A little bit of everything OR Why is it getting cold already?

Yesterday morning it happened. I heard how Martin got ready for work. Suddenly there was a happy cheering. My husband is not really an early bird, and cheering isn’t one of the things he normally does at this time of the day. Soon afterwards he entered our bedroom with a huge smile and reported: “It is freezing outside!”


Hello, dear readers, great to meet you here again. So, it is that time of the year again. After a short, way too short, trip in the warmer regions of the thermometer, we are now on our way down again.

I. DO. NOT. WANT. THAT. Do you listen, weather fairy? I don’t want snow or frost or cold! – In all likelihood my wish will not be granted. So I declared the cold season for officially opened today.


Great shopping success, right? Thanks to the ever so helpful group „Where in Oslo“ at facebook, I learned that XXL, a shop for everything related to sport, has an awesome offer: Three pairs of merino-wool-socks for only NOK 19,-!! That would be really cheap!! Off I was, out of the door like a flash of lightning! Well, the awesome offer was sold out, but I managed to get myself socks for NOK 19,- each, which was still very reasonable and also one set of very charming long johns. Really sexy! And because I was already on fire, I also bought myself one pair of the probably coziest slippers in the history of mankind. Bring it on, winter!

There is not a lot I can tell you this week. The company I work for appointed a new sales team and they bring a lot of interesting orders. That is great, but because I now spent almost all day at my desk, I can’t go out and explore Norway. So unfortunately, this week, there is nothing to tell.

So, I would toooootally understand, if you get bored and want to leave my blog. For now.


No hard feelings.




Wow, you are stubborn. Hm, okay…well after my cake-desaster from last week I did not try to make another kransekake, but I made some delicious cup cakes and a vegan cheese-cake. That one was a real hit and people at the fleamarket at the german church loved it. It consisted of two different kinds of tofu – the silky and the regular one – and a bag full of blackberries. Delicious!! I have the recipe only in German, but maybe you still wanna have it? Here it is. Right now I am trying to be as vegan as possible, but I struggle to find things to put on my bread and like it. The selection here in Norway is small and I am now looking for websites to order from.

A very good alternativ to buy milk, eggs and cheese from happy animals is the bondens marked, the farmer’s market in Oslo. We have one directly on the corner, so every second Saturday we go there and have a look. I stopped buying the normal eggs a decade ago, but here in Norway I am suspicious if “ecological” and “free range” means the same as in the rest of Europe. At bondens market, there is no question about it…unless the farmers went thorugh a lot of work to stage all the pictures and products to cheat on me. Next week I am visiting one of the farms…to see how happy the chickens really are!! 🙂

On Sunday we discovered a bondens marked on a walk around Bygdoy – at the royal farm! King Harald and Queen Sonja spend their holidays and week ends often on one of their summer residences, one of which is situated on the nice peninsula of Bygdoy, only minutes away from the city centre. On the other side of their humble abode lies the royal farm with horses and cattles. It was nice to explore the barns, meet some pot-bellied-pigs and some crazy looking chicken. Outside there where many nice stalls with fresh vegetable, cake, spices and so on. I bought some beetroots, carrots and celery and the wonderful smell of almost freshly harvested vegetable stayed with us on our way back home. Next day I cooked a vegetarian Borscht  out of it and it tasted like autumn and looked beautifully.

Hm, the weather tries to charme me right now – the sun shines brightly, but I have to work. Today I found my first horse chestnuts. Martin and I have a ritual: We always keep the first chestnut we find as a lucky charm for the coming winter. I don’t know about you, but I have to collect the nice, shiny fruits, whenever I see them. In France street vendors appeared in early octobre to sell roasted marons (chestnuts). Although I am not a big fan of marons, I liked to warm my fingers at the nice warm paper-bags. Here in Norway, our fireplace will keep us warm and cozy soon. That is another sign of the approaching colder season: Our supermarked started to sell wood again – now we only have to clear out our basement to make room for wood.

Does anybody need around 100 moving boxes??

But I am ready for winter and if everything failed, will write myself warm here at my desk. This week the topics were really different! I always say, there is almost nothing I wouldn’t write about and so I learned this week a lot about brown cheese, Mitsubishi, Chrysler and Lexus and travelled in my mind to Marseille and Nantes. Not bad, eh? 🙂 At least it never gets boring. The south of France is still waiting for me right now and therefore I have to say good bye for today. – Before that, I will probable make a quick detour to the bathroom and shave my head!! Do you know what happens if you let your very short hair grow longer? There comes a moment, when you look absolutely terrible. That’s the state I am in now. But wait, my friend Britta gave me a very nice present in May, as if she knew already what was about to happen: She gave me a hand-knitted cap!! I start to wear that beautiful bonnet from now on til my hair is long enough to become a bob. 3 to 4 months, I reckon.

I wish you all a wonderful week, enjoy the autumn (or spring), get in the mood for Halloween and make yourself comfortable with a mug of tea, some cookies and a good book!

