step of the way we were surrounded by beautiful untouched Norwegian scenery.
Our first stop was at the Norwegian Emigrant Museum (the museum was created by Nordmanns-Forbundet in 1955), where we got a very interesting history lesson about Norwegian emigrants by Knut Djupedal. We walked away with the impression that the first Norwegian emigrants are not so different from those who emigrate today. Between 1825 and 2000 about 1 million Norwegians have emigrated to other countries. The entire group travelling with Nordmanns-Forbundet/Norwegians Worldwide on this trip has a lot of experience traveling and living abroad, so this visit was most appreciated. The second stop was Hamar, where we visited to the Hedmark Museum. The tour ended with a beautiful song by the ruins of the old Hamar Cathedral, performed by a local musical student. After this we were served a tasty salmon decorated with wild flowers at Hamar Spiseri. Next we stopped at the Tine factory at Frya where the yogurt-selection was impeccable. By the young manager, we learned that Norwegians drink less and less sweet milk each year. Next stop on the trip was Rudi Farm, run by Nina and Øystein Rudi. They have managed to create a unique venue at the farm where Øystein Rudi grew up. The concept is that you come here for an entire evening enjoying food and concerts, surrounded by a spectacular view. While the sheep bleated we were served a delicious three-course meal, and a mini-concert with the dessert. The view must be said to be the very best with Rudi Gard, creating a blissful and calm mood. After dinner, the bus took us to Fefor Høgfjellshotell (hotel high up in the mountains) for the night.
After a night of good sleep we were ready for new adventures, specifically Lom Mountain Village. In the midst of raw nature, this little village lies, with a beautiful church as the center. We enjoyed a visit to Lom Bakery (read more about this in our article about Lom Bakery) where you can enjoy your pastry while practically sitting in the middle of the waterfall. The view is, in other words, not too shabby here either, and we were both welcomed and served pastries by the founder and manager of Lom Bakery, Morten Schakenda. He said he spends incredible 18 (!) Hours to bake one bread from start to finish, but that the return will be extra tasty and contains very little yeast and salt. While in Lom, we also enjoyed a tour of the Mountain Museum.
Hans Brimi on Brimi Sæter has decided to make cheese into his specialty. He told us how he had been inspired by his grandmother Embjørg Brimi (85) who has been a dairymaid all her life. We also got a taste of the cheese, and it was delicious. We also got to taste their homemade cake, and local sausages. After all this eating, the journey went on to Hindsæter Mountain Hotel, where we ate again, before we went to sleep with very full tummies. The last day of the trip we drove through Valdresfløya towards Beitostølen, where we visited a light chapel decorated by renowned Norwegian artist Ferdinand Finne (1910-1999). Here we also got a mini concert by Hallgrim Berg, Norway's finest jeewsharpist. We also paid a visit to Valdres Folk Museum where we had the pleasure of eating meat soup made with beer, and watch an impromptu dance performance. The very last stop on the trip was Noraker Farm, where we got an introduction to the production of the Norwegian specialty rakfisk by Gunnar Noraker. Rakfisk do not make itself, mountain water is piped from far up in the mountains down to the various ponds on the farm, and the ponds are pumped with oxygen and minerals to create the right conditions for the fish. It is important that the fish are happy and not stressed, as this affects the taste. We did not get the chance to interview any of the fish, but they were definitely bouncy and energetic, and the view was superb at this location as well so we can only hope for the best. We all got a taste of rakfisk, and could conclude that we agreed with the people’s jury at Fagernes Rakfisk Festival 2011, who has voted Noraker Farm the best fish for the past 13 years.
Throughout the journey, we got an insight into how local businesses work together and support each other. In this way they succeed, and each one can specialize in what they do best. Folk traditions and music is important in the local culture, and we had many unexpected musical performances. The food was both unique and of very high quality, and if you want to have a Norwegian experience presented by young energetic people who are returning to their roots, Gudbrandsdalen and Valdres is an excellent choice.
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