Maria Amelie arrested in Lillehammer

Maria Amelie, a former Soviet Union citizen, who came to Norway 7 years ago was arrested yesterday, by no less than 8 police officers, and is now in custody awaiting deportation.
She was arrested in Lillehammer, after giving a speech in the Nansen School, which is named after one of Norway’s most famous humanitarians and asylum advocates Fridtjof Nansen. He got the Nobel peace prize for his work with Russians.

She has lived illegally in Norway for many years, since her parents failed to get asylum here. Last year she published a book about how it is to live illegally in Norway, without legal papers and freedom. She has, without a legal status, studied at the university in Trondheim, earning a master’s degree in science and technology, but is unable to get those papers too, since she can’t sign for them without presenting a passport or other legal documents with both her name and picture on it.

She was honored with the award of “Norwegian of the Year” by the magazine “Ny Tid” last year, and has been a very public figure the last few months, giving talks, helping out with festivals and giving interviews.

There has been demonstrations in at least 4 cities today, and there will definitely be a lot of noise around this issue, which is very awkward for the government, since the ruling parties don’t agree at all when it comes to issues like this.

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Norwegian roads

Want to go driving in Norway? Let me tell you about our roads. I’ll be quick. It only takes 3 letters. They are:


Ok, now that is out of the way.
No, seriously, they are bad. There is no way to deny it. Norwegian roads are hopeless, and there is no change in sight. Of course there are some stretches where it’s nice and comfy and straight and you are allowed to drive quite fast, but that is mostly around the big cities. If you want to travel around in Norway and actually see the country as it is it’s way better to take the train anyway. Norway is not habitable or filled with people, and traveling by train in Norway it’s very hard to think that our planet has so many people living on it, because they are definitely not living in Norway!

Here are some pictures I’ve taken of roads in Norway that are a bit special.

Trollstigen, a tourist road close to Åndalsnes in the nortwestern parts of Norway.

Atlanterhavsvegen, also in the northwestern parts.


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Celebrations in Norway

Norway is not a country of big celebrations. This is a list of the days where our flag should be raised and hurra’s to be said:

January 1st: New Years day (the day of hangovers)
January 21st: Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s birthday

February 6th: The Sami people’s day
February 21st: King Harald’s birthday

May 1st: Labor day (a day off to work in the garden, err, to demonstrate against everything…)
May 8th: Liberation day
May 17th: Read all about it here

June 7th: another Liberation day

July 20th: Crown prince Haakon’s birthday

August 19th: Crown princess Mette-Marit’s birthday

December 24/25th: Christmas, read all about it here
December 31st: New Years eve

We also have a lot of Christian so called celebrations like Easter, but this is mostly regarded by this atheist country as days off work that should be used for recreation and a trip to the hytte, fixing the garden, relaxing or go on longer holidays.

The shops insist that we celebrate both Halloween and Valentines day (which have absolutely no traditional value to us), and Mothers Day and Fathers Day are somewhat marked in some families. These four days are also embraced by the kindergartens because they need something to do for the kids.

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Photos: Norwegian mountains

This is photos I’ve taken all over Norway, of mountains, or on mountains.

North West in Norway

Between Molde and Åndalsnes

On a mountain, and another one

North in Trøndelag

If you want to see sights like this for yourself your best bet is a trip to Åndalsnes, in Møre og Romsdal county. It’s in the northwestern parts of Norway, with lots of wonderfully Norwegian sights and attractions for tourists.

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After reading the entry Cities, yourkitty wanted to know where we got alcohol where I live! Well… Oh boy. Norway is strange.

You can get some alcohol in our “city” (I strongly despise calling tiny Moelv a city…). All the normal grocery stores have got beer for sale, but not after 8PM on weekdays and 6PM on Saturdays. On Sundays you are not allowed to buy beer in the stores, and most stores are not allowed to be open anyway, because Sundays are kinda holy in this very unholy land. No big store is allowed to be open on Sundays, so the merchants have resorted to building small versions of their store which are only used on Sundays.

Selling alcohol other than beer (and some sissy drinks in bottles that also are available when and where you buy beer) is monopoly based in Norway. We have what we call “Vinmonopolet” which translates directly to “wine monopoly”. Of course it’s not only wine, but anything you would like. You can also order stuff online. The closest Vinmonopol where I live is in between where I live and the city closest(I’m not really into calling that place a city either, but it’s much bigger!), about 10km away from the city center. Now the other city (*urgh*) has gotten it’s own Vinmonopol, but we will not get one, no way. The one we have got is “too close”.

As you probably have imagined, the Vinmonopols are not open on Sundays, and close early all other days. They are also closed on election day, and no beer is allowed to be sold that day, because… eh… people of course drink all alcohol they get their hands on at once and no one can get drunk that day if it’s closed. Or something like that.

And yes. It’s VERY EXPENSIVE! That’s why Norwegian shop as maniacs in Sweden when they are over there (going to Sweden to shop even got it’s own name, “Harrytur”, don’t ask me to translate ;P) even though Sweden also have a monopoly on alcohol (things are just not taxed to death), and in Tax Free shops in airports and on boats.

Of course you can drink alcohol in bars and pubs and restaurants, but the rules are strict, and it’s not allowed to sell alcohol after a certain time at night. These limits are set by the local governments and differ for city to city, but around 2-3AM is the normal. That way every place with a serving permit close their doors at once, and everyone have to go home at once and stand in the same line to get a taxi.

You also have the option of making your own alcohol, which is illegal as long as it’s not wine or beer (that’s quite easy and safe to do), but is still done. Many Norwegian houses have been blown up because of an exploding distillery in the basement. And the end result usually taste horrible.

