Thursday and Friday I had the pleasure to visit Vega – a beautiful island off the coast of Helgeland in the northern part of Norway. The nature is stunning, but even above that – the food we got at Vega Havhotell was the best I’ve ever had.


Brendan and I was invited by the amazing Per Ulrik Arntsen to speak at the itSMF conferance. Brendan did some out-of-the-box stuff and ended up getting the whole audience sing along with an off-the-wall song, while I jumped around and covered the importance of communication.

Anna and Jon Aga

We stayed at a nice hotel run by a warm and energetic couple. Anna is funny and very service minded. Jon is very direct, funny and an excellent cook. He makes all the food from fresh local ingredients. The dinner we got was legendary, and the talk Jon gave before we got the food set a new standard for how to treat customers. I hope to record an interview with Jon one day so that many more people can get to experience his no-compromise attitude toward service.

All-in-all – it was a very memorable trip. I’ll be back there in the not unforeseeable future.

If you ever visit Norway, make an effort to drop by Vega. You’ll be blown away.

47 thoughts on “Vega

  1. Heleland reminds me of the island in Girl with Dragon Tattoo πŸ™‚ Looks beautiful.

    1. Yes – a lot. The Norwegian dialects vary much more than the different pronunciations of English around the world.

    2. Yes of course, Chris! I lived for 3 years in Oppland, a nice region with nice people, but everybody told me the dialect is strange. I couldn’t say it, cause I never knew other alternative than Valdres dialect. For me, as a foreigner, it was difficult to understand Bergen people and absolutely impossible to understand Voss people. My Norwegian is a very strange mix, with Valdres pronunciation and a lot of Swedish words (many of my colleagues were Swedish). Anyway, the experience itself is fantastic, believe me.

      1. So interesting! I am trying to read up on written Norwegian and finding that to be confusing as well…

        Thanks Dragos and Geir for the enlightenment.

        1. Want something confusing? Well, Chris, please try to read a text in Danish and then to listen the same text also in Danish πŸ™‚ And finally, try to speak Danish too πŸ™‚ Believe me, Norwegian language is very understandable compared with Danish. A lot of German and English root-words, an affordable grammar and a very good teaching system for foreigners. If you know Norwegian, the bonus is that you understand Swedish too.

          1. wow! I did seem to get the idea that even when speaking Norwegian that books seemed to be printed in Danish . . . I hesitate to state that in case my understanding was so poor that I expose my ignorance! Anyways thank you for the enlightenment.

            1. The similarity between written danish and written norwegian is very obvious. Some will claim norwegian is moderated danish and the danes joke that written norwegian is “infantile”. The norwegians again state that spoken danish is not a lingo but a throat disease. πŸ˜‰

            2. LOL! There are many accents of English in America — many. But I would expect to understand and be understood everywhere I go around the country. In my opinion, the English no longer know how to speak English! (joke)

            3. Hi Tor! Very funny about the throat disease πŸ™‚ Well, I can tell you other things, and I’m neutral, cause I’m foreigner. So, my Norwegian colleagues told me that “Danish are speaking with a potato in the mouth”, and my Swedish colleagues told me that “Norwegians are not speaking, they are singing”! But for me was stunning to see Valdres people raising an eyebrow when hearing some noise on the street: “They are definitely from Bergen” πŸ™‚ or : “Bergen people are champions in everything. They live in their own country” πŸ™‚ Another funny thing for me was to notice that many people in Norway don’t support Rosenborg Trondheim, even if this team is very good and have a respectable history.

            4. Hehe, I’ve that “singing” comparison from others as well, I think it’s mainly related to the thing that norwegian is not strict on whether one should go up or down (in tone) at the end of sentence. Almost all other lingos will go up at the if it’s a question and down if not, but norwegian goes up and down almost arbitrarily … πŸ™‚

            1. I lived for 3 years in Beitostolen, working there in Radisson SAS as a spa therapist. Great place, fantastic landscapes, but climate was extremely cold. In 2009 were minus 42, and just nearby in a village were minus 50. Otherwise, nothing to complain. I have marvelous remembrances about everything.

            2. Hehe, the climate there is somewhat sharp as we’d say, as it is some altitude, and the cold weather comes from the east (Siberia …) then the temps drop like a stone.

              The winters 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 were extraordinary bad and cold.

              The unofficial record is held in Finnmark, minus 56,6 if I am not wrong … πŸ˜€

            3. Imagine how is to wait for a bus at minus 42…And wait, and wait, and wait…:)

      2. OMG, I become warm inside as I read this. Valdres is part of my childhood memories as we used go there on vacations. Today I own a house there, in Vang, if you recognize the name.

        The dialect is originally closely to Voss- and Sogn-dialect, however they are both more extreme in the pronunciation. Almost any wovel is pronounced as two, eg. A as AO. .. It’s really bad enough when you hear from someone who’s sober … πŸ˜‰ All these three dialects contain remnants of the norrΓΈn speech which only44 Icelandic now is clode to.

        The two dialects (Sogn / Voss) are again linguistically related to the swedish SkΓ₯ne-dialect and also Danish.