Ha det bra,



Hoist the colours! OR We take a boattrip on the Oslofjord…



There is chaos in my head this week and I will probably quote Macbeth on Jette’s birthday party tomorrow, tell my theatre group the history of Volvo on Monday and write the latest freelance order for a car dictionary in the secret language, which I invented for Jette’s party.

Hello, dear readers, how nice to meet you again! I am still in “summer-mood” or already hibernating – whatever it is, I am confused after the two-months-summerbreak. But now I will focus and write this blog.

This is the blog, right?


Today, we go into the water.


Ok, ok, ON the water. Let me take you back in time. Way, way back. It was last Tuesday. Yr.no, the norwegian weather forecast, promised a cloudy but rainless day – perfect condition for a cruise on the fjord. The most important question was:

What do we wear?

„We are on sea, so there will be lots of wind,” warned my mother. Several kombinations were tested and rejected – some seemed more for hot weather, while others equipped us for an expedition to the North Pole. We finally established the perfect combination and, came next morning, were ready to row.

Ok, we didn’t need to row, but it sounded funny 🙂

The boats of the Oslo Båtservice start from Aker Brygge and that was where we headed on the cloudy but rainless Tuesday. We were way to early, like usually, and in desperate need of coffee, also like usually. Cafe Skansen was the place of choice and we immersed ourselves in reading the menu, when…..flutsch!!!….something soft and brown landed right in front of us.


I saw up and discovered the dangerous rear end of a fat seagull, which hovered happily – and now several grams lighter – on a branch above. We decided to retreat and changed tables. Our move confused the waiter, who had to make a sharp U-turn with our coffees to reach us at our new table. After a short moment, he understood the problem and laughed loudly. After an energetic cleaning, he declared the table as a hazard zone and thanked us. No idea, what for. We still had to pay the coffee.

Next stop: Harbour. Unfortunately, the sailing boats had already ended their season for the two-hours-cruise, but the little ferry with the colorful flags was nice, too. As Germans we stood very early in the queue – of course! We wanted to have the best seats! At the end our group was about 20 people, mostly Germans, so it got crowded, because everybody wanted the best spot. The sky had finally dismissed the plans of Yr.no and changed from cloudy into cloudless sunshine. There was only a gentle breeze, when the boat started and left the harbour.


First, we travelled to the opera house, which fascinates me every time. Then we passed some of the smaller Fjord islands like Hovedøya and Gressholmen with their pretty beaches, red and yellow wood-houses and large forests. It is almost impossible to buy a property here: Like family jewels the summer cottages are handed from one generation to another and only cheer luck – or estranged families – will make it possible for foreigners to buy here. Well, but looking at them is possible and that is, what I did. I tried to take a lot of pictures, but had to handle a situation: In front of us sat a young couple, which was very much in love. Whenever they stopped kissing, she pointed out the beauty of the scenery to him. The poor guy must have had a serious eye-condition, because it was not enough from her to say: “Oh look, what a pretty island!” NO! She had to point it out and often in the precise moment, when I was on my way to snap a picture of exactly that island.


Apart from her, our fellow travellers were civilised but they constantly chatted above the interesting comments from our nice guide. That is okay because this provides me with a perfect excuse, why I did not tell you more interesting bits about the tour. I simply did not hear them!!! We rocked softly over the waves to Nesodden, a peninsula south of Aker Brygge. It takes around an hour to reach Oslo via street, that is why most people take the car ferry from Nesodden to Aker Brygge every day. On the west coast we found a row of nice small bath houses. Once upon a time, it was not allowed to bathe publicly in the fjord. That, of course, made it way more interesting. So people built bath houses with a twist: A hole in the ground allowed people to glide secretly into the waves and enjoy the water. Later, while the prohibition was in full swing, the bath houses of Nesodden were used to smuggle alcohol to the thirsty people.


Our little boat arrived in the bay of Sandvika, where I took a splendid tour on the frozen water in March. Now sailors enjoyed the waters, while happy owners of beautiful villas sat in the sunshine on their patios. Our guide explained that the bay does freeze in the winter solid because of its protected location within the three islands and the high percentage of freshwater. I got goosebumps when I imagined, that I walked over these waters!


Strong waves greeted us back on the open fjord. It was shortly after 2 pm and the Color Line ferry to Kiel had just left the harbour. She was followed by the Cruise ship with the kissing mouth Aida – she also on her way back to Germany. We waved across the water and travelled back to the place, which these two had left a couple of minutes ago. On our left side, the Statoil Building appeared and we called Martin in his office, but could not spot him.




Shortly after we arrived back at Aker Brygge and were greeted by a fat seagull. We left the boat and took immediate cover! Finally, the air canon left her spot and flew back to Cafe Skansen. This time, we emerged unharmed! What a funny end of the day!


This is it for today, dear readers! Come to Oslo and take a tour on the fjord yourself – it is worth it!

I wish you all a great week, with new adventures, happy trips and a smile on your face!

Ha det bra,



Oslo – The City of Losers? OR Help, where is my bath towel?


@Kristen Nicole

Bjarne, a grey cat, looks at me from posters, which decorate almost every tree in my street. I learn that he is 13 years old, loves to play and cuddle and did not come back home for six days. Another cat disappeared! – What is wrong in this city?

