Trondelag, or Trondheim, has been the city of kings ever since Viking king Olav Tryggvason sailed up the Trondheim Fjord in his longboat more than 1,000 years ago and founded Nidaros, after the River Nid. In 999, Olav invited Leif Eiriksson to stay there as his guest, after which the famous seaman sailed off to Greenland and on to America. Olav himself was canonized as Norway's patron saint with a cathedral built at his gravesite. By the Middle Ages, this central Norwegian city had become an important religious pilgrimage center and trading hub.
After a devastating fire destroyed much of Trondheim in the late 17th century, the city was rebuilt using a gridiron plan with broad avenues intended as firebreaks. This layout has survived, lending an elegant air to Norway's third-largest city. Trondheim also enjoys a youthful energy; one of every six residents is a student. Nidaros Cathedral remains Norway's religious center, attracting thousands each July for St. Olav's festival. Locals like to say, "Without Trondheim, all that would be left of the history book of Norway is the cover."
A German coastal defense battery guards the approach to Trondheim Fjord -- Norway's third-longest fjord -- an eerie reminder of the city's five-year occupation during World War II. The Hurtigruten fleet (the only one that routinely calls on Trondheim) docks at the harbor north of the city center, a 15-minute walk to the train and bus terminal. From there, it's a short walk across the bridge to central Trondheim.
Hurtigruten ships are very punctual, so be aware of the time when sightseeing independently.
The currency in Norway is the Norwegian kroner (NOK). Check www.xe.com for current currency conversions. Unlike Denmark and Sweden, Norway is not a member of the EU, so the euro is not legal tender. ATMs are located throughout Trondheim's city center. Banks, the main post office (Dronningens gate 10) and the Tourist Information Office all offer currency exchange services.
Norway has two official languages: Bokmal or "book language," derived from Danish, and Nynorsk, derived from many rural Norwegian dialects. Bokmal is the more common of the two languages, with Nyorsk spoken in the fjord country along the west coast and in the central valleys. Norway's oldest language, Sami, is spoken by the country's indigenous people. Most Norwegians also speak English. "Fjord" is a Norwegian word that's become part of the international lexicon.
Wool sweaters and troll dolls are the most obvious choices, but Norway is also famous for fine contemporary tableware, silver and ceramics.
Austmann Bryggeri brews local beer right in Trondheim. Several varieties are available, but we highly recommend Miss Saison, made with lemongrass and ginger.