Monday, 31 March 2014

Utsikten Hotel in Kvinesdal

You cannot help but stop and look at the wonderful building that is Utsikten.
Built with local oak wood, it stands on the top of a mountain overlooking Kvinesdal. The hotel was completely renovated from drawings from a local architect and was completed in May 2013.

The hotel is located in between Kristiansand and Stavanger and is a must stay over as the view from the hotel is amazing. There is also a museum at the front of the hotel that has art displays from the famous artist Marcelius Førland including his 1922 T Model Ford in perfect condition – in fact it has number plates and is roadworthy!

When you enter the hotel, you can see that nothing has been spared with the design and outlay of the interior. Lighting and ambiance that compliments the rooms, fireplace, a staircase built from wood from the US, a large restaurant, bar and reception.

The hotel has everything from the businessman to the traveller. Conference rooms, a virtual gold driving range, art museum, fantastic food from local produce, it has everything.

You can choose from ‘backpacker type accommodation, to the top story rooms with a balcony and the amazing views over the valleys, fjords and city.

This is one place you cannot pass up for a great experience.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

A very well known local man from Kristiansand

Almost every day of the week you will find a man selling flowers at the corner or Markens Gate and Torvet in Kristiansand. He always has a smile and he is nearly always chatting to someone.

His name is Tormod Olsen.

Almost everyone I know in Kristiansand has met him or bought something from him (he also sells other things in the winter months). It is great to have a friendly face in the middle of the city - someone you can chat to.

Here he is on the Humans of Kristiansand page

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Farsund Marathon

The Farsund Marathon started in 2012 when a small group of locals got together to discuss new activities that could be held in the municipality to draw more people - tourists and visitors , as well as engage the locals.

They felt that a marathon could utilize the entire municipality and view the spectacular scenery that can be found in Farsund. After hours of discussions and planning, the first Farsund Marathon was agreed to take place on the 1st of June 2013.

There were a total of 581 participants which were divided into; 47 for the entire marathon , 139 for the half marathon , 179 for 10 km and 216 in the children’s race. The winner of Farsund’s first marathon was Erik Bergesen from London that ran on 02.55.17.

There are four running tracks :

1.       The full marathon at 42 km
2.       The half marathon of 21 km
3.       Mini marathon of 10 km
4.       Kids marathon
It has been easy for the organisers to plan the running tracks because of the vast and idealistic landscape that Lista and Farsund have to offer.

The marathon starts and ends at the Farsund city centre of which the full marathon extends to the Lista lighthouse and back.

There has already been a few hundred that have registered for the 2014 race, so it will be an even bigger event this year.

There are plenty of accommodation opportunities in the area including the Farsund Fjordhotell overlooking the fjord.

The main sponsors for the event are Mizuno, Sport 1 Farsund and Sparbanken Sør .
(Pictures from Dra på ferie til Farsund

Kids activities during the winter holidays in Kristiansand

During the winter holidays in Kristiansand, the arts museum in Kristiansand (called SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum) offers activities for kids called the Vinterferie Verksted.


The museum is the regional art museum of Agder counties. The museum runs an extensive artistic activities such as include management, development, dissemination and research on its collection of arts and crafts. In addition, the museum conveys Norwegian and international contemporary art, craft and art history through exhibitions, traveling exhibitions, events, activities, lectures, workshops and educational projects. It was created in 1995 by the Municipality of Kristiansand, Vest-Agder county, Aust-Agder County and Christian Sands Art Gallery.

This week the kids are painting coral and birds which represent art that is displayed in the museum from a local artist. The kids can then take these home with them. Some of the kids however were very proud of their art and insisted that the museum have them for the week.  (as you can see here)


This is completely free for kids, but sometimes there is a small fee (around 25kr) to help pay for the paints, staff and other things used by the kids. The museum also has activites for the kids in other holidays during the year and you can contact the museum to get more information : Tel +47 38 07 49 00 / email:

The museum is upgrading some of the rooms at the museum to be especially for children. These will open in June 2014.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Free music concert in Kristiansand - Vinterlyd.

There is a free music concert in Kristiansand today, Wednesday the 5th of March 2013 with some well known Norwegian artists. The concert has been organised by the Norwegian Cancer Association and is going to be performed at different locations on different dates.

These pictures were taken 1 and a half hours before the concert begins. Already there is a crowd gathering! When the concert started, there were 700 people watching! That is a good number for a concert in Kristiansand.

Artists Playing:

Isac Elliot
Marcus og Martinus

Program for Vinterlyd 2014:
Lørdag 1. mars: Bergen, Festplassen
Mandag 3. mars: Stavanger, Torvet
Onsdag 5. mars: Kristiansand, Torget
Lørdag 8. mars: Gjøvik, CC Gjøvik
Mandag 10. mars: Drammen, Bragernes Torg
Onsdag 12. mars: Trondheim, Torget
Lørdag 15. mars: Tromsø, Torget
17. – 19. april: Hafjell, Midtstasjonen

Route 8 in Vanse Southern Norway - A little piece of America

In Southern Norway, we get visitors from all over the world. For those Americans that are thinking of visiting, you might be surprised to know that there is a little bit of America also in Norway.

In a little town called Vanse on the southern coast, you will find Route 8. This is a road where it swings into a figure 8 passing various American style houses, some American flags and of course American cars.

There is a lot of American history in the area as a lot of locals travelled to the US to work when times were tough in Norway. In fact my father in law lived and worked in the US for 20 years building houses whilst his family was at home.

