And there goes Autumn

HeadsAfter a long hiatus I am back in Prague, and it’s feeling good. Norway was a fantastic country to stay in. The countryside was, to use a ropey-old expression, drop-dead gorgeous. The people were very friendly, and I enjoyed myself a lot. Living in a hotel for so long did have its downsides, and I don’t miss that at all, but I succumbed to a reward scheme and have earned myself enough points to stay somewhere lovely.

My previous impressions of Oslo were more or less accurate, but I will update them here. The most important thing is that yes, Norway is indeed an expensive place. Even compared to London. When you look at simple items such as a stick of chewing gum or a can of coke, and find that they are up to five times more expensive, you start to take notice.

A curious fact is that even though the population of Norway is only 4,604,800 (half the population of London), they have two languages (and possibly more, but the distinction escapes me). Like most places I visited I managed to derive some amusement from words with dual meanings, and particularly enjoyed ‘spare bank’, ‘god parkering’, and ‘fartering’.

I’ll come back to the countryside now. Using the wonderfully named Rent-a-wreck, I hired a car with a Czech friend, and we drove to some mountain in the Telemark area, West of Oslo. The mountain was a tough climb, especially as I had completley the wrong clothes (expecting instead that we would go to a nearby town), and it was very, very, cold on top. Still, there was a stall selling waffles up there, and the view was spectacular.

Mountain top

The next day we paid a visit to Lillehammer, home of the 1994 winter Olympics. The town itself is pretty non-descript, but it is surrounded in more of that Norwegian countryside, and we did get to see some young kids training for future games on the ski jump. It was fascinating to watch them rush down the slope and fly into the air, and I realised pretty quickly that there’s not a bats chance in hell you’d catch me doing the same.

Did I mention the countryside? It really is very epic, and I can easily imagine Lord Of The Rings being filmed there. Driving to Lillehammer took us by the side of a lake in the middle of mountains. After one hour we were still driving alongside the same lake. Two hours later and there was no end in sight.

A brief weekend back in Prague resulted in the loss of my bags in Vienna, and a thoughtful ‘baggage irregularity’ pouch from the airline in question. This pouch contained assorted toiletries, and giant t-shirt inside which I could probably have camped.

Upon returning to Oslo the weather had turned very cold, and within a few days it had gone sub-zero. It even began snowing. In October. After discussing this with some Norwegians, it turned out to be pretty unusual for snow to appear so early. Normally it appears in November.

I will finish this posting with a picture from a sad Norwegian tale about a boy and girl that try to cement their relationship, but eventually come undone*.


* The jokes are not free

12 thoughts on “And there goes Autumn”

  1. Norway looks gorgeous. I’ll have to make a note to go there in the future, if I ever travel. Sadly I’ve never been to Europe, I really want to go ๐Ÿ˜›

    Hahaha cement their love!

  2. HAHAH ye Magnus, snow all yeare round and we live in ice huts.

    Come to south coast of norway in the summer
    26+ Sun and Fun! and a really wonderfull coastline he, not that ice steriotypical norway

  3. Ha! this site is nice. I am going to France this summer but I do not think I will make it to Norway. Heard it is really nice inthe spring time. BTW, where is the giraffe? ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. We all love Norway, I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving this country. It’s fun reading about other people’s impression of Norway, it’s nice to know we’re spoiled.
    About the Lord of the Rings, I personally believe that there are only two countries in the whole world that could’ve fitted the landscape, and that’s Norway & New Zealand. If they’d shot the movie in Norway they wouldn’t even have a problem getting blond Rohanians, because 40% of us are natural blondes until we’re 40.. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Possibly Canada could be a third option. I’m sure the Lord Of the Rings guys considered Norway though. It’s definatley the perfect place for it, and I’d love to go back one day and see more.

    One thing I did notice when I was out in the country was that every house seemed to have a small out-building standing away from the main house. This out building was stood on poles above the ground, and generally was very ornate, and had a grass turf roof. I couldn’t figure out what they were for!

  6. Hi John – as I started liking your plugins I couldn’t help seeing you had a bunch of Norway posts… answer to your wonders in this last comment. What you saw was probably a "stabbur", traditionally used to dry and store food. Kept on poles (mostly rocks heaped onto each other) I believe to keep it dry and more easily keep the animals away (mainly mice). Wikipedia is your friend ๐Ÿ™‚ : – if you look at the Norwegian entry you have some more photos.

    Re your languages issue… pretty amazing yes, that we have that many languages. I recently moved up way north from down south, to Sami country. Where some speak sami, a language on the same branch as Finnish, coming in two distinguishable versions (not like with the two Norwegians that you can no problem understand… and hardly tell apart … and which are only written languages). And… have now discovered there is yet another Norwegian language called "Kven", different from all the others, based directly on Finnish… but yet different.

  7. Aha! Yes, looking at photos of stabburs that would be exactly what I was referring to. Thanks!

    Is the culture in the North noticeably different than the South? The Norwegians I spoke to joked that the people in the North were a bunch of weirdoes, so I’m guessing there’s at least a different mindset.

  8. Now John… you’ve started me off. I’ve got a bit of thoughts to load off after half a year up here, will give you a short write-up.

    Must certainly a different culture in general between north and south. The word sรƒยธring (southerner) easily becomes a derogative term up here. "the fucking southerner(s)" is frequently heard, and generally every rule and law that has a bad impact gets blamed on the southerners. Not so frequently mentioning the heavy subsidizing of the north by the south.

    Then next, as I’ve learned over the past years (going to a local festival –, there are quite a few culture differences between the different peoples up here, city people (from Tromsรƒยธ), country people of Norwegian ancestry, country people of Sami ancestry and then the mountain samis.

    The Norwegians only came here for real over the past couple of centuries to colonize. There’s always been a difference between the two Sami groups apparently, where the mountain ones were mostly reindeer herders and the sea-samis had a way of life more similar to the Norwegian immigrants. So during the "assimilation" process staged by the Norwegians naturally the sea-samis were a lot more affected and had their culture much more messed up. Leading to most of the sea-samis loosing their sami language and by many no longer being defined as sami. Pretty harsh stuff similar to how they treated aborigines in Australia. My girlfriends grandfather, who lost his real parents around the age of five, was beaten by the foster parents if he spoke Sami. So he has big problems and feels it bad now that my girlfriend wants to try and have her daughter speak Sami.

    oh… well – that it for now. Maybe bounce off one other thought from my head as you seem to be a webitelligent guy – have you ever heard of domain name age as a key in getting Google ranking? I’m helping out a friend with a site, but didn’t have time to do it all so I do hosting and another guy actually set up the site. Now the guy says that the domain we use is to old – and thus it doesn’t rank well in Google. Without having worked all on obtaining external links to the site … saying only that it ranked well when he put it in a subdirectory on his site it was well off. (then refuses to put up a .htaccess with 301 to redirect to the domain) bah…, I guess this became incomprehensible, maybe you have a suitable spot for SEO discussions?


  9. I wonder how many other similar stories there are from different peoples around the world. Evolution marches on regardless it seems!

    As far as I know, the age of a domain works in your favour towards Google ranking – Google is more inclined to trust your site if it is established (old) rather than if it’s brand new.

  10. As far as amusing dual meanings go, I feel obligated to point out a few more. There’s a small village in Norway called Hell. There is also something called Gods expedition, typically found on train stations (actually meaning something like goods office / parcel office / forwarding office).

    Both are favoured targets for tourists. Wikipedia has more about it, including pictures.

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