Hi again, lovely readers, how nice of you to come back! I have not the slightest idea what is going on in Oslo, because I never saw so many posters of missing animals and things before. Osloeaner seem to lose everything: Dogs, cats, birds, keys and last week somebody lost a bath towel in Frognerpark and searched for it via poster.

Really? You want your towel back? Who knows, where it was in the meantime…

No thanks. Yuck.

I am impressed how professionell the missing-posters look. (I am very sorry, but I racked my brain for the right word…unsuccessfully. How do you call these papers with a picture of a lost dog ?? HELP!) Thanks to modern technology the poster for Bjarne was a colour print with a picture in high definition and a QR-code! Q what? You know, these black and white pictures which can store information.

english blog

Can you read it?

I immediately get a stomach ache, when I see a missing animal poster, because I imagine how the sad humans sit at home, waiting for their beloved animal to return. Worse even to think about an animal, which lies somewhere, injured and desperate and unable to reach home. And because a lot of animals disappear in Frogner, I constantly suffer from stomach ache and have to ask myself first: Where is my hot-water bottle? and then: What is wrong here? Hovers a bad energy over our neighbourhood and affects the human-animal-relationship? Have people in Frogner the tendency to invite freedom fighting animals in their home? Or are there other reasons – reasons beyond our imagination?

Let us analyse the possibilities:

  • Bad Energy?

Bollocks. The Angel Institute of Princess Märtha Louise lies in the neighborhood. We are covered, thank you.

  • Excessive need of freedom?

Ok. Maybe. But why are the animals determined to escape? Is it a genetical thing or do they just not like the place they live? Honestly, animals are not so hard to handle: Feed them, love them to bits, respect them and they are happy. I suspect they had enough food, so maybe a lack of attention is the reason. Well, in that case, I, too, would pack my cat nip and leave. Bye bye. But it can turn into a distaster, when a determined act of freedom is met by a lack of navigationary skills. Imagine, that a neglected cat decides one day: That’s it! Enough is enough! and leaves. Not for real, of course, just to show what it would be like without him, how they would miss him and be sad and … and all of a sudden he looks around and thinks:

Damn. Where the heck am I?

  • Aliens?

Let us not get into the discussion if they exist or not. (Of course they do!) Let me better ask you: What do they want in Oslo? Of all places? Visit the family? Because, honestly, Norwegians do seem a bit alien to other people and maybe they are actually the bridge between us and E.T.,  who knows? But that still does not explain, why Aliens land here in Frogner and have nothing better to do than to kidnap my neighbours cat.


Maybe they needed lunch.



All this rambling about freedom and aliens leads to nothing, so instead I will offer you some real advice. In case you ever come to Oslo and lose something, a cat or a cashmere sweater, call the following places:

  • Hittegodskontor: The police, the airports and the transport companies Ruter (T-Bane, bus, tram) and NSB (trains) have their own lost and found offices. The police one is at Grønlandsleiret 44. Ruter has his at Nationaltheatre and all things, which were lost on a train, can be hopefully found at the Lost and Found at Oslo S, the central station.
  • FOD:  The local animal shelter at Enebakkveien. They will take good care of your beloved pet until you arrive.
  • Astarte Inspiration: Princess Märtha Louise offers in Riddervoltsgate 9 classes to learn how to encounter your own guardian angel. Excellent! Maybe he has an idea, where the lost towel is.

Search, and you will find. There seems to be a development in the case of Bjarne, my missing neighboring cat. Since yesterday, all posters inclusive QR-Codes are gone. Did the aliens take them to cover up their crime? Well, I don’t know! What now?? Here I am, stomach ache for several days and all and now: Nothing, no information, silence. Did Bjarne simply came back one evening, satisfied and fat? Did a neighbour return from a three-day-fishing-trip, opened his garage and out staggered sweet Bjarne and demanded to be brought home? Or did the animal shelter call, because an unoriented cat was found on the night bus without a ticket?

I have no idea.

But I believe that the story ended well.

I believe that with all my heart.

That’s it already for today, dear readers! If any of you have an idea why animals disappear in my neighborhood, use the comment box. I am excited to read your ideas!! Until next friday then, have a nice week, never lose your humor or anything equally important and enjoy the week-end!

Ha det,



Welcome to Sorgenfrigata! OR Meet the neighbors and hear what’s beeping…


I love to sit on our tiny balcony and see what’s happening on our street. There is always something going on. Something to see. Something to hear. Sometimes even to smell, especially when the food-photographer from No 9 bakes her motives herself or the boygroup-flat from next door is tired of ordering pizza and decides that cooking cannot be that difficult…It is never boring in the Sorgenfrigata. Welcome to my street 🙂

Hello dear readers, nice to meet here again. Let me take you on a little tour in the street where we live here in Oslo. Let me explain, where exactly…

“Hei hei!”


Well, that are two of the boys from next door. They seem to be harmless but beware: The walls are shaking when they start to party and after a certain amount of alcohol they only grunt to each other like pigs. That is kind of entertaining.