I have been told that when some of the locals returned to Vanse with their American girlfriends and wives, they had a culture shock. The local women did not dress up or wear make-up when they went out, but the newly arrived American women did. Apparently this caused some jealousy amongst the local women who were not fond of the idea.

Putting that little cultural difference, Vanse slowly became a little piece of America. Naturally when the men and women returned from the US, they took with them all of their belongings – cars, fridges, furniture anything you can imagine. So it is no surprise when you visit some of the houses in the area, that they are full of American things.

I could not help but to pop into an American store called Trunken. It is named after the trunks that the visitors and ex pats brought back with them from the states full of their belongings.

When you enter the store, they are everywhere, but, they are not for sale! All of the other items in the store are of course for sale. Pictures of New York, American flags, number plates, you name it. If it is American, they have it.
I met a lady who worked there called Terri Anne Saeveland. She comes from California and has lived in Vanse with her Norwegian husband since 2009. I met my husband in California when he was there on vacation because his cousins worked for me. He went back to Norway and returned 3 months later and we started dating. He still lived in Norway and I in the states so it was long distance dating but two years later, we decided to get married in Oslo.

'My husband is a Norwegian Mexican. His mother is from Mexico and his father from Norway. His father was in the military and was stationed in New York for a while and when my husband was 10 they moved to Norway.

When we arrived in Vanse, my husband told me about an American store called Trunken so I went in there and spoke to them to see if I could work there. My Norwegian was not very good but they said I would be perfect for the job because it would be good to have an American working there.

They hired me a couple of months later. I have worked in retail for 32 years so it is very natural for me to work here and I love it. Everyone is very nice and respectful. I really love it here. People who shop here love the fact that I speak English because there are lots of tourists and in fact there are a lot of Americans living here in Vanse, so that is nice.'

Next door is a subway sign for Brooklyn Bridge subway station! (I guess they had to ship that over!)

I also popped into an American diner a couple of doors down and it was like walking into a diner in the US. American number plates all over the walls, a bar with American posters all over the walls, American beers and upstairs there are some rooms decked out with American appliances.
So, if you want to see a little bit of American history, visit Vanse.

Lindesnes Lighthouse (Lindesnes Fyr)

I was lucky to be invited to Lindesnes Fyr (lighthouse) for its 358th birthday celebration along with some colleagues from Visit Sørlandet.

 Before I begin with the experience, here is a little history on the lighthouse first...

In 1656, Norway’s first lighthouse was lit in Lindesnes. In those days this consisted of candles at the top of the tower. This didn’t really work out so they closed it and started again 69 years later with a different lightning solution – an iron coal blazier placed directly on a rock. Later in 1822 this solution was replaced by a lens which was manufactured in France.

Today there are only two lighthouse keepers in all of Norway and they are stationed at Lindesnes Lighthouse. They maintain the grounds, the lighthouse, assist school children with tours of the lighthouse and do just about anything that is needed in the area. They work two weeks on and two weeks off alternating between the two of them.

Back to the story…

I drove the scenic and windy roads from Farsund to the lighthouse. It is possible to take the main road E39 (check road name) from Farsund but I chose the scenic route, or should I say the GPS did this for me.

The layout for the lighthouse is stress free. A large parking place at the entrance, a store and museum embedded into the rocks, different sleeping quarters for the lighthouse keeper, the managing director of the lighthouse and of course the lighthouse itself.

The area is well lit, there are rails to assist in windy conditions and the lighthouse keeper is there 24 hours of the day for peace of mind for the visitor. Of course there are opening hours but visitors are not always aware of this and tend to come at their own accord.

We stayed overnight in the ‘lighthouse assistants quarters’ which has recently been renovated and was like a new apartment. New floor boards, a large lounge room, kitchen, dining area and two bedrooms upstairs. There is a large bedroom with a double bed and two singles and a smaller room with a single bed.

We sat down to a wonderful dinner, enjoyed some wine and as a little treat, the Managing Director of the lighthouse Anne Solvang Salvesen came with some with lighthouse baked bread, cheese, snacks and some local beer from Lista.

After all of this great food, we all decided to go out and get some air and go for a little walk. There was a little wind and was overcast but the lighthouse was magical. The strong lights stretched over the coastline and I thought about the ships many moons ago that used these lights to guide their way through the foggy coastline. Countless number of people and ships has been saved by the lighthouses that dot the coastline.

Inside the lighthouse looked like it was brand new. Fresh paint, very clean and well maintained. We took a little tour inside the light lens area where the two large light bulbs are located. One is in use and the other is a backup. Apparently it is near impossible to get these nowadays and they need to be especially made.

That night I slept like a baby.  The wind and ambiance of the lighthouse was peaceful. If it was not for my alarm in the morning, I could have slept the whole day!

Shortly after, I prepared myself for breakfast. I was part of a tourism conference from representatives of the different areas of Southern Norway. This was very interesting and I met some nice people with a wealth of information about the region.

It is actually quite difficult to describe the feeling when at the lighthouse at night. You have to experience it to understand it!

Welcome to the Visit Southern Norway Blog


I have been blogging and building websites for many years and enjoy the experience.

I moved to Kristiansand in 2005 and made a website for English speaking tourists visiting the area . This became quite popular and in the end, I was fortunate enough to get a job with the official tourist organisation Visit Sørlandet.

Since starting this new job, I have travelled to many different areas of Southern Norway and so it is important to write about these experiences to help others wishing to do the same.

Myself and others from the Visit Southern Norway team will be updating this blog with useful info.

Adam Read
Visit Sørlandet
Tlf 47 24 9336