Trondelag is in Central Norway, stretching up to the Swedish border.
It’s known as one big Food Dish as there are loads of self-employed food producers.
And it played an important part in Norwegian history.
More about that later!
Technically, everyone in Norway is a millionaire as the economy is so strong.
Yes they’re crown millionaires, but that’s better than being a pound pauper!
They all speak perfect English with lovely funny mistakes sometimes.
A lot of their sentences end with ‘M-m!’
The Gulf Stream stops Coastal Norway from freezing. For a lot of the year, the temperatures are very warm and mild. And it’s very fertile.
We spent the first night in the ultra-modern Rica Hell Hotel, a great central hotel with a lot going on.
Breakfast was wonderful, with a huge healthy choice.
I loved the selection of smoothies, and broken bars of chocolate – for breakfast!
After breakfast we drove to the island of Tautra in the Trondheim Fjord.
The Tautra Maria Monastery was opened in 2007 by Queen Sonya. Unlike traditional religious buildings, there are no ornate paintings. The light is the main decoration. The architect built a spiritual greenhouse!
All the furniture is made by Belgian monks, inspired by Viking ships.
It cost more than 50 million dollars, paid for by donations.
According to the architect, the nuns were the bossiest clients he’s ever had!
Also on the island, next to the ancient original monastery walls, is the restaurant Klostergarden and micro-brewery. There they brew eight kinds of beer, using mainly British ingredients, we were surprised to hear!
They also have a shop where they sell locally-made crafts, including creams and soaps made by the nuns.
Jorn told us that the farm had been in the family since 1805. He’s the 7th generation.
They live in the original family farmhouse, which they had moved along the road! Now it’s a guesthouse.
People come there to fish from boats and to visit the bird sanctuary.
We had a lovely light lunch, made from local and home-made ingredients.
I managed to get the soup recipe out of Jorn.
Simmer together celery, cumin, potatoes, leeks, white wine, cream, butter and a dash of vinegqar.
Don’t boil it or it might curdle!
I’d probably add a chopped onion too. But I add onions to everything!
After lunch we drove across the island’s bridge and stopped to take photos of the unspoilt view. Then it was on to the Inderoy Peninsula.
This region is known as the Golden Road. It’s a Co-operative of farmers, artists, Craft workers, boat rentals, historical sites, butchers, restaurants and hotels.
Just in time for tea, we stopped at the Husfrua farm hotel, another house that has been in the family for generations. It was moved a few miles along the road to the beautiful situation where it now stands, on top of a hill overlooking the fjord. Then it was renovated in the old style and turned into a hotel.
The Norwegians seem to have a different meaning to us for ‘moving house!’
We were served tea and cake. It was light and gorgeous, and again I managed to cadge the recipe, on condition that I never give it to anyone. So you have to promise, dear readers, that you won’t tell anyone about it!
CHOCOLATE PANNA COTTA
1 ltre double cream
Seeds from 2 vanilla pods.
Bring to the boil.
Leave to cool.
4 leaves gelatine
1 kilo milk chocolate, melted.
Mix it all together.
Leave to set.
I know it works perfectly because they copied it out of their Cookbook for me and they make it every day.
I thought I might try it with plain chocolate, and with adding a drop of Cointreau or various liqueurs.
On we went to Gangstad Gardsystery, an old farmhouse that has been in the family for 3 generations. They make award-winning cheese from their own cows, including a Cumin Cheese, and a Blue Cheese with figs.
They gave us a delicious home-made rhubarb drink.
Also with their own milk, they make 12-14 different ice-creams.
Near to them is Gulburet.
The farmer’s daughter-in-law told us, ‘The farm was builded, m-m, by my husband’s grand old mother and father, m-m.’
They spin, dye and weave clothes using wool from their cows.
A seat cover costs £520 and a jacket £200. But they’ll last for ever!
In the late 1800s her husband’s great-grandad kept diaries, which are an insight into Norwegian life then.
1898, telephones and electricity were first heard of.
A lot of Norwegians went to work in America, but most of them came back when Civil War broke out and they brought the Colonial style of building back to Norway.
In fact some of their houses remind me of my trip along the Mississippi.
