Posted by: Sarah | November 26, 2010

A Weekend Of Norwegian Hospitality…in Hamar

Some time ago Eliot and I were lucky enough to be asked to stay with a Norwegian family to experience true Norwegian hospitality.  Our friends, Line and Anders, organised the whole itinerary and last weekend we travelled up to stay with Line’s parents in Hamar – 2 hours north of Oslo.  Once there we also met up with Eric, Line’s brother, who also came for the weekend.  It was so much fun and gave us a true taste of what it’s really like to live in Norway. 

First stop:  Rica Hotel in Hamar
Line’s father manages the hotel and he invited us all to have lunch there.  In true “Jante Law” style, Line didn’t quite give us the full story on this hotel.  We were expecting to see a small B&B type establishment…not quite the 170 room complex with full conferencing facilities, heated indoor/outdoor pool and an a la carte dining restaurant!  It even came complete with a nuclear bunker that was built during the cold war for emergency protection.  Nevertheless, the food was delicious and it was great to get our first “taste” of local Norwegian cuisine. 

The Viking Ship
I was clearly missing something here.  For weeks Line had been telling me about this viking ship in Hamar.  I figured it was some kind of statue that perhaps we could all climb in and have a go at being vikings.  I kept asking if it were life-size and where they dug it up from because I’ve seen them in a museum on Bygdøy.  Now I realise why Line looked perplexed most of the time.  The Viking Ship is a major attraction in Hamar.  It’s a speed skating arena built for the 1994 winter olympics and we were lucky enough to see the skaters in action.  It’s not until you get up close to these guys that you realise just how fast they go. 

The Norwegian Quiz
After the Viking ship we took a trip to see a good friend of Line’s and her ultra cute baby Jonas.  After an hour or so we made our way back to the house where Line’s father cooked up his speciality dish – peppered beef steaks with sauce, dauphanoise potatoes and veg.  Yum!  I figured it was only polite to exchange some cultural tastes and made a bucket load of English mulled wine.  Slight issue was that we didn’t take enough brandy so Eliot stood over the pan almost crying as I poured some of their ultra special limited edition Courvoisier cognac into the mix.  I did get permission and it did taste wonderful.  

After dinner we had a quiz…not all of us…just Eliot and I.  Line and Anders had prepared it to test our knowledge on Norway.  The reason being that after 18 months there are somethings that we really should know…like the name of the king, the queen and the crown prince – 2 of which Eliot got wrong.  Shocking!  It was brilliant fun and we did need help on some sections (like the Norwegian word for Octopus) but in the end I won (hurrah) and Eliot, as the loser, had to drink Aquavit (a strong Norwegian alcoholic drink) – true punishment.  Have a go at the quiz yourself here.

Går på Tur
The next morning we made matpakke (packed lunch).  I’m not going to write too much about matpakke here because it’s odd enough to deserve its own blog post.  Once ready we were off to “ga pa tur” alongside Lake Mjøsa – the biggest  lake in Norway and it’s HUGE.  You actually feel like you’re standing on the coastline of Norway.  It goes on for miles…literally.  As we continued slip sliding along over the icy paths, where Eliot nearly took a tumble narrowly missing my face with his flailing arms, we made it to the Norwegian railway museum and Domkirkeodden (an old medieval church).  Unfortunately both were shut to visitors but it was fascinating just walking around viewing the sites.  



A Dish From The North – Sodd

After the walk we got back and Line’s mum cooked up a traditional northern dish called SODD.   It’s like a meatball soup dish served with carrots and potatoes.  It’s quite tasty and I’m told pretty easy to make so that has to go on my list of things to cook when in Norway.   We had such a wonderful time in Hamar and felt completely at home.  I think that we may have improved our Norwegian too!  We thank Line, Anders and her family for such a wonderful experience and making us feel so welcome.  We really do look forward to visiting Hamar again next year to see the sunny side of the city.


  1. Thanks, Sarah! : ) We loved having you there!! And look forward to taking you back there in the summertime! : )

    • Oh thanks Line…such brilliant fun and great memories

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