May 30th

After a restful night in Røros, we all woke up to a great continental breakfast provided by the hotel. After getting our fill for the morning, we packed up and loaded the bus for our excursion to the The Olav's Mine, a copper ore mine just a few miles outside of town.

At the mine, we met our tour guide, who happened to be a native of Alexandria, MN, that had moved to Norway back in the 1980's. After learning about a brief history of the mine and how it began, we made our way to get fitted with hard hats and do a little exploring of the mine. Let me say, we would definitely make one good looking construction crew!

The mine itself is more or less split into two parts, and old and a new mine. The old mine was in production from 1650-1717 and again from 1861-1890, so it was very interesting to learn about and see how that mining was done before they had the modern technology available to them. The newer part was opened up in 1936 after a new pocket of ore was discovered. This mine shut down production in 1977, but much of the equipment that was used in this time period had been left in the mine, and today, it can still be seen in the places it was left over 40 years ago. When all was said in done, we had trekked about 500 meters into the side of the mountain and were about about 50 meters down. (I will leave it up to you to do the conversions)

After our tour of the mine, we traveled back into the town of Røros for a tour of the copper smelting museum that was built in the place of the old Røros Smeltery. This was a very interesting museum filled with scaled models of the the whole mining and smelting process, from how the ore was taken out of the ground to how it was made into the raw material that was used in Norway and exported to other parts of Europe. There were even remnants of the original plant that was forced to close down after a fire destroyed parts of the smelting equipment.

After that tour, we ate a nice lunch at a small cafe in town and then headed on the bus again for our 3 1/2 hour drive back to Steinkjer. Many used this opportunity to take a much needed nap, so needless to say the bus ride was very quiet. We arrived at our apartments around 8:00, ordered some pizza, and relaxed for the rest of the night. All in all, it was another great day in Norway.

May 29th

We woke up the morning of May 29th to a much appreciated continental breakfast at the hostel. After eating our fill, we got ready to go. A few piano players among the group entertained us on a piano in the lobby just before departing.

Our first destination for the day was Dovre National Park. The park is mostly an area of high mountainous plateaus with bare rock and alpine plants. Wild reindeer, musk ox, and ptarmigan are just a few of the animals that can be found in Dovre. The group two years ago was lucky enough to see musk ox, the first time Tor had seen them in the park. We were told to keep our eyes peeled for any musk ox as we were driving. Well, Tor's eagle eyes spotted some movement on a hillside as we drove along. The bus stopped and sure enough Tor had found musk ox again. We all got out with cameras and binoculars. There were about 8 musk ox and a few baby musk ox grazing on the hillside. Even from a distance, you could tell the animals were big and very hairy.

After watching the musk ox for a while we headed down the road to our lunch spot. The lunch spot was a picnic area where we had a very chilly picnic. After eating, we went on a hike to the top of a foothill. All of us got to test out how waterproof our boots really were. The path was very wet at first and very steep towards the end. We got to the top of one of the many foothills in the area and some people headed on to a farther hilltop. The climb to the top was longer than it looked, but the view was well worth it. No trees at the top or even within a few miles meant we could see all around. The wind was a little cold on the peak, but we enjoyed the view that stretched a long way with snow capped mountains in the distance. We headed back down to the bus, some of us earlier than others, and decided to check out a report of musk ox near the road a few miles away. As luck would have it the musk ox were still there. We got a second viewing of musk ox, this time just across a small valley and river, close enough so you did not need binoculars to watch them.

The next stop was Roros, a mining town that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We checked into the hotel which had rooms much like a hostel, two bunks to a room. Before dinner, we got the chance to explore the town a little bit. One highlight was the church built in 1780 which we were able to walk around, but unfortunately could not go in since it is being renovated. Dinner was excellent at one of the restaurants in town. People had everything from reindeer to cod. After enjoying dinner and conversation, everyone headed back to the hotel and relaxed before going to bed. All in all, another great day in Norway.

