Vikings and Lichens

While my office mates are scattering south in search of beaches and tans, I’m headed north for some freakin’ midnight sun and glaciers.

Norway is, in a word, intense.  Take a ferry through a fjord and count how many times you say, “wow”.  The water is literally green – something to do with how the sediment reflects light.  Lines of silver-white waterfalls tumbling down the cliffs, shorelines speckled with red-roofed cottages, and glaciers, people.  GLACIERS.

It's MAGICAL.

It’s MAGICAL.

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Don’t even get me started on the Viking Museum in Oslo.  The ships are legit – curly ends and everything.  The ships were found buried in mounds, the tombs of elite Viking people.  That the graves were unearthed and (ahem) raided to create the museum was a bit of irony.

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At this time of year, you can wander around fjords and gather lichen well past 10:00 pm, bathed in the glow of the Nordic sun.  It was something I never got used to, falling asleep in lingering light, only to have the sun rise again around 3:00 am!

So, lichen.  It’s what grows in the wild tundra of Norway’s exquisite mountains, above the tree line.  You might just spot a glacier while you’re up there, gathering your lichen.

Why lichen, you might ask?  Well, to make Lichen Bread, of course.

Pot full 'o wild lichen

Pot full ‘o wild lichen

Wholewheat flour, lichens, loads of milk, cultured milk, oatmeal, water and salt.  Some magic happens, then it's cooked for a couple hours.  It's the thickest, hardiest bread I've ever eaten.

Wholewheat flour, lichens, loads of milk, cultured milk, oatmeal, water and salt. Some magic happens, then it’s cooked for a couple hours. It’s the thickest, hardiest bread I’ve ever eaten.

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