We’ve just spent three days with two wonderful, warm-hearted people near Oslo: Lillian and Ove. Thanks to Globalfreeloaders.com we were able to meet this great couple and enjoy superb Norwegian hospitality, giving us what will surely be one of the best memories of this leg of our adventures.
From the moment we found their house – which was a bit tricky walking around in the snow and darkness – we were welcomed as old friends, which is exactly what we have become in just three days. On our first full day there we went on a couple of guided walks around their home, located in a small village about 15 minutes drive from Oslo’s main airport. The countryside is spectacular in winter, and we were graced with perfect weather as you can see from the photos above. Ove is a senior member of a local motorcycle club, Pilgrims Millennium MC, and in the afternoon he took us to both of their clubhouses and showed us all of the Harleys in various states of winter rebuilding. He also took us to his workplace where he is a highly specialised crane operator, and showed us one of his steeds: the largest wheeled crane in Norway. Capable of lifting 500 tons, the crane itself weighs more than 100 tons and can extend 184 metres at full stretch – an amazing piece of machinery!
During the day we met several of their friends and family, who underlined just how generous a couple they are. Most telling is Alex and Noella, a young Spanish couple who stayed with Lillian and Ove for the first time several years ago when they came to Norway seeking work. Lillian and Ove helped them find work, then took them in again later for an extended time while they found somewhere to live. Now the young couple have their own place, and a young child, and the four are close friends. That night family and more friends arrived, and great fun was had well into the night with beer, locally made spirits such as aquevit and berry liqueur, and good cheer all round 🙂
One of the highlights was undoubtedly the food. Though we were prepared to buy and cook our own, Lillian insisted we share their meals and served us some luscious dishes such as fish and pasta stew, homemade pizza and my favourite: venison and pork stew with rice. Flavoured with pepper, cream and local chanterelle mushrooms that Lillian picked in the autumn and froze for use during winter, the stew was a triumph of rustic country cooking. We also had the chance to taste a number of Norwegian breakfast staples which we’d never have experienced otherwise: fiskpudding, a white sausage of fish akin to a roll of devon; caviar in a tube; cheese spread mixed with with shrimps; cheese spread mixed with ham; brown cheese, which was like processed cheddar mixed with peanut butter (yep, it’s an acquired taste); elk salami; a super-sweet caramel spread; and the national dish, tinned mackerel with tomato sauce, along with more familiar options such as cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, pate, bread, jam and milk.
We can’t say enough how thankful we are that we had the opportunity to meet and stay with Lillian and Ove. If we ever return to Norway we will certainly see them again, and if they are able to make it all the way to Australia we look forward to extending good old-fashioned Aussie hospitality their way. I wonder how they’ll go with Vegemite?