Our street goes off directly from Bogstadveien, Norway’s biggest shopping street. That is a very dangerous place to live!! Imagine your favorite book shop only meters away and a lot of other nice shops right around the block. (Well you are certainly right: Nowadays we have almost every shop available online, so as long as we are online, there is a danger of buying something. But I only buy books and DVDs online, so for me REAL shops are still dangerous :)..)

Here in our part of Sorgenfrigata, we have three shops: an ecological hairdresser, a second-hand-fashion-shop and a KIWI supermarket. It is great to have a supermarket so close by. So great, that we even suffer – without complaining – through the early morning and late evening deliveries. In the last weeks, however,  our patience was tested by a series of not very talented temporary drivers who needed hours to park the huge truck backwards in front of the delivery door. We needed patience, because what do trucks do, as long as you put in “Reverse”?

Exactly, they beep.

And beep.

And beep.

And beep until the truck is finally, FINALLY, in position.

These times required certain calming breath-exercises done by the neighbors and a collective “Omm” hovered over the street. But we are fine now. We live south of Bogstadveien, the north is, of course, a totally different world, which we almost never enter. Our house numbers are 1 to 11, and almost all houses are nice, pretty, beautiful examples of the old Oslo townhouses. Except for our house and the one house to the left. But the good thing with living in a, let’s say, less fashionable house is, that you have a nice view of all the beautiful ones. In this case: I look every day on the nice yellow townhouse in which I fell in love with the first time we entered this street.


And that we did get an apartment here is no coincidence either: “We have to live here!” did we decide on our first visit. “The name of the street is too good.” Sorgenfrigata – “Sorgen” are sorrows” and “fri” is free – so we do now live in the “No sorrows street”.

How cool does that sound?

I already know a bit more about the people in Sorgenfrigata. In the apartment on the top floor of the yellow house lives a family, who just adores their balcony and spend much of their time on it, eating or sunbathing. Father X and I laid wooden-click-tiles on our balconies on the same Saturday and shared some greetings. On the first floor seems to live another creative soul: We encounter each other sometimes during the night, wandering the wooden floors in search of inspiration. His or her chaotic desk and the immense book shelves calm me somehow. On the right lives a bbq-fan with a top-of-the-art-kitchen and a corgie. The dog’s favorite game is to scare pedestrians from his high seat.

In the house next to me lives a food-photographer, at least I think that’s what she is. In more than one occasion did she carry out food on the front lawn and arranged it for a photo instead of eating it. Somewhere to our right lives a love-sick fan of operas who sang his pain out a few nights ago. Thank goodness that Maria Callas accompanied him from a CD, so it was kind of nice actually to hear Tosca in the middle of a warm summer night. Followed by dogs howling. It was probably too much for sensitive dog ears.

We have several canine neighbors, and I love dogs, so that is fine for me. Besides from the Corgie, we have two Pinscher and Chihuahuas, one pug dog and a huge Labrador who lives at the far end of Sorgenfrigata, in house Nr. 4. He spends his entire time right now in the garden, like his people too. She loves pink, blue and purple and has therefore my complete admiration and seems to be a bit more free spirited than the rest of our neighbors. She creates her own jewellery and hangs a box with samples at the tree trunk in front of her garden every day. I have to say Hi one day.

Oh, business starts on our pub, the Highbury, at Nr. 11. So it must be 3 p.m. I leave you for today and hope you enjoyed your first meeting with our street.

My weekly greetings go to the German soccer women, who are playing in the European Championship in Sweden right now. Good luck for Sunday against Italy, ladies!!

I wish you all an amazing week, look what your neighbors are doing, don’t get upset by trucks or other annoyances and enjoy your vacations! The blog goes on summer break too and we’ll be back with new stories on August, 9th!

Until then, tell me: How is your summer/winter so far? What are you up to?

Ha det bra og ha en riktig god sommer! Eller en riktig god vinter for min venner i Australia og New Zealand!



OLD NEWS: A visit in the Norsk Folkemuseum OR Hello, can I borrow your chicken?

I wanna be a farmer.

Right now.

I want a thatched-roofed house with an overflowing vegetable garden, blissful chickens and clover-munching cows. Every morning I want to enter my queendom with a pitchfork in my hand and a smile on my face, pirouetting through the clover in my traditional costume, while Martin plays a peppy morning tune on his fiddle.  Then, Farmer Martin takes off on his tractor to mind his crops, while I enter the kitchen and bake some delicious pancakes. In the evenings, we enjoy a humble meal in our sunflower-filled garden. After Martin gave to the world a melancholy, yet inspiring lullaby, we say Good Night to the cows and go to sleep on our straw mattresses.

Idyllic, isn’t it?

I spent four hours in the Norwegian Open-Air-Museum.

I should have left after two.

But nobody warned as my mum and I bought tickets on this glory summer morning. The woman at the entrance should have said: “Too much folklore can damage your health.” But no, nothing! A nice smile, two tickets and a plan was all we got. We were by ourselves. Without shields. Unprotected against the idyll of Norwegian farming life. It was hopeless.