26th May

After our first night staying at the Runde Vandrerhjem the group was awakened to a fantastic breakfast prepared by the girls. We ate plenty of eggs, bacon, and even "happy" toast with smiling faces in the middle. The air was chilly, but the cold sea looked calm against the mountain backdrops of neighboring islands and the bright sun seemed to refresh everyone and prepare them for the day. Eating breakfast outside in the chill was easily worth watching the rolling waves crash on the beach with the snow capped peaks of mountains far off in the distance.

Once we had all finished eating, and waking up, we took our comfortable coach bus a few kilometers to the foot of a small mountain -- by Norwegian standards. Oddmar was waiting for us there with a hat on his head and a walking stick in hand. We followed him along the coastline of the island as he discussed environmental concerns on the island, and revealed to us the extent of the impact that human activity has had on the island. Most notable was the slash and burn tactics of clearing land that led to a booming polation of heather on the hillsides and an almost total loss of trees on Runde. When he finished talking about the vegetation of Runde, as well as pointing out a few species of the many birds on the island, Oddmar treated us to an old Runde tale that preceded the times of King Arthur.

After a few more minutes we came to the foot of our hill, and started the steep climb up and around it. When we reached the summit we could see far over the Atlantic Ocean and over much of Runde and the surrounding islands. The sun was peaking out of the clouds, and we took advantage of this to lay down and soak up the sun from atop the mountain. After a week in Norway many of us have seen plenty of mountains, to the point that they all start to blend together, but reaching the top and gazing over the horizon is always a thrill, each and every time. Before we descended we were even treated to a sighting of an eagle and the steep bluffs where sea birds were breeding.

When we had finished our trek back to the Hostel we met Annelise Chapman. She lectured us on the basics of marine biology and the importance the seas have on our everyday lives. Annelise taught us the ABCs of the sea. Every letter corresponded with some important cog in the ocean machinery. (A)lgae, which provide the basis for kelp forests and both feed and protect fish they grow. Over-harvesting can lead to alterations in fish populations which in turn can affect the populations of local sea birds. (E)utrophication, which can lead to changes in marine vegetation, a decrease in oxygen availability for local organisms, and the threat of invading species. This particular problem hits close to home for Americans with the same problems in the Gulf of Mexico (well, prior to the oil spill that is). And lastly, (L)ittoral Zone, a fancy term for beach. This environment often has a large diversity of species, and can be an indicator for hazards to the environment. After going through many other terms she took us to the beach during low tide for field work. She showed us about many different organisms, among them kelp and polycheate worms, various methods that organisms utilize to cope with the low tides and high tides, and discussed the basic theory concerning the cause of tides (gravitational pulls from the Sun and Moon, as well as the layout of the continents).

When all was said and done we headed back to the hostel and were treated to a fantastic grill smorgasbård of porkchops, chicken, and salmon, as well as baked potatoes and salad. The sun was still out and the view amazing. It was another fine ending to a day of lecture and fun in Norway.

May 27th

Thursday was our last full day at Runde. We were allowed to sleep in a little more than usual and after breakfast we had a short lecture about the birds for Runde from Tor. The plan for the day was to take a boat trip around the island to see the nesting cliffs and then later that night climb to the top of the cliffs to watch the bird life. Two separate crews went on the boat trip and the waves were easy enough that we were allowed to go all around the island although barely. The boat was a very nice, small, wooden vessel made in the 1980's and Oddmar accompanied us to explain the ecology of the cliffs. Once we got around to the Atlantic side of the island the waves got much bigger but everyone handled it fairly well. We saw the standard gull, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, eiders, cormorants and gannets. The birds ranged from small to large, white to black and loud to silent. Everyone agreed that it was quite an experience seeing so many birds flying over us and back and forth on the cliffs, plus he height of the cliffs themselves was astonishing. Although the rocking of the ocean did get to some people woozy (myself included) we all we survived without getting sea-sick.
After a nice lunch and rest period we drove to the opposite side of the island where Runde has its largest farm which also served as a fishery. We began our hike up the steep hill path with Alf, who has studied birds at Runde since the 1970's. On our way we saw shedding sheep grazing on the grass and many fit Norwegian couples and photographers passing us on our way to the top. The view was incredible, especially because the cliff sides are full of bright green grass. Alf informed us that this is due to the birds "fertilizing" the cliffs. We hauled up three monocular telescopes to look at the sea-birds with and after viewing them we hiked to the puffin viewing area, which was the main event. The puffins were really starting to fly around below and we could see their silhouettes criss-crossing down near the water. As time passed many more puffins would venture up to their nests where we were sitting and zoom past our heads. We learned from Alf that the puffins only weight 1lb and they fly extremely fast. They have been found traveling up to 1,000 km away from their nests in search of food and there are approximately 100,000 nesting pairs living on the island. We had a few puffins land right next to the rocks at our feet so many people got excellent photos of the birds rummaging around their nests. After 9pm we had a picturesque hike back down the cliff and back to our hostel for some rest, relaxation and eventually sleep.
-Jacob Gau

