Adventures in Norway, with a comforting taste of home

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By: Rachel Shenk

Rachel Shenk

It’s a foggy and misty morning in Trondheim, Norway. As we climb the steep road leaving the river and the cobblestone street below, we smell the sea air and enter a green space where school children are at play and university students gather.

The path to Fort Kristiansten winds around the hill and we pass morning walkers and joggers as we wend our way to the whitewashed stone fortress. Once on top, what a view.

Despite the low hanging clouds, we get our first look down on this city of the North. Nestled into the fjord, it is surrounded by pine covered hills that are speckled with houses.

The fjord extends to infinity and along it, little coves carve the shoreline. The Nivelda river surrounds the heart of the city where the solid Nideros Cathedral stands as a beacon for pilgrims. Every view we take in, every corner our eyes see include water, wood and stone.

For this vacation, we decided to have an adventure instead of relaxing at our usual spots. As we flew into Trondheim, little did we know the pleasures we would find. As the plane descended to the airport through a narrow passage between stony mountains, we had our first thrill. Once settled in our apartment, the thrills never stopped.

Beautifully coloured wooden warehouses line the river. Friendly eateries and cafés spill out onto the harbour. Sunshine meets the sea on our 20-minute ferry ride to Munkholmen Island, where our toes soak in the icy cold fjord water.

From the city, the tram takes us up into the hills, where trails to hike abound. And throughout the city, we encounter little gems: a multi-generational group of Trondheimers in their traditional folk dress gathering for a baptism at the entrance to the Cathedral, a free organ recital in that same Cathedral, an inventors’ fair on the large square, a rock concert inside the square of the old Archbishop’s palace, a ski museum (Norwegians are crazy about their winter sport athletes).

Here the food is centered around fish and potatoes with good doses of cream thrown in. Plum cake, muesli and cloud berries are also part of the diet. But as any international traveler knows, one can find almost anything anywhere these days.

We have our daily dose of Freia chocolate, the Norwegian rich milk chocolate that is available in every store. And drink our share of coffee, a very popular pastime.

Through it all, we continue to breathe in that fresh coastal air and the constant scent of pine and wood. We soak in a culture that seems mostly happy, bike friendly and repeats the mantra, “No worries.” We imagine what it might be like to live here, where society takes care of its own and life is designed for the living. And we think of our back home…

One night we make our favourite meatloaf, using the typical Norwegian flatbread, and find comfort in the familiar, though it tastes extra special with the fresh ground beef.

I’ll leave that recipe with you today. And share a couple of Norwegian ones in the next couple of weeks!

Favourite Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground sirloin
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. regular rolled oats ( or crushed Wasa bread)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sauce:
  • 3/4 c. ketchup
  • 11/2 t. mustard
  • 3 T. brown sugar

Directions

  1. Mix the oats, egg, milk, onion and salt and pepper in a bowl. Let rest for ten minutes or so.
  2. Add the ground beef and mix well with your hands. Shape into a loaf. Place in a 9″x11″ glass dish. Bake at 375 degrees for one hour, or until inside temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  3. While the meatloaf is baking, mix the sauce up. Halfway through the baking, pour the sauce on top of the meatloaf letting drizzle down the sides.
  4. Slice and serve with boiled new potatoes and fresh parsley sprinkled on top.
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