Trondheim Wrap Up

Writing the wrap up for the city that has been my home for the past year has been bittersweet since it marks the end of my Fulbright, but here it is:

  1. Public transportation apps for the city are AtB Reise (maps and navigation for public transportation) and AtB Mobillett (to buy tickets). 
  2. Nidaros Cathedral – Is a must. I would highly recommend an English tour and a trip up to the top of the tower for some good views. Depending on what you are interested in, you can also check and see if the cathedral has any concerts going on when you’re there. You also have the option of buying a combined ticket and getting access to the Norwegian crown jewels and the archbishop’s palace. I think that the crown jewels are a nice, if small, exhibit, but personally would give a pass on the archbishop’s palace unless you’re interested in the church’s medieval history.
  3. The Resistance Museum – a free museum in the same complex as the crown jewels and the archbishop’s palace and worth paying a visit.
  4. Bakklandet – The old part of Trondheim is very adorable and nice to walk around. It also showcases the town’s old bridge, Lykken’s Portal or “The Portal of Happiness,” and the charming old aspects of the city.
  5. Fjord Tour – Depending on when you come you can take a small fjord tour (it’s seasonal). It’ll take you around the city as well as out to one of the nearby islands, Munkholmen.
  6. National Museum of Decorative Arts – Very nice, if small, museum, especially if you’re interested in design.
  7. Stiftsgården – A nice place to take a tour. It’s the royal family’s old residence in Trondheim and really gives you a good (if brief) history of Norway and reminds you of how poor the country used to be.
  8. Sverresborg Folk Museum – great museum that’s a little bit out of the way. Gives a good sense of the old city and provides nice views of the city.
  9. Hiking – If you want to hike you can hike to your heart’s content in Bymarka (which is easily accessible via tram) or take a walk along the fjord.
  10. Food & Drink
    • Ni Muset – great cafe/coffeehouse with some nice food and snacks.
    • Tyholt Tower – It’s the large radio tower in town and will give you good views of the city. The restaurant at the top is just okay.
    • Den Gode Nabo – You can go have drinks out on the river and the food is good.
    • Bakklandet Skydsstation – great for traditional Norwegian waffles or a light traditional Norwegian meal.
    • Antikvarietet – a good cafe/bar.
    • Mat fra Hagen – a trendy vegetarian restaurant in Bakklandet. Not even their bread is bread–it’s really mashed chickpeas.
    • Fairytale Cupcakes – this great little cafe looks as if you’ve tumbled down the rabbit hole into something inspired by Lewis Carroll. Excellent cupcakes, but be prepared for pink.
    • Kos – trendy Japanese restaurant with good sushi. I’d highly recommend splurging and having all you can eat sushi for 299 NOK.
  11. If you’re around for a more extended period, it’s definitely worthwhile to take a two hour train down to Røros for a day trip. It’s this adorable old mining town that’s an UNESCO site. If you happen to be around in February then definitely go to Rørosmartnan.

Cultural Sites in Trondheim

Now I know that I haven’t mentioned hiking in the last few weeks and it’s because Trondheim has recently been plagued with rainy weekends. So, in an effort to make sure I wasn’t just going to live in bed all weekend, I’ve been trying to check out some more of the cultural sites around Trondheim.

Stop number 1: the symphony. A few weeks ago I went with Alix and some of her colleagues to listen to Trondheim’s Symphony Orchestra. Despite the fact that they didn’t play much Grieg, I still managed to get “In the Hall of the Mountain King” stuck in my head for a week (don’t worry you’ll know the song once you hear it). While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the orchestra’s set list, it was still nice to sit back, relax, and just enjoy the music. Plus it wasn’t half bad at 120 kroner (around 18 USD).

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I also had the chance to drop by both the Trondheim Museum of Art (Trondheim Kunstmuseum) and the National Museum of Decorative Arts (Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum). I didn’t get too much time to explore the Museum of Art since when I arrived they were about to close, but they did have a fun exhibit on how people used to do the sound effects for the radio. My favorite effects were rubbing your hands across a balloon get a kissing noise and squelching pasta in a bowl to create monster footsteps.

The National Museum of Decorative Arts was actually really enjoyable. They have exhibits on three levels, and unfortunately I JUST missed their Vanity Fair exhibit. Still it was a lot of fun to look around at some of their more unusual art pieces. I now have a better understanding of why Ikea came from Scandinavia. The museum also happens to have a well stocked gift shop which I’d recommend.

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And last but not least, I was treated to a tour of the Ringe Museum, which is a music museum on the outskirts of town. To quote our tour guide, “The museum was originally an old manor where the rich used to go to play farmer” (hence why it’s on the edge of town). The manor was eventually inherited by a couple who was very dedicated to music and who decided to convert the manor into a museum. Nowadays the museum has instruments from all around the world, and many of them are hundreds of years old and quite rare.

While the tour itself was nice, we got a bonus on top of that. It just so happens that a friend of a friend of a friend, Daniel, happens to work at the museum and was willing to give us a private tour on top of the public one. We all had a lot of fun walking around the museum and having him explain the history behind some of the instruments on display. It turns out that some of the most controversial instruments in the museum are Tibetan ones made of human bones. China has now banned Tibetans from making these instruments from bones, but the museum has some genuine ones as well as some of the more modern version which are made out of wood.

What I personally found to be the strangest instrument in the museum was the theremin.

You don’t actually touch the theremin to play it but by moving your hands around the instrument you can change the volume on the left hand side and the pitch on the right hand side. My clumsy attempts to play it were pretty terrible, but this YouTube video will give you a good idea of what it sounds like and how to play it. And yes, it’s much harder to do than it looks.

At the end of the day my favorite instrument was a bell. Daniel explained that in the country where the bell originated from monks would ring the bell to help pray for the dead. He went on to explain that families would come and stick a post-it note on the bell with the names of the deceased and their address written down. The idea behind this was that when the monks would ring the bell it would call to the dead and then the dead would be able to hear the monks praying for them and guiding them from their home address onto the path of reincarnation.

Overall I had a good time at the museum and would recommend a visit if you happen to be a music lover.

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