Only a few days into my Norwegian Fjords cruise onboard the Azamara Quest, I fell in love with this Scandinavian jewel. Norway offers so many beautiful sights and a rich culture steeped in history. Here are some of the photos I took of the stunning landscape during my voyage. Read on for some fun facts about Norway, its people and Viking past.
- Shop on Sunday and you break the law. Yep, Norwegians stores are “stengt” on the seventh day. To be exact, only stores with a footprint bigger than 1,000 square feet must close according to a law enacted in the late 1990s. Why? To give most working people the