Interview by Steven MacKenzie
Odd Erling (Odd is a common name in Norway) has been selling Sorgenfri for six years. He became a local celebrity this year after appearing (and singing) in a music video to promote the area. Search for Trøndelag on YouTube – you won’t regret it.
Why I like living in Trondheim
Norwegians can seem a little bit distant but generally we are very hospitable people. We have lots of nature around Trondheim. If you walk along the shore there are nature paths through mountains and forests. We have forest almost right up to the city limits. Sometimes moose get a little lost and suddenly they are in the middle of the city. Last year one was almost in the centre. The police had to come and chase it away because they are 600-700kg and can be dangerous.
Where to eat
There is lots of good local food here. A lot of Norwegians have salmon and caribou dishes. Our national dish is meat cakes with potatoes, pea mash and brown sauce – that’s excellent! In some of the bigger hotels like the Radisson we have some really good high-class restaurants but my favourite is a small Italian one in the centre, Ristorantino, almost next door to the Church of Our Lady. Very very good.
Best places to visit
We have landmarks from the Second World War from when the Germans occupied Norway. One of the biggest artillary guns ever placed on land is just outside Trondheim. They took it from the battleship Gneisenau. And in the middle of the harbour we have Dora I, an old submarine base. Today they use it for a lot. Inside there is a bowling alley and a go kart track.
Where to celebrate Christmas
Nidaros Cathedral was founded 1000 years ago. It’s been there since the Viking age. They became Christians – It was Olaf the Holy that christened Norway, but it wasn’t very nice: either you’re a Christian or we put your head on a spike – and the heads of your family. At that time Trondheim was the capital of Norway, and the city then was known as Nidaros.
How to cope in the winter
In winter it can easily go down to 20 below, sometimes 30 below. You have to clothe yourself or you will freeze to death eventually. That can be really painful to stand outside. That is not a fun situation. We have fewer customers – people almost run past you! But we have a saying in Norway: “Det fins ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær” – it rhymes in Norwegian – meaning there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
My favourite time of year
When I was young it was winter but now it’s summer! When I was young I liked building snowmen and big caves. We had a lot more snow then. Really, you can see the effect of global warming here in Norway. When I was young in the middle of the 1980s, around this time of year we would have a metre or a metre and a half of snow but it’s only started to snow a couple of days ago. We have a little bit of a layer but not like before.
Originally published by The Big Issue (UK)
Read more coverage of #VendorWeek 2019 here.