Shortly after we entered the Disneyland for farmers, three musicians greeted us with Norwegian tunes and dances. Accompanied by the violin, a blissful happy couple spun over the dusty patio, performing the clap dance. I wanted to join!


Clap clap….with new verve we continued our way through the south of Norway: After meeting the happy musicians from Telemark, we approached an enormous wooden storage shed from Hallingdal, where a brown cow and her calf stood on a meadow full of clover.  Awwwwww!!! How pretty! Later on, surrounded by apple trees, we made a short break on a bench in front of the black wooden houses from Hordaland. I felt at peace, humming happily and enjoying the sunshine. The apples smelt nice, too.

All of a sudden, I wanted to create an apple tart – wearing a traditional costume, including an apron. I shook my head. I felt weird.

We decided to continue our walk…

In Trøndelag we were welcomed by some very alive and squeaking pigs and a horse, which farted exactly in that moment my mother approached it.


Her face was worth millions.

After laughing  for several minutes, I was again able to inspect my surroundings. I discovered some really interesting things, which would be extremely helpful on my farm.

I guess.


My farm! How good that sounded! Who would sell me some chicken? A farm needs chicken, that’s for sure. My practical mother suggested to lend some first, to see how it goes. Good idea. But who would borrow me some chicken? – My transformation was in full swing and I could sense changes in my mum, too. She seemed to specialize in the technical aspects of the farm and made countless pictures of an old tractor in front of the 1950’s farmhouse in Trøndelag. Well, perfect. Later on, I  could ask her about the other machines on this farm, whose use I could not yet see. We two would achieve excellent teamwork. – While I speculated how many chicken should populate my farm, the front door of the farm-house opened. A woman dressed as a farmer’s wife from the 1950’s appeared. Naturally there is an immediate bond between like-minded souls:  We greeted each other friendly and she invited us for a cup of coffee. A few minutes later we sat in “her” old kitchen, laughing and chatting about old times and the merits of farm life. My experiences of farm life came purely from the cyberworld, but I could share one or two grains of wisdom with her. She was astonished to hear, that my strawberries needed only four hours from sowing to harvesting and wanted to have some of these miraculous seeds. We parted in a bit of confusion but not less friendly.


Then we arrived in Numedal and it happened: A thatched-roofed wooden house with vegetable patch and smoking chimney stood in all its glory in front of us. Carrots, onions and potatoes grew in the soil, on the other side cabbage and beetroot were planted. Bushes full of blackberries completed the picture. No wonder that I wanted to move in immediately; that I dreamed of fleeing the city and starting a new life centered on bread baking and dung piles! Sunbeams, rural idyll, smell of fruits, earth and handmade lefzen – it was simply too much for me… My mother dragged me away, clearly concerned about her only child’s mental health.


I felt hot.

The sky decided to help and opened its gates to cool me up: We continued our way in pouring rain and found shelter – close by the old wooden church, a highlight of the museum which consists of 155 different buildings. Some of them can be entered and you will find perfect photo motives everywhere. Of course it is a bit kitschy and far from the modern, high-technology life in Oslo but so what? Sometimes we need exactly that. We go, we enjoy, and we return to our lives.





Some might…

Some might not…

Even after returning home, the farm idyll did not leave me: Clucking chicken visit me in my dreams and I fondly look at every single carrot in the supermarket. I already see myself dancing with swinging skirts to Martins snappy harvesting song.

Well, I bought a flower box and planted some parsley. One has to start small.

That was it for today dear readers, have a great week and go and get yourself a new dream!

Ha det bra,



Go and see it for yourself: http://www.norskfolkemuseum.no/

Now comes something I call OLD NEWS!


Hello everybody!

As you may have noticed, there is a bit more life in this blog than before.

Hipphipphurray! (well, that is actually your part. Hurray away!)

Because I find it very difficult to come up with TWO different blog themes every week (call me lazy), I decided to simply take ONE topic and write it in both languages. The concept of a genius, I know.

I also decided to create a new category in this blog called OLD NEWS: Articles from my german blog, exclusively translated by me for you! So every post on this blog marked OLD NEWS is exactly that: Old, but still extremely funny.

Well, I hope.

Only one last thing to say:


Ghost Walk in Oslo OR I know where the hookers are!

On last Wednesday evening we’ve been extremely brave and went to Kafe Celsius for dinner. It was not a brave endeavour because of the bad food or a bad service…no, no. We were extraordinarily brave, because…Kafe Celsius is haunted!!!

A spooky Hello my dear readers and nice to meet again here after such a long time! Today this blog turns scary, because I did the Oslo Ghost Walk last Wednesday with Martin and some friends. Now, I do not only know which house in Oslo is haunted. No way.

I also know where the hookers are.

Impressive, right? These are valuable informations no other Oslo-Blog will give you!

But let us return to the Ghost Walk.

Within the last weeks I translated the Guided Tour goes criminal, which my friend Ben makes in Berlin, into English. During that work I was getting curious if a tour like this also exists in Oslo. A criminal tour, no. But a Ghost Walk, yes! Granted, the weather right now is not ideal for a spooky city tour („Here in this garden – where flowers are blooming and birds singing right now – a terrible ghost goes around!“ –„Tirili, tirili!“). But they only do the tour in english during summer, so off we go!