May 28

May 28th was a very busy day! It started out early when we left Runde for Alesund and Trollstigen. After a short bus trip we arrived in Alesund and were able to explore the city before our first destination, the Alesund aquarium, opened. Many of us flocked to the gift shop and found the perfect souvenir for our friends and family back home. Notable finds were Dale of Norway sweaters and beer steins. After that we made our way to Alesund Aquarium. There they had many different types of animals from tropical fish and sea creatures to animals native to the Norwegian seas.
After a lunch watching the penguins and school groups playing outside we made our way to Trollstigen. There were many stops along the way to look at the gorgeous Norwegian scenery. One of the stops was at Trollstigen where there was a steep hill down to the bottom of the mountain. Much of the group chose to walk down the hill and started walking down the hiking path. The trail down had rocky terrain and a waterfall of melted snow cascading down from the mountains. Some of us filled out water bottles and were able to drink the pure melted snow!
After the hike at Trollstigen we continued our drive to the hostel making stops that made Tor tease us for being 'Japanese Tourists'. Though it took us longer than anticipated to reach the hostel we were able to stop at another waterfall with a newly constructed modern walkway with glass walls and grates to see the beautiful landscape.
Once we finally reached the hostel it was one of the nicer places we've stayed. The hostel appeared to be a farm that had been converted into rooms for travelers. We stayed in the main building though it would have been interesting to stay in the barn!
Once settled we went out for dinner at Mama Rosa's, an Italian restaurant in the down town area. The group was able to have a delicious dinner, have a few drinks, and relax enjoying the mountains surrounding the town. After the meal we made our way back to the hostel and some of the group prepared for a night on the town.
Much of the group decided to take in the Norwegian nightlife. We trekked down to the hotel in town where there was a bar and lounge. We all had a few drinks and broke it down for the locals on the dance floor. We made friends with the bar tender, Samantha, and showed the Norwegians how to move! The night ended while watching the sunrise at three in the morning.
We all had a great day between the hiking, exploring, and experiencing the Norwegian culture. There were many memorable moments that brought us together as a group, whether it was Tor's jokes, Bill's moments, Kyle showing us his moves, or Eric's encounter with a local Norwegian. May 28th was a great day.

May 22-24. Traveling to Stavanger!

Before I start my blog entry, I want to write a few things I wish I would have known or brought before I went on this trip.

1.) Bring a tide-to-go pen and febreeze! It'll save a lot of laundry time. You're only in Norway for so long and you don't want to waste time washing clothes.

2.) Don't bring your cell phone to rely on the time if it is not an international phone. A lot of students brought their phones to keep track of the time instead of bringing a watch and none of our phones function here. The time doesn't even show up on our phones. Do bring your cell to call your parents, friends or whoever is giving you a ride from the airport to home for when you return to the U.S., but don't expect your phone to function abroad unless you know for certain it will.

3.) If you are going to travel via train from Steinkjer to anywhere, know that the airport stop is a good 40 minutes BEFORE Trondheim. This will save you a lot of NOK since you are traveling a shorter distance. The airport is called Værnes. Also, pick the student ticket instead of the adult ticket. This will save you more NOK. HOWEVER, make sure you have your student ID on you!

4.) Bring your student ID with you! You'll save a lot of money on tourist things and train tickets! I saved 40 NOK on a fjord cruise and another 80 NOK on my train ticket. However, the student IDs in Norway have dates on them stating which year you're in. The U of M ID doesn't have this. Be prepared to explain that you are a student from the US studying abraod. An international student ID probably wouldn't hurt.