Saying our goodbyes, we drove to Stiklestad. We checked in to our hotel, the Rica Stiklestad, which was actually in the Stiklestad National Culture Center. It’s huge.
We were amazed when we walked to our rooms after dinner as nothing was locked up. The shops were left open! We could have helped ourselves to anything. How lovely to see a virtually Crime-free Country!
Up the hill is the Stiklestadir Viking longhouse. It’s an authentic replica of the original longhouses.
More than 2,300 burial mounds have been found in the area.
They were rich people, exporting iron to the Roman Empire.
You can take part in traditional Viking activities. I tried the archery, and managed to hit the target!
Opposite the hotel is the Stiklestad Kirke. (Church.) This is a Church of St Olav. There are St Olav Churches everywhere in Norway.
Olav Haraldsson (known as Olav the Fat while he was alive) was born in AD995. He became a Viking and travelled extensively, fighting battles. He seems to have been a mercenary fighter.
In 1014 the Danes had captured Southern England, and finally London. The King, Ethelread, known as The Unready, was forced to flee and Canute took the Crown.
London Bridge protected London from re-capture.
The Danes lined the bridge, heavily armed, so Olav and his men built rafts with roofs and thatched them by stealing thatch from nearby Cottages. Then they floated down the Thames, wrapped ropes around the bridge piles and rowed off hard, pulling the bridge down.
Olaf’s exploits were immortalised by the poet Ottar Svarte:
London Bridge is broken down,
Gold is won and bright renown.
War Horns Sounding,
Hildur shouting in the din!
Mailcoats ringing –
Odin makes our Olaf win!
This was translated into English and altered to become the Nursery Rhyme we all know;
London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down,
London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady!
On his way home, Olav spent the winter with Duke Richard II of Normandy, where he was baptized as a Christian in Rouen.
Returning to Norway in 1015, he declared himself King, and finally united the whole of Norway into one Country.
He was killed in 1030 at the Battle of Stiklestad, where the Church now stands.
There are several links between the British and the Norwegian Royal Families.
In 1019 Olav married Astrid Olofsdotter, Olof’s illegitimate daughter and the half-sister of his former fiancée. Their daughter Wulfhild married Ordulf, Duke of Saxony, in 1042. Numerous Royal, Grand Ducal and Ducal lines are descended from Ordulf and Wulfhild, including the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Maud of Wales, daughter of King Edward VII of the UK, eldest son of Queen Victoria, was the mother of King Olav V of Norway, so Olav and his son Harald V, the present king of Norway, are thus descended from St Olav.
Olav’s links with London Bridge didn’t end in 1014. He was Canonised in the 12th Century and St Olave Hart Street in London, which still exists, and St Olave Southwark, were dedicated to him. His named is on St Olav House on Tooley Street, which is built on the site of St Olave Southwark
The Church in Stiklestad was built around 1150 by English and Irish stonemasons.
It was extended in the 1580s.
The etchings on the walls were painted over during the Reformation and they’ve never been restored.
In the evening we had a lovely meal in the hotel; nothing pretentious, just good, fresh local food.
It was lovely to wake up in the Countryside and look out the windows at an ancient church and a Viking longhouse!
Norwegian Air flies directly from London Gatwick to Trondheim, from £34.90 one way
Train to Røros, from 249 NOK (£25) one way
Lounge at Gatwick:
Viking feast: 995 NOK (£100) per person (groups only)
Day activities at Stiklestad: adults 170 NOK (£180), children 70 NOK (£73) and families 350 NOK (£40).
Accommodation: Rica Stiklestad, double rooms from 1050 NOK (£110) per night
Accommodation: Clarion Hotel & Congress
Double room incl breakfast: from 1.080 NOK (£110) per night
Price: adult NOK 100, senior/student NOK 70, child NOK 50
www.rockheim.no Urban kayaking with Trondheim Kajakk
Price: From 350 NOK (£37) per person, approx. 2 hours
www.trondheimkajakk.noAquavit tasting at Pub Carl Johan, Norway’s only aquavit bar
Book in advance for minimum three persons: History of the Aquavit, three different Aquavits, one beer and a taste of food from 400 NOK (ca £42) per person
Local food safari: