Norway

Imagine a place…

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…so far north in Europe that in winter some of its people live in almost total darkness for nearly six months. Six whole months!  Just imagine what that might feel like… You’d get up in darkness, go to school in darkness, come home in darkness, and somewhere in the middle there might be a few hours of light, but not much and not for long.

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How do you think you would feel when after that long period of darkness the sun finally reappeared?  And not just any old sun, but one that sticks around literally all day. A sun that hardly ever goes down below the horizon for most of the summer. How different is that from your own life? I bet it’s quite hard to imagine what it would be like, because it’s not something most of us are used to.

Bergen Arrival2.JPGWell, I think it is fair to say that it has had a big effect on the people that live in Scandinavia, on the way they live and work, their customs and traditions. In this travel kit we explore some of this wonderful part of Europe, which is so close, and yet so different, and we’ll look at how its people have adapted to this rather strange life between dark and light.

It’s a big country!

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Let’s take a look at the map of Europe first of all (courtesy of About.Com).  Click on the map to make it bigger. Then pick out Scandinavia, and take a closer look at Norway. Can you see just how enormous Norway is compared to the rest of Europe?  The distance from the most northern point of Norway to its southern tip of is nearly 1600 kilometers. That almost the same distance as travelling from Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, via Belgium and France all the way to the south of Spain. It really is a massive country.

Norway of course is part of what we usually call Scandinavia.  Now here is a question for you: which countries do you think are included in Scandinavia?  Take a minute to think about it and write your answer down­­­­.

What’s in a name

Well, that was mean of me. 🙂 Actually, it’s a bit of a trick question.  Most people, when talking about ‘Scandinavia’, would include Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway and Iceland.  Because Greenland and the Faroe Islands belong to Denmark, these would also be included, and so would the island Svalbard (Spitsbergen), a place you may well have heard or read about, and which belongs to Norway.

Bergen Bryggen Moose.JPGI bet you didn’t know though, that most people in the north and even the Finnish people themselves think that Finland isn’t really part of Scandinavia.  So when they talk about Scandinavia, they exclude poor old Finland. Instead all 5 countries prefer to call themselves ‘the Nordic countries’.  I guess you are used to calling them Scandinavia though, so if you don’t mind, we’ll just continue to use that name.

This is a brief introduction to ‘My Travel Kit for Norway’.  If you would like more information please contact me.