For my Whitsun weekend, I decided to go to Stavanger to meet an alumni from my sorority, Annette, and stay with her family for the weekend.

Annette is from Norway but she studied abroad in 1994 at the University of Minnesota, went through sorority recruitment, and joined Alpha Gamma Delta, the sorority of which I am a member. When my house mom and other alumni found out I was going to Norway, they told me I had to contact her. So I sent her an e-mail and she invited me to come and stay with her family in Stavanger for the weekend!

I was very nervous travling to Stavanger because I do not speak Norwegian (I know Hai (Hi) and Takk (Thanks)) and I had a lot of stops on the way.

May 22-24 Arctic Circle

Due to the holiday of Whitsun, we had Monday, May 24th off of classes. For our long weekend, our larger group split off into smaller groups and did various things. One group went to Trondheim, some went bear tracking in Sweden, two others went off on their own trips to visit family and friends, and the remaining four took a short road trip around Northern Norway.
The group of us that went driving north headed up to the Arctic Circle. All three days involved a lot of time in the car and Aarika was the only one who drove. She was a machine and we're all grateful for her excellent driving skills! We stopped at quite a few waterfalls and scenic sites along the way and camped near the Arctic Circle Visitor Center the first night. Locals and other people at the campsite thought we were crazy for camping in a tent while it was freezing cold outside, raining, and much of the water was still frozen. We didn't mind. We played around in the snow and on some playground equipment at the Visitor Center.
The next day also involved quite a bit of driving, north to Bodø and then down along the coast. We ended up missing a much needed ferry, but it turned out to be a blessing. Instead of further driving, we were forced to find a campsite, which ended up being on the very top of a large foothill with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and fjords. That night was also dry enough to have a campfire. Despite only four hours of sleep in a cold, damp tent, we woke up at 5:30AM to catch the ferry and continue our drive. Making our way down along the coast on our way back to Steinkjer, we stopped at Torghatten, which is a large mountain with a naturally occurring hole in it. The only sunny part of the day graced our hike--making our much needed break from the car ride that much better. We made it back into Steinkjer around 8:30PM that night and were greeted by some rainbows to end our trip. It was amazing and an excellent way to spend the weekend.

May 21 - Island of Tautra

On Friday we had the opportunity to visit the marine Ramsar site in Tautra-Svaet. We drove about 1.5 hours, just past Trondheim, to the island, which is home to an array of species - we were specifically looking at the various bird species that have populated the land and surrounding waters. When we first arrived we used our binoculars and 'monoculars' to watch some birds further out on the waters, barely visible as even dots to the naked eye. But with this technology we were able to see the birds very clearly.
Before actually getting to the island, however, we first had to drive over a bridge, which was gated off at the one end. Per Gustav Thingstad who was accompanying us, from the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, informed us of the history of the bridge and why the gate was absolutely necessary. The man-made bridge originally built in 1976/78 was filled with rocks underneath it to the water's bottom. This, however, prevented water from flowing through, decreasing the water's temperature in the newly closed off body of water, which consequently killed off many of the epifauna (mollusks), thus negatively affecting two key species in the area: the Common Eider and Velvet Scoter. Eventually, this original money-saving method of building the bridge was changed as to allow for proper water flow. We also learned that the gate at the end of the bridge was necessary to prevent terrestrial predators, such as foxes and badgers, from reaching the nesting grounds for many of the birds.
After we reached the island we walked over to a protected area where it was populated with numerous bird nests including seagulls, the Common Eider and many more. We were able to see two birds sitting on their nests as we very quietly and slowly walked by them. We had to be very cautious about being quiet and calm as to not disturb them and scare them from their nests. Following lunch we then went over to a lookout tower on the other end of the island where we were able to watch various birds in their natural environment. Some of the birds that we saw first-hand include the velvet scooter, the black guillament, pink-footed goose, black-throated diver and the common eider.
Once we were done there we visited a monastery on the island, which was built over 500 years ago, stopped by the gift shop and then headed back to campus. After returning to Steinkjer we all ate dinner then headed to the grocery stores to stock up on food for our free weekend. Later in the evening we then had a chance to meet up with some Norwegian students, which was a great opportunity to be able to chat and hang out with them.