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Russ and their celebration called Russefeiring

Kids in Norway go to 3 types of school until they are done with their basic education. First they go to Barneskole, which translates directly to Kids School for the first 7 years. Then it’s off to Ungdomsskole for 3 years, which translates to Youth School. The last 2 or 3 years are done in Videregående, Upper secondary school, which either prepares you for more studies or gives you a profession that often ends after a year or two as a payed student in a firm that teaches you the rest of what you need to know to be able to do the work on your own, or a 3rd year at school with hardly anything else than relevant projects. Videregående is optional, but most Norwegians go trough with it.

In your last year in Videregående you become what is called Russ. This is a celebration of the fact that you are done with many years of school. But it’s really very stupid, because it happens, and is done, a month or so before the final exams. There are a huge number of traditions connected to the Russefeiring, and it involves special clothing in a color that represents what kind of studies you chose in Videregående, a LOT of drinking, partying and special tasks that range from fun to idiotic. The Russefeiring usually disrupts the whole school for the last few weeks up until the 17th of May, when it all ends. Many of the Russ are too partied out to even take part of the celebrations of the people on the 17th of May, because of the traditional drink-until-you-drop traditions on the evening of 16th of May.

But the biggest problem with the Russefeiring is the fact that those who go all in also go all out of what happens at school, and they fail their exams, and have to go back to Videregående the next year, usually in a expensive private school to take the failed subjects all over again.

And yes; I took part in the Russefeiring myself, I was actually the president of all of them in my school, but it didn’t affect my exam =)

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Norwegian facination for the USA?

From feral at

I do have a question. I noticed when I visited, and also since, that the Norwegians have a fascination for the USA – where does that come from? I remember meeting a guy who wanted me to drive him to and from a party (home made booze) because he was drunk. His car was a 50’s model Yank Tank and the roads were so narrow.

I don’t think Norwegians have an unhealthy fascination for Americans, mostly we look at the country and shake our heads, especially when they talk about health care like it’s the devil. But we do watcha lot of American made television series, and when you see something you like on TV you try to get a hold of it.

Norway has no car production (unless you want to call a tiny plastic electric thing on wheels a car), so they are all imports. Car safety is a big issue, especially on our winter roads. Having a big car you can feel safe inside, knowing it’s a lot of steel between you and the rest of the world is a good thing. Me and my husband has no less than 3 old Mercedes cars from the 80ties, and they make us feel both comfortable and safe.

Being comfortable is also an issue for many, driving in Norway takes it’s time, because our roads are narrow and old, and the speed limits are very low. The fastest you are allowed to drive in Norway is 100km per hour, and that is only on roads with at least 2 lanes in each direction. We also have to drive around all those great fjords, and Norway is so long and narrow that getting from the south tip to the north tip takes several days. Being comfortable in the car seat is a big plus.

Our roads are not safe. But even though we have so much money the government does not want to spend a lot on fixing the roads. It’s hard to explain why, and I can’t say I agree with those in office right now.

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What can you get for 1 US dollar in Norway?

The short answer is: not much.

A postcard? No.
Stamp to send your postcard anywhere (even inside Norway)? No.
A bottle of water to drink? No.
A spool of thread? No.
Any fresh baked goods that is made from more than just flour and water? Maybe, if there is a sale.
A scratch card? No.
A bar of chocolate? A very small one, like a Kinder Maxi (hopeless name btw, nothing maxi about it), yes.
A kinder egg? No. Not even if you are 3 and have one dollar each, a 3 pack is not your salvation.
A jar of taco sauce? No.
A full size wax candle? Some places actually!
Any kind of toy? No.

What it would cost to print a dollar bill? Probably not, even if you bought supplies to make a billion of them, not in the Norwegian open market with Norwegian labour costs.

As you might have guessed; we have no dollar stores ;P We used to have some kind of 2 dollar stores, but they also had to have more expensive items to fill their shelves.

If you want to see more in this list please leave a comment =) I’ll add them as soon as possible!

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Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize is given out by a committee of five people chosen by the Norwegian Parliament, but it is not a political prize. The people are chosen from any and all political parties, and they are free to choose any of the nominees as the winner, without the Norwegian government having a say. No one except the committee (and 2-3 people that know it the day before to make arrangements) knows who will win. The committee can choose from a list of nominees. Only a few people in the world can nominate someone for the peace prize, mostly politicians, advisers, former members of the committee and professors.
The committee can also refuse to give the prize to anyone if they don’t find anyone that they see fit, or their preferred candidate that year died before they could announce their choice.

Sometimes it makes a huge impact when someone gets the peace prize (Muhammad Yunus 2006, for his micro loan initiative), sometimes it hardly makes any noise (Martti Ahtisaari 2008, for his lifetime of peace negotiations), sometimes it’s surprising beyond belief (Barak Obama 2009, who saw that one coming?) and sometimes it can be damaging for Norway (Liu Xiaobo 2010). The committee does not care about any damages Norway might suffer, either on the budget (the safety budget in Oslo in December 2009 was insane) or international relations between Norway and other countries (China did NOT appreciate the prize in 2010).

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Visiting Trondheim

Trondheim is a town with about 170.000 inhabitants, with a regional inhabitants number of 240.000. Trondheim is located in the middle of Norway, in Sør-Trøndelag county. If you visit Trondheim you may want to visit these attraction:

– Nidaros Chatedral, Nidarosdomen.

– Trondheim Museum of arts.

– Lerkendal football stadium, home to Rosenborg BK.

– Munkholmen island.

– City Syd shopping center.

If you want to know something about a city I have not written about or more about one I have; just leave a comment and ask!

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