Viking Laws with some suggested updates

image I have been writing lots of blog posts in my journal and I am behind in posting them. To catch up I offer this early this morning:

From a postcard purchased at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo (a must see).

Viking Laws 1. Be Brave and Aggressive Be direct Grab all opportunities Use varying methods of attack Be versatile and agile Attack one target at a time Don't plan everything in detail Use top quality weapons (or technological tools) 2. Be Prepared Keep weapons (or tech equipment) in good condition Keep in shape Find good battle comrades Agree on important points Choose one chief 3. Be a Good Merchant Find out what the market needs Do not promise what you can't keep Do not demand overpayment Arrange things so you can return (do business another day) 4. Keep the Camp in Order Keep things tidy and organized Arrange enjoyable activities which strengthen the group Marke sure everybody does useful work Consult all members of the group for advice

Tevis and I really like this code.  The Vikings were highly successful for over 300 years. We feel like somehow these values were passed down in our DNA, even if our family were more likely farmers from the Lillehammer area in inland Norway (north of Oslo). 

Oslo Yarn Crawl

yarn store in Oslo

I am going to launch a new travel blog shortly after I return from France. It will be a platform for marketing very short travel books for special interests.  One series will be "The Hip and Chic Knitter Goes to..."  Norway will be the first destination.  Today I did a yarn crawl in Oslo as part of my research. Tevis had work to do at the hotel so I ventured off on my own.  It was the first time I navigated without him and after a few minutes of disorientation I sorted myself out. The subway train was a challenge because I could not find the westerly direction entrance, then I could not get the ticket kiosk to work. The lovely front desk clerk (in parrot costume) had said that no one buys a ticket but I was nervous about not following the "rules".  Oh well, I tried, guess I will travel like a true Oslan.

I found a blog post by Lina Marveng (www.marveng-puckett.com/wordpress/2011/12/yarn-shops-in-oslo/) that listed four yarn stores and a design store.  The first one listed was quite a way into the suburbs, and a chain store in a mall, so I opted out. The next one was by the same train stop for the Vigeland Sculpture Garden (one of my must sees), so I set off.

I asked for a lot of help and I found the Tjorven yarn shop just outside the Majorstuen train station at Vlakyriegata 17. The clerks were friendly and the yarn lucious. They did not offer any patterns in English (they call them recipes). So no sales today. I realized too late that it would have been smart to look for some patterns on Ravelry before I went shopping. The store clerk showed me a website www.yarndesigns.com that has language choices including English. These are the same Norwegian inspired (modern, not traditional) patterns featured in Drops magazine.

I walked about 5 minutes to a sandwich place for a quick bite and then another 5 minutes to the Vigeland Sculpture Garden. Wow! The sculptures were an impressive body of Gustav Vigeland's life work. At one point I caught up with a couple from England that had their own tour guide and I learned that Vigeland had two wives, the second of whom wrote most of what we know of the artist's biography. About 3 years before he died he ordered her to leave him and he finished his life with a paid nurse. Just an example of the stuff you overhear when you travel alone.

Vigeland Sculpture Garden

I took the train back to the National Theater stop and checked out the shop Norway Designs. Linda Marvang feels it is a must see. It does not carry any wool, and does have a lot of interesting modern Norwegian jewelry, clothing, paper good, china and glassware. I was not super impressed. It is not far from the port where the cruise ships dock so I imagine it can do a brisk business. I walked to my next destination via the Karl Johan's Gate and next to the Hard Rock Cafe is a Dale of Norway sweater shop. You might know Dale yarns (sold in the United States). I have always pronounced it Dale like Yale, and learned that it should be Dah-ley. This shop does not sell yarn but it does have high quality traditional or classic Norwegian sweaters. No bargains here.

The next three shops are all a relatively easy walk from where the cruise ships dock. If you only have a short shore leave it is possible to nip into one of these stores.  Strikkedilla is in a large multi-story mall called Oslo City. It is a smaller shop but packed with bright colored yarn and has lots of good ideas for knitting for children.

Kitty-corner to Oslo City is an old fashioned shopping mall called Gunerius. Bogerud Tekstil is actually just called Bogerud on the outside of the shop on the first floor (ground floor then up the escalator). It reminded me of Michael's or JoAnn's in the United States. If you needed some supplies you left at home or some acrylic yarn, this is your store. A hip and chic knitter will be disappointed.

Saving the best for last, Husfliden is in the basement (or underground floor) of the department store Glasmagasinet at Stortorvet 9.  They had all kinds of good stuff.  I discovered Oleana knit wear when I was doing my pre-trip reearch and this shop carries their line. These are modern and beautiful designs. The prices are steep--$100 US for a scarf or $250 US for a sweater. The shop also has a wonderful traditional Norwegian costumes and jewelry. The yarn was a real treat. And they carried some patterns in English.  Does a hip and chic knitter make a tradtional Norwegian pull-over? Yes, in non-traditional colors using Rauma Mitu (50% alpaca, 50% wool).  At 39 Krone a skein ($6.81 US) it was a good buy.

Norway can be one of the most expensive countries to visit in Europe, so I was very pleased to find wool prices a comparative bargain.  Shops are both plentiful and the ones mentioned here carry a good variety of quality yarn. It is good to be in a country where a lot of people still knit. There were some awesome patterns, if I only spoke Norwegian.


Traditional Norwegian Costumes

Oh the Places We Will Go

The sing-song refrain from the Dr. Seuss book "Oh the places we will go," kept playing in my head as we walked through the Amsterdam airport. So many different languages overheard, so many different nationalities represented, and so many different destinations announced over the loudspeaker: it is stimulating. The airplane coffee was really bad so I also found some stimulation at the Starbucks. Can you tell how happy it made me? We flew direct from SFO on KLM and had a couple of hours to get through security and catch our connection to Oslo. The Dutch security was more restrictive than Homeland Security in some ways--like the overly familiar pat down. Once through we enjoyed the Dutch-i-ness of the place with the celebration of tourists and Rembrandt. It reminded me that on my top 10 places I will go someday is Amsterdam of the flower show and mart.



Then on to Oslo and the complete lack of security; no one even checked our passports at the airport. The super sleek express train carried us from the airport to the central rail station a few blocks from our hotel. It is great to travel with Tevis because of his natural sense of direction. We are staying at one of the Thon hotels (Norwegian chain pronounced "tone"). Our hotel is promoting a children's program and the young woman at the front desk in the parrot costume proved to be most helpful with her suggestions and directions.

I went across the street to the mall to find a toothbrush. I found one of the knitting shops on my list and was quite impressed. I also met a couple from Tasmania who were stuggling with the ATM machine. We figured it out and had a lovely chat. (Tevis rolled his eyes when I got back and told him I met some people from Australia--only took me 30 minutes on my own to bond with total strangers!) The grocery store was fascinating. Where else can you find such a wide selection of ground nut butters (Nutella!) And tinned fish on one aisle? 


It is taking a while to shift into vacation mode. I have been doing some follow up work emails and winding down. Got to get my head out of work and into Norway.  Watching Tour de France on television in Norwegian actually helped!