It is 22° C/70°F and the sun shines beautifully as we meet our guide Karianne at Christianitorv close to Aker Brygge. Despite her black velvet cape Karianne does not look very scary, but whoa!  This nice blonde woman is full of stories about executions, gallows and tells us about a hangman, who did not want to leave his house even after his death and consequently still lives there now. In transparent form. Directly at Christianiatorv, in the building which hosts today Kafe Celsius. I pity the poor people who are having dinner there right now; clueless about the danger they are in. What a surprise if instead a nice chocolate mousse a grim ghost with an ax appears at the table!! “Would you like to see today’s specialities?”

Hundreds of years ago, Karianne continues,  the people were also coming to this square to eat, drink, have a nice picnic and enjoy the entertainment of the day: Executions.

Well, they sure knew how to party then.



With mixed feeling I wander over the square and follow my group to the old city hall, the Gamle Radhus, which had dungeons in the basement back then. The mostly unhappy occupants seek nowadays, as ghosts, revenge and attack everybody who comes too close to them. What a shame – I would have loved to have dinner in the now restaurant, but what if a ghost lays his cold hand on my shoulder during dinner? No, I rather prefer the Irish Pub Dubliners on the other side of the street: Here, a Don Juan Ghost approaches the female workers regularly and whispers sweet nothings in their ear before grabbing their ass. I wonder: Can you slap a ghost in the face?


Karianne is a mistress of storytelling: She is funny and enthusiastic, her eyes are rolling and her cape flies around her. On the way to the bank square we wonder about the ladies who are strolling aimlessly on the sidewalk. But I am too fascinated by ghosts to pay much attention. In the loveliest sunshine we reach Akershus castle and Karianne warns us: Almost every corner in the old building is haunted. But we shoud not worry. Since we crossed the bridge to the castle, a guarding ghost accompanies us.

Oh, well.

How nice.

I discreetly look behind me but…

…wow, there are even more aimless women down there on the street!

Here can you find the hookers of Oslo? I would like to ask Karianne about it, but she hardly seems the type to know about these things. My friend Eva says in a deadpan matter, that it looks like Nurnberg, where the hookers also gather around the castle.

Amazingly, the things you learn here, right?

WE learn a few minutes later that one of the most beautiful spots of Akershus castle is haunted:


Are you afraid yet? Well, of course, you may think this is a cozy, beautiful spot. But beware: The malus canis lives here – the bad dog! (I hope my translation in latin is accurat!! Otherwise: Sue me! ;)…) Sometime in the Dark Ages, the Norwegians wanted to flatter their gods to protect them from the attacking Swedes. To do so, they needed to sacrify someone. Well, apparently there were no volunteers, so they grabbed the next best thing – a straying dog – and buried him alive.

The dog did – understandably – not fancy that and after hours of scratching and whining he took his last breath and died. And then the problem started. He returned as a red-eyed and very angry monster dog with long claws and chased everybody within the castle to pay for his death. Whoever gets bitten from the scary monster will die within three months of a horrible accident. I quickly leave the spot – three months would be unhandy now, we just booked our October trip to London.

Karianne tells even more scary stories and is now also hot in demand as model for japanese tourists, who follow our tour. I decide to avoid this horrible castle whenever I can – by now I saw blood, ghosts and gallows around every corner of this imposing building. I welcomed every sunbeam! – On the way to our last station, the question of the aimless ladies is solved: One of them climbs, after some negotiating and flirting, in the pick-up of an elderly gentleman who looks like it is Christmas already.

So, that mystery is solved and we listen Karianne’s last story, which freaks me out so much, that I will not set foot in another parking garage for a long time! I bet even the ghostbusters would have passed on this one!

Almost two hours are gone when the tour ends! It was great fun! – Now we are two things: Hungry and thirsty. Where shall we go? We stroll to Christianiatorv, where our gaze falls upon the yellow house. The house of the executioner. The house in which lights turn on and off without reason, cash registers fly through the air and waitresses freak out.

Uh, they do have fish soup here!

We look at each other, take a deep breath – and walk in.

Who ya gonna call?

There is an empty table close to the entrance and so we witness how a waitress trips and a knife falls down. Spooooooooky!!!!

Well, nothing more happened. The food was delicious, the evening air gentle and no ghost came close. Ok, next time we’ll try Gamle Radhus and dare to eat there. Ghosts will come to those who doubt, said Karianne to us. Let’s see!

That was it for today, dear readers. I hope you enjoyed the spooky tour, maybe you should check out if there are tours like this in your town. All of a sudden one sees formerly harmless buildings in a whole new light! I translated this text from german especially because I met an old friend from Canada back on facebook! Hurrah facebook! Sharon is a big ghost fan (correction: ..a big fan of ghost stories!) and hopefully enjoys this article! My weekly greetings go therefore directly to Victoria, BC and to Sharon: Nice to “see” you again!

Have a nice week, dear readers, enjoy your vacations, travel safely and tell me: Do YOU believe in ghosts?

Ha det bra!



