Archive for June, 2010

I was very dismayed to recently read an article on Aftenposten (in Norwegian so have your dictionary handy), about the possible sale of one family owned hotel in Telemark. Hotels are sold all the time, but the part that got to me was the fact that many family run hotels not located in major cities are also for sale.   A sidebar to the article says that “The four largest chains Choice, Rica, Thon and Rezidor, have 50 percent of the hotel accommodations in Norway.”  And I would guess that most of these hotel properties are in the larger cities.  I worry that if these small family run hotels should go out of business, accessing the “Interior of Norway” will be harder for average people.

As we all know, Norway is not the cheapest vacation destination. The cost of everything is considerably higher than other world destinations looking for our tourist dollars (or Euros). However, because Norway is primarily a summer tourist destination (July and August mostly), hotels that are not located in major cities or near business activity must receive most of their bed nights in this limited time. This drives the cost of running the hotel (which includes finding help) up even higher. I have some very good friends and family members in Norway that depend on a large percentage of their income from the tourist trade. They own summer cottages, rent boats, run a cafe and have tourist support companies (tour guiding). These individuals must have other income sources during the non-summer months to get by.

Hotels are very important to the economic health of small towns and kommunes of Norway. Some of the best places to go are not near large cities including many Stavkirke (Stave Church), signature falls, adventure activities and some good local history museums. So if you are really interested in seeing Norway, you must get out of your cars, buses and trains and stay a few nights in these places.  I have, and love it!!!

Norway is known for it’s nature and taking a hike in the Norwegian fjords can be very exciting. If you stay in Bergen, Ålesund or Oslo you can get a feel for the fjords while staying at a very nice hotel chain in town. I’ve done this several times and would recommend doing it if you want. However, I’ve also taken a day long midsummer hike (from 6am to 8pm) out of a small town in Sunnfjord and enjoyed this adventure even more. The closest hotel was a small family run place that also had a bus service to a nearby white water rafting company and when in season helped you find a local guide to take you fishing for salmon, snow skiing, hunting or on picture safari.

In another article that I read on Aftenposten, they talked about Innovation Norway, the company that is set up to promote tourism to Norway. Innovation Norway has asked Norwegian for their help in promoting Norway by launching a website where people have the opportunity to share their Norwegian favorite vacations and nicest places with other vacationers. I’ve already done a little by contributing to the cause at this site and I hope you can also. We need to help Norway promote itself, because if you are like me I want others to know what I do about this fabulous country and help them experience what we have experienced.

Then again maybe I should become more selfish and do my best to keep people away. I’d like to keep it to myself.    😉

Ken Nordan
Contributing Editor

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I wanted to thank my friends at Th!nk for sending a Th!nk City all electric car to the Park Ridge Illinois (Chicago Area) Syttende Mai Parade, also known as the Norwegian Constitution Day (May 17) celebration.

After looking at the pictures I submitted in the prior post, it is easy to see that the Park Ridge parade brings together members (young and old) of the Chicago Norwegian Community to celebrate our common heritage. And with the Th!nk City in the parade this year, not only were all ages of people found at the parade but also all ages of cars. As you can see in the following pictures we had a few older cars and (with the all electric, Norwegian designed, and soon to be American built) Th!nk City car we had a very new car as well.

Hank Solberg driving his Model A car in the parade. (photo Kathy Larson)

That is me driving the Th!nk City. (photo Ken Larson)

Contributing Editor,
Ken Nordan

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Having written the previous post several weeks ago and not published it I realized that I am still not doing my part on this blog.  So I published the previous blog and now also submit these pictures for your enjoyment. If you missed out on the parade or some of the other activities, I hope you can get out there next year waving your Norwegian flag. We do it at the same time (around May 17) and place (Park Ridge for the parade), every year no excuses if you don’t get an invitation. 😉

Ken Nordan,
Contributing Editor

Members of NACC show off their Bunads

Members of NACC show off their Bunads


Seth Howard

Lorraine saving our heritage

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First, I want to say that I am sorry for not posting to this blog in a while.   I have many excuses, some are better than others.  The better ones are that I have been very busy and have been burning the candle at all ends (sometimes in the middle too). Many of these activities have not been related to the theme of this blog, thus nothing to write about.

My original goal for this blog was to write about some of the fun things I do and think about which relate to Norway or my Norwegian roots.  And many of those things I am still doing, including:

  1. Working with companies both here in the USA and Norway,
  2. Torske Klub
  3. Vesterheim
  4. Genealogy
  5. NACC
  6. Sons of Norway

to name a few.  As a part of that goal, I had also hoped to include input from readers and sharing of stories with many others of Norwegian background or who enjoy Norway like I do.  I had also hoped to find things that were different than the usual to talk about and discuss.

Some of these goals have been met.  I was introduced to the Norwegian-American Weekly newspaper out of Seattle Washington (Hi to Jake and Christy, see norway.com) and have enjoyed writing a few articles for them as well as doing article research for their blog (blog.norway.com).  This has been fun but has also been time consuming.  I’ve also had the great chance to talk to and meet some fabulous people including many of the people that I  have written about here, far too many to single out right now.

Some of my goals have not been met.  I had hoped to open a dialog among Norwegians, in particular those living in Chicago, but also, others living throughout the USA and in Norway.  Many of us like reading about our Norwegian roots but not too many have wanted to talk and discuss those roots.  I had also hoped to influence in some small way how we relate as Norwegians to each other, how we relate to Norway, and in some way maybe help Norway to relate better to us.

I realize that the later goal will take much time, effort and energy, for which I will try to reapply, restart and rekindle.

I’ve taken a number of pictures in the last few months and collected a few from friends and I hope to make a new entry shortly so you can enjoy them.

Ken Nordan,
Contributing Editor

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