Thumbnail image for Tautra

Thumbnail image for Tautra



May 23rd - Free Day in Trondheim

Hi Everyone!
Today a small group of us ( Nicole, Lindsey, Kelly, Britta, Sarah, Jake, Andrea) used our time to tour Trondheim. We began by waking up at 6, walking to the train station at 7, and then found out our train didn't leave until 9:30! We all decided to take a little nap at the station after that. After a two hour train ride through the beautiful countryside we arrived. We were all pretty hungry so we stopped at Dromedar Kaffebar; hands town the best restaurant of our trip thus far. It was very modern and edgy, with a jazzy feel added by the music being played from the barista's Ipod. Jake found a new favorite band when he asked about the music, I think Bo Kaspersorkester will be add to his ipod as soon as possible. After we ate a fabulous lunch of sandwiches, cheese cake, and coffee, we walked to the Cathedral. It was a breath-taking sight of stone statues, larger than life, carved from the outside walls. After checking out the gift shop and the the old graves scattered through out the yards, we decided to split off and walk around the city. Kelly, Britta, and I walked around and saw all the striking buildings of Trondheim. All the shops were closed so we just wandered around the streets before we hoped back on the train at 3:10. It was a very fun but tiring day of travel and all are resigned to an early night and a fun day tomorrow!

Tuesday May 18th

On Tuesday, we started by meeting outside of our rooms at 7:45am and walking down to the HINT cafeteria for breakfast. Ham, salami, cheese, tomatoes, peppers, bread, heart-shaped waffles with jam and butter were available to eat along with an abundant supply of yogurts, orange juice, coffee and milk. We then hopped on the bus at about 9am for an hour and a half drive northwest. Everyone, especially Becky, was in a great mood since the bus driver had her wallet that she had been searching for. Tor came with as well as our lecturer for the day ( the most enthusiastic person in the world about lichens) Hawk-in. Or at least that's how it is pronounced, but probably not spelled. Anyways, on the drive we went through a river delta that was filled with a bunch of pink-footed geese and common crane. This delta, also called a sea meadow, is a nature reserve that is home to a variety of bird species for nesting and an abundant amount of flowers during the spring and summer seasons. As we were checking out the sea meadow from our luxurious bus seats, we noticed a large bird flying our way. The bus driver also noticed and kindly stopped the bus, so we could perfectly execute the typical American tourist tactic. It was a white-tailed sea eagle! And it had a fish clutched in its talons! Once it got directly in front of the bus, where everyone was able to witness, the eagle dropped it from an incredibly high point. We all gawked at the site of this pour, helpless fish as it tested gravity and made a huge splash into the river delta. There were a few good pictures of the incident taken by Jake and Sarah.

We then made it to the boreal rainforest! This is where Hawk-in took over the excursion. As we walked through the forest he talked about the three types of lichens( fruiticos, folios, crystos) and showed examples of each throughout the hike. At this point the sun came out from the behind the clouds and stayed for the remainder of the day. The forest was extremely beautiful. It was completely green, from the floor to the tips of the trees. You could feel the wet, damp atmosphere to experience the high humidity and precipitation of this sweet microclimate. The forest consisted of mostly Norway spruce with a few Mountain Ash and Willows mixed in. We learned the rainforest has about 250 days of rain throughout the year for about 70 inches. We then made our way back to the bus for a 12:30pm lunch. So we sat and ate sandwiches and drank orangejuice and coffee under the beating Norwegian sun overlooking the river.