Norwegian Language Lesson or Wow, I am the prodigal son!

Here I am again! Greetings from Norway!

Today I want to enlighten you a bit about the Norwegian language. No, do not be afraid, this blog has not suddenly turned into the Oslo branch of Langenscheidt. But eight months in this country taught me some interesting phrases. Here they come!

But first things first: Happy Thanksgiving to everybody who is celebrating it!

Now, we dive right into it!

In the language that is.

Not the turkey.

I am vegetarian. So please spare me.

The first phrase is also the first one I learned here in Norway. She is a part of my daily life. Every time I stand at the check-out in supermarkets like Centra, Rema 1000 or Meny, the always polite employee will ask:

“Vil du ha pose?”

When I first encountered this phrase, I was in the language denial stadium. Which means: I did not understand one bloody word, so I said no to everything. Just in case.

The first time I heard these four words directed to me, I said “No” and shook my head. After paying for my groceries,  I wanted to pack my shopping in a plastic bag, but I could not find one. Of course, I had to ask the nice woman (in English), if she would be so kind to give me a bag. She frowned at me. I was confused.

It took a while to understand that “Vil du ha pose?” means: “Would you like to have a bag?”

For me as a German with an arsenal of trendy, ecological shopping bags, this question is legitimate. I usually bring my own bag. For Norwegian shoppers it is far from normal. They always want a bag. Of course. Especially, when they stand at the check out with a rim-full-packed shopping cart. “Vil du ha pose?” – They look at the cashier, then to the mountain of groceries and seem to think:  “A bag???? No!!! ! I am planning to steal the cart to bring my groceries home!”

First lesson learned.

The next phrase pops up in a coffee shop. Oslo is full of them. There is a life-saving coffee source at almost every corner of the city. Wayne’s Coffee, Kaffeebrenneriet or some fantastic bakeries with good coffee choice like Baker Hansen or United Bakeries. Wherever you go and order an espresso or Café Latte you will be asked:

“Enkel eller dobbel?”

I tried really hard to figure this one out the first time I heard it. But, you see, the problem is – I am German. In German “Enkel” means “grandson”. So, my brain was on this day obviously in denial and in german mode, because I thought: What is this blond b***h in Wayne’s Coffee suggesting? That the nasty boy, who screams through the whole shop, is  my grandson? Excuse me! I did turn 40 this year, but that is bit far fetched, don’t you think???

Turning back to her, I answered: “Dobbel!” Whatever.

Boy, was I energetic for the rest of the day!

For a woman who normally drinks decaf, a double shot of espresso is enough to dance the night away. From that day on I ordered my café latte “enkel”, with only one shot, please.

Second lesson learned.

The next example is not really a phrase and it is easy enough to understand, but it is so typical Norwegian that I have to put it on this list.

“Hei, hei!”

This is the normal greeting in every shop in every corner of the city. But, hold the horses, we are not talking about a regular “Hi!” here. Oh, no! The voice is high pitched and the words are followed by at least five invisible exclamation marks. You are not just a customer! No way! You are the prodigal son, who finally returns. The joy of the family. The hero of the day. The solution to World Peace. You are John Lennon and Yoko Ono combined! “Hei Hei!!!!!!” I was so irritated the first time, I looked behind me, but neither the Norwegian boy scouts nor Bono were there.

Do not get me wrong: It is very nice to be greeted in such an overwhelming manner. Really. It is just, that I feel so bad for ordering only a coffee. I would like to meet the overwhelming joy with an even so overwhelming order, but do you have any idea what a coffee costs in Oslo?? But one day, when I am finally rich and famous,  I will order the whole menu and invite everybody from the staff to join me in a feast. Just because they are always so happy to see me.

Third lesson learned.

The last one and one of my favourites is “Takk for sist!” Literally translated it means “Thanks for the last time we met.” or ” Thanks for the last time we had dinner together.” or “Thanks for the last time we had sex.”

I am kidding!

They have an extra phrase for that.

“Takk for sist!” is the expected phrase whenever you meet somebody, with whom you spent some time. The emphasis lies on “whenever”. Whenever. It is absolutely accepted and normal, to meet a friend, an almost stranger, the neighbour, the guy who cooked this awful meal and tried to hit on you, after one year and say: “Takk for sist!” Thanks for the last time we met. Even if I have no idea, what we did or where it was, but, hey, thanks anyway.

This is utterly confusing! But I am getting used to it by now.  Who cares if I do not remember where exactly we met and what we did…..”Takk for sist! Ulrike, do you remember the nice restaurant we went to?”…Oh boy, here we go.

Fourth lesson learned.

“Vil du ha pose?”

“Enkel eller dobbel?”

“Hei, hei!!!!!!”

“Takk for sist!“

Come to Norway, try them out and feel a bit like a Norwegian.

I wish you all a very nice week, fight the sometimes trist and sad november with laughter and joy. Or alcohol. Whatever suits you best.

And to say good bye to you today, I also use the Norwegian way: Ha det!


Summer in Oslo 2012 or Where the heck are my rubberboots?

Greetings from Oslo!

Hello everybody, here I am for the second time with another „try-out“-article.