        1. So nice to hear, thanks Tor! Sure, I know Vang very well, they have also a football team, black and white equipment, I saw them playing with Valdres FK.

      3. Sorry Dragos, one of the posts was for you : Where in Oppland did you live?

    3. Actually Norway has nearly the same amount of distinct dialects as Britain which again has more than 10 times the population. πŸ™‚

      There are regions that strive in understanding each other …

      1. This is so interesting to me and my wife is a linguist (for an American!) and finds this interesting as well… Is the reason for this very old and geographical?

        1. There is a set of reasons I think, and I’m aware of some. Mountains are typical dividers between groups of dialects, however roads crossing the mountains are typical links between the local dialects at each end.
          Water- and trade routes are also normal connectors.

      2. I was told about a Norwegian teenager from Oslo who went at Voss and simply didn’t understood a local old lady. Poor guy was almost forced to speak English in his own country….

  2. Vega, looks interesting and serene, sounds great. I sure would like to hear an interview with Jon and to experience his no-compromise attitude toward service. πŸ™‚

  3. There is something I never knew, Geir. What about food in Norway, does it differ related to North or South? We’ve met in Valdres, which is the land of rakfisk, but honestly I don’t know what is specific in North or South, really. Whenever I was in Oslo, for instance, I found everything very cosmopolitan, but I can imagine that Oslo is an exception.

    1. The Mexican food that we eat in Arizona includes flat bread called “tortillas” (tor-tee-yas) made with either corn or wheat flour mush, rolled flat and baked. Though not made with potatoes, the flour tortillas were recognizable to my father as “lefsa” and so while growing up eating flour tortillas I called them lefsa. Later, as a young adult, I went to the store looking for lefsa and couldn’t understand why no one knew what I was talking about when I knew full well that everyone was eating them.

      1. Just a side: Today in the globalized economy you can buy tortillas on many places. Here in Europe they’re quite popular too.

      2. Tortillas are really close to lefser. 1 lefse, 2 lefser. Lefse is usually made on wheat flour and contains. There is a variety made from potatoes that is called lompe. 1 lompe, 2 lomper.

        1. Ah! I eat mine as my mother taught me warmed with butter and sugar and rolled into a nice long roll. (The Mexicans do not do this but rather tear off bits and use it to pick up their food eating each piece with each bite!)

        2. exactly! When you order a sausage you are asked: “lefse or lumpe”? I didn’t know first time what is lefse and what is lumpe so I’ve answered in the most…touristical way: “Please give me the sausage…” πŸ™‚

    2. The food is different in the North compared to the South and in the West compared to the East. Much more fresh fish in the North. More meat in the East. Weird food in the West (also more fish) and more meat and other type of seafood in the South.

  4. My wife and I are both half-Norwegian and fantasize about exploring the land of the northern lights. We both have unknown relations there and thought it would be fun to meet some of our estranged family while exploring the famous fiords and visiting Oslo as well as the arctic circle. . . . We should probably do a full week rather than a 3 day visit! haha

  5. Hey, when you look at my photo, do I look Norwegian? . . . (you know what I mean! Would I look “normal” walking down a Scandinavian street?)

    1. Seriously I wouldn’t doubted for a second if someone said you were norwegian. However that would also be valid for say 80% of white americans, germans, dutch and canadians … πŸ™‚

      1. LOL!

        I have a “ruddy” (redish) complexion. I tan very easily but the cast is reddish brown – similar to the “red-man” (Native American Indians) Is this common in Scandinavia at all?

        I am supposedly 1/4 French then the rest Scot-Irish-English.

        1. Well. it’s def’tly not uncommon, you know we a scottish raid i Norway many hundred years of a certain Sinclair and his men, and, for some reason, that has a genoma or two red hair in Norway … πŸ˜€

    2. Saying that you are from Phoenix, Arizona…hmmm…you’re looking like a Phoenix Coyotes fan πŸ™‚

  6. I’m finally getting around to posting a comment on this delightful blog post and say it made me wish I were there. (The Chamber of Commerce for Vega should hire you :)) And now after reading the comments, I wish I were at least part Norwegian so I could share in the camaraderie!

    Great photos. Fun to see that restaurant couple (they should hire you too) and to have a current picture of you and Brendon – post more of this type! Brendon looks younger than the photo I saw of him one time (or maybe it was just a picture in my mind). You both look slim and trim, fit and ready for your new company adventure.

    Btw, I like the new theme, the lightest, whitest and brightest one ever. I was appreciating the last theme too with more tiers/levels of reply buttons and this one seems to have as many. Das ist gut. (That’s as close to Norwegian as I can get :).)

    1. Baaaaaaaaad Marildi, shame on you ! That’s german !!!!! πŸ˜‰

      What would you say if we wrote something in spanish (prev occupiers of your state) and said that’s as close to english I can get ? πŸ˜‰

      1. I knew it was German! That was my point – it was as close to German as I could get, based on the idea that Norwegian is a Germanic language. πŸ˜›

  7. @Geir — I just had a comment put on moderation on the other thread — weird glitch I guess. I am hoping this one will get through and you’ll see it and can then approve the comment I made on the other thread!

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