After lunch we made our way over to the coastal flora. This was obviously on the coast and had a great view overlooking the sea. We observed some more lichen at this point and then chugged up the side of the mountain to get to the tippy top. We finally made it to the top once we were out-of-breath. We took some cool pictures and just took in the amazing landscape that surrounded us as we felt like we were on top of the world. On the bus trip back we had another American tourist incident. We saw our first moose of the trip! So the bus stopped, backed up, and pulled over to the side of the road so we could get the best snap-shots possible. We got back to the University at 4:30 and had dinner. After dinner, we casually skipped on over to the gymnasium to witness an intense game of handball. Most of us thought that handball was a game similar to racquetball, but were proven wrong. We had to laugh at the sight of Martin and Hana(dean of HINT) running up and down the court trying to keep up with the youth team in a game where the 12 year boys team played against their parents. After watching a good hour of handball being played it was our turn to show of our skills! At this point we also realized that we had lost two member of our group that just finally arrived. But Sarah and Chelsea deserved it after what they had done to me the previous day. Since we all had our hiking boots on (not tennis shoes) we had to take them off and play in socks (a huge disadvantage). With 7 allowed to be on the floor at once we had about two shifts during the 20 minute game. I like to think we fought hard for it being our first time ever playing the sport. Big Tyler put in two early goals, Jake had one somewhere in the middle, Nicole was robbed, Mike and Jennea had some breath-taking saves, and we scored two more in the closing minute. It was a close game but the inexperience and no shoes aspects got to us and we lost by one goal. We shock hands with the kids and joined them for a little dessert, said our good-byes and parted ways. We walked back to the University, visited the computer lab for a bit, took a long walk to the grocery store, walked to Onkel Oscar's, and then walked back to the rooms.

We ended up with two twisted ankles.
We learned that in Norway beer is not sold in grocery stores after 8pm.
We learned that in Norway you are not cool unless you have a trampoline in your yard.

We learned a lot, had great weather, and much much fun!

Thursday May 20, 2010

Today was the lecture day. We spent 7 hours in lecture! A total of 4 different professors lectured. Hans Thorsen, Sonja Ekker, Ole Jakob Sorensen, and Bill Ganzlin. We wrapped up the History of Norway overview with Professor Thorsen which had started on Tuesday, and then proceeded into more of the Geological and Environmental aspects of the country and how they compare to Minnesota. We discussed the agriculture of Norway followed by the Geology, Climate, and Vegetation of Norway. This lecture was taught by both Professor Ganzlin and Professor Ekker and it provided a nice comparison of Norway to Minnesota. After another amazing lunch (This time lasagna) we were back in the classroom to finish up the geological discussion. Professor Sorensen lead us for the last two lectures, Environment Policy and Management and Hunting and Fishing Rights of the Norwegian public. Professor Sorensen joined us today as did Professor Thorsen, and neither disappointed on the second day. Professor Sorensen told amazing moose hunting stores and even offered us a spot in his car to join him when he goes to Sweden this weekend to check on bear cameras setup in the Swedish woods. (Check the blog soon for an update!) After all the day in lecture we had the last meal of the day with probably the best dessert served yet on this trip. It was ice cream served with a bowl of warm berries: the taste was amazing! After dinner Professor Thorsen joined us for a hike. Initially we were thinking this hike would be a stroll up the mountain behind our apartments, but we soon found out this was serious climb. We were introduced fully to the fitness of the Norwegian people as they went running past us, up and down this very steep mountain! Once we got to the top it was all worth it however due to the amazing view, and some of us including Professor Ganzlin got recored by a local professor in broadcasting! After enjoying the view at the summit we walked/slid down the front side of the mountain. We nearly tumbled out into an archery range, but got our bearings right and walked around back to the apartments. After much needed showers most turned in early in preparation for the excursion to Tautra the following day.

Introduction of Jennea Jerdee (Gjerde) :)

Hi :) My name is Jennea and I'll be a senior at the U of M this fall. My majors are:
1.) Biology, Society, and Environment'
2.) American Studies
I also have a minor in Spanish Studies.
I am SO excited to go to Norway! My dad's family is Norwegian but I have never learned about this side of my heritage because my mom is from Dublin, Ireland and so being first generation, my Irish heritage has always dominated holidays, vacations, information, etc.

I only have one younger brother, but both my parents come from large families (12 siblings on my dad's side and 10 siblings on my mom's side) so I have a LOT of cousins.

I love to do yoga in my spare time as well as run and rock climb. However I'm not very good at the last two so I mostly do yoga. :) I also love to travel and read.
I like to read almost anything but I absolutely love reading historical fiction as well as information and updates regarding public health.

After I graduate from the U of M, I want to get my masters in public health, either in epidemiology or maternal and child healthcare (I haven't decided which).

I'll have to upload a picture when I get home since I'm not on my computer.

I hope you enjoyed my intro!

-Jennea Jerdee (However the original spelling in Norway was Gjerde. It was changed when my relatives immigrated to America.)

May 17 - Syttende Mai

Syttende Mai is Norway's National and Constitutional day, similar to July 4th in America. This celebration is young, it dates back to 1814, and there were many wars in between now and then where they were not allowed to celebrate. This celebration is really a day to celebrate the children and their future, such as the parades we saw included small children to graduating college students. The students dressed in either red, white or blue, depending on which school they were from. After grade school they apply to which high school they want to attend based on what they want to study. There were two short parades, one in the morning and one in the evening, but they went around town several times, keeping the festivites going. It was very different from celebrating America's July 4th because no candy was thrown out, no drinking was taking place, and their were no advertisments in the parade, keeping the true spirit of this holiday. This is the day where many Norwegians dress in either their traditional outfits. We saw many different colors, patterns and designs which is based on where they are from in Norway. It was wonderful to see many people dressed in the authentic Norwegian outfits. Everything was closed except for kiosk and icecream shops. Many of us bought some icecream and it was different than what we get in the U.S., it is more creamy and soft compared to back at home. They only had a vanilla flavour but with many different condiments to put on it. The favorite was brown powder\sugar with nuts. Everybody from Steinkjer came out to fill the streets and watch the parade to celebrate their Natinoal Day. This evening we were fed a traditional Norwegian dinner, Sodd, which consisits of boiled potatos, carrots, meatballs, lamb and brooth. Dishing one food at a time into your bowl turns into a wonderful stew. The dessert was a delicious hazelnut pound cake roll with a chocolate filling that tasted like icecream; it was very yummy! As our first day in Norway it was a privillage to have Syttende Mai be our welcome into Norway.
After breakfast, before any of the parades started, we had the opportunity to attend a Lutheran church service specifically for Syttende Mai. Although the service was in Norwegian, the pastor was kind enough to first welcome us, and throughout the service translated the jists highpoints of what he was saying. One of the main things they talked about was a huge painting with three angels, they had upfront which was made during the 1940's during the war to protect the children and women. The day this painting was recieved was a day where no children and women were killed. This painting had a strong symbolism of tranquility.
In between the two parades we decided to go for a hike in the outskirts of town. We saw a burial ground from the Viking age which consisted of three rings made of rocks. We also saw an old cemetary with stones dating back to 1800's, a few students looked for their family names but only a few were successful. After that we walked through the woods down to a farm where there were sheep and historical buildings.
All in all it was an amazing day that will not be forgotten. We are very fortunate everyone was so kind and that we had the opportunites that were given to us that day.

Wednesday May 19th

Today was our first day of classroom lecture. The two lecturers talked about the history of May 17th and about the general history of Norway from the Stone Age to the Viking age. I thought it was interesting to learn that even though May 17th is a big celebration today, it hasn't always been widely celebrated. I also thought it was cool to learn about how Norway has been under the power of multiple countries, and how influential Royal marriages can be. The second lecture was given about the management of carnivores in Norway.
After lunch we traveled to Snåsa to learn about the Sami culture. The drive was beutiful, and we got to see a few moose and reindeer along the side of the road. We listened to a lecture given by a lady who worked at the museum, and then we went outside to see what kind of homes the Sami lived in during the winter. After that we watched a video made by an American woman about the endangered and extinct languages around the world, one of which was the Sami language. (Some were even from Oklahoma, Wisconsin (Potowatomi))
Along the way home we stopped in Bøla to see stone cravings that were created in 4000bc!Towards the end of the day, some people went to the mall while others went to watch a soccer game.