Did you miss me??

I bet you have no time at all to miss me, because you are either sunbathing on some beach or trying to cool off on some nice patio. It’s summer, right???? (At least in the northern hemisphere: Greeting to my friends in Australia and New Zealand. Enjoy the sleigh rides.)

Summer. Bah.

Here in Oslo, we don’t need sunny summers. Nooooooooo. We like rain and clouds and wind. Honestly!!  Sunshine is for amateurs!

When it is summer in Oslo, you can do a lot of exciting things:

  • Take a plunge in the outdoor pool, while it is raining dogs and cats.
  • Have a nice picnic, sitting on the muddy lawn in your waterproof gear.
  • Enjoy a popsicle with a hot-water-bottle on your knees.
  • Play a funny round of rock-scissors-stone with your friends. The loser has to bbq for all of you in the thunderstorm.
  • Last, but not least: Lose your mind in a passionate, short-lived summer romance, where you rip layers and layers of merino wool-underwear from each other in hot desire.

So much fun.

And if that were not enough good news: It’s always bright daylight. So here in Oslo you can the watch the rain pouring down for 18 hours.  Yeah!

Honestly, it’s not that bad. All you need is a change of attitude: We live opposite of “Frognerbadet”, a well-known outdoor swimming pool in Oslo and whatever kind of weather there is, somebody will come to take a swim. Families meet for a BBQ at the Lake Songsvann in heavy rainfall. We enjoyed the summer solstice festivities at the Norske Folkemuseum and it looked like this:

Lovely , is it not? Especially if your veggie burger needs his own umbrella.

We have an OSM since a few weeks. An Oslo-Summer-Mantra. It goes like this:  There is no bad weather, just bad clothing. This well known proverb comes – surprise, surprise –  originally from Scandinavia and even rhymes in Norwegian:  Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær. Yeah, that figures. Well, we always  try to look on the bright side of things. For example: The summer in Oslo teaches you to be spontaneous, which is a valuable lesson in our over-organized time. If there is some sunshine all of sudden, leave everything and enjoy it. Now or never!

I am looking out of the window right now and…

Could this be?

Is it….?

No, certainly not today, but it looks like…


I have to leave now, dear readers, and do a quick swimming- sunbathing-bbqing-tanning-session!

Should be back in about 10 minutes.

I wish you a wonderful week, enjoy the summer while it is there, make the best out of everything and always have a lot of fun!

Ha det bra,


A Letter of Apology to all Native Speakers!

WOW, I really did it!

I started another blog about my life here in Norway!

In English!

Sorry about that.

But I have very good reasons. Here they are.

First Reason: I am very much in love with your language and always wanted to write in it. Lack of courage, tons of common sense and my 9th grade English teacher hindered this endeavor until now. You see, in Germany we have the following rule: If a student makes a certain amount of mistakes in a foreign language exam, the whole exam cannot be better than a D. Or worse.

Let’s say Albert Einstein tried to bring his theory on paper, but made tons of linguistic mistakes, it would go like this: “Very nice effort, Albert, but your grammar sucks…this is a D -. Sit down.” Here, for the first and only time in my life, there is a similarity between Albert Einstein and me: My grammar sucks, too. I never got anything better than a D in my exam. These terrible experiences in high school stopped me from publishing anything in english.

Until now. “Why now?” you may ask, banging your fists on the table, sobbing. It’s very simple: I turned 40 this year. Bye bye, common sense. Hello “What-do-I-care?”!!! Oprah would be so proud of me.

Second Reason: I met a lot of very nice English-speaking people over the years and I would like to tell them about my adventures here in Norway as well. Hi everybody!! I cannot expect all of you to learn german (although it is a beautiful language), and even if you did: By the time you would be able to understand my blog in german I’ve probably stopped blogging, because my arthritis and old age wouldn’t allow it anymore.

So, English it is. (And let me tell you: I already enjoy it lot!! What about you? Still banging your head on the table, while clutching Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary?)

Third Reason:  I am a pathological attention seeker and this is an notorious effort to gain a bigger audience. True. – Well, at least I am honest.

But I am also a reasonable person: This blog is an experiment. Allow me two or three try-outs until I find my “voice” in your beautiful, but for me strange language. Try to ignore my mistakes or laugh about them. (After all, I am the woman who invented “smashed potatoes”.) If this blog does not work, I will stop it. Promise! I love your language. But I will not be too respectful. I will go and use it as I like.

(There is no language-jail, is there? *Note to myself: CHECK THIS!*)

I am very much looking forward to tell you about my life in this strange country, where rotten fish is served on Christmas and the national dish is frozen pizza. I will also look forward to your comments and thoughts… (unless you are a retired English teacher and your only comment is a list of all my mistakes. In this case: Don’t bother! I am a very sensitive person. AND I turned 40 this year. So please, show some respect.)

I finish my letter to you, dear native speakers, in high spirits and the good feeling that I issued a fair warning. I wish you a wonderful day or a good night, wherever you are right now and hope to see you back next week, when I actually write something about Norway!

Bye for now, or as the Norwegians say:

Ha det bra!