Sunday, May 16 2010

Welcome to the Natural History of Norway blog! We are so excited that you have chosen to follow us along our trip.
This morning we arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland after a very long night of traveling. Because of the volcanic erruptions occuring in Iceland, our flight coming out of Minneapolis was delayed three hours! After finally boarding the plane, we flew for six hours and arrived in Reykjavik around 8:00 Icelandic time. Because our flight had been delayed so long in Minneapolis, it was important that we find the gate for our second flight to Bergen as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, our professor, Bill Ganzlin, along with two other students were listed for standby seats and were unable to board the plane along with the rest of the group. Even while there were plenty of seats on the plane for the three of them to board, the computer system for the airline company was experiencing some technical problems and they were unable to access the seats. Luckily, the representative for the airline company took pity on our very tired group and was able to get Bill along with the other two students, three tickets in the first class section! We were happy to see that they made it on the plane to Bergen with the rest of the group.
Because we were unable to access the boarding passes from Bergen to Trondheim in Minneapolis, the entire group was requried to recheck-in in Bergen when we arrived. Unfortunately, because our two previous flights had already been delayed, they did not have enough seats for all seventeen of us on the first flight out. The group was forced to split up and take two separate flights to Trondheim. The first group would fly alone and meet our professor and program leader from Nord-Trondelag, Tor, at the airport early while the rest of the group would fly with Bill and meet us there later. On top of all of the hassle, we were also required to re-tag and re-check in all of our luggage because it had been mistagged in Minneapolis. Regardless both groups were able to safely make it to Trondheim where we met up with Tor and our bus driver for the week. We were fortunate enough to ride to Steinkjer, where we would be staying, in a beautiful coach bus reserved just for us. We were so excited when we finally arrived at our final destination in Steinkjer and were even more anxious to settle in our new apartments and rest after a very long and exhausting day of travel.

Eric Sanft - Intro

Hi, I'm Eric. I just finished my sophomore year majoring in fisheries and wildlife. I live in White Bear Lake Minnesota, a northeast suburb of St. Paul. This will be my first time truly traveling abroad. I've been interested in participating in a study abroad program but my schedule won't allow for an entire semester so this trip works perfectly. It also ties in closely with my major. My number one hobby/obsession is fishing. Specifically bass fishing. Many of my weekends are spent fishing tournaments when there isn't ice on the water.

Thumbnail image for eric profile pic.bmp (Norway templage vert)

Becky Mohn

I'm going to be a Junior this fall in CLA majoring in Political Science with a double minor in Spanish and Leadership. I'm originally from Woodbury, Minnesota and graduated from Woodbury Senior High School in 2008. I'm involved in a number of activities; I'm a CLA Student Senator and I serve on the Minnesota Student Association, I'm in Kappa Alpha Theta sorority where I'm the alternate Panhellenic delegate, I was a Welcome Week Leader in 2009 and I also plan to be one in 2010, and I'm a member of the Pre-Law Society. I'm really looking forward to the trip and getting to know everyone better.

Thumbnail image for becky.jpg (Norway templage vert)

Michael Cowger

Hi, my name is Michael and I'm a Junior studying entrepreneurial management and accounting here at the U. I grew up in Hutchinson Minnesota, a small town about an hour west of the twin cities, with my three younger brothers. I love to play hockey, softball and tennis. I love the outdoors! Hunting, fishing and camping are my favorites. I'm extremely excited for this experience. Basically, I just want to leave this place for a while and do something I have never done before with some people that I don't know. I hope it snows while we are there!

Britta Anderson

I am just finishing my sophomore year as an Environmental Science Policy and Management student. I am originally from Prior Lake, MN which is about 25 minutes south of the cities. I wanted to go on this study abroad session because my family has Norwegian heritage and I have always wanted to travel there! When I'm not busy with school I like to play hockey on the club team here at the U and have fun with my friends!!

Introduction -Sarah Olson

Hi, My name is Sarah and I will be a Senior at the U next year. I am majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Applied Economics. I grew up in Lamberton, a very small town in rural Southwest Minnesota. My family also has a cabin on Spirit Lake, Iowa, so it's not surprising that my favorite pass times include fishing, kayaking, and wakeboarding. I have been to Norway once before but I am excited to attend classes specific to the geographical and environmental traits of this region.

This picture was taken in the Batalden Islands, Norway. Some friends and myself ( on the left) had just climbed to one of the higher points on the Island, overlooking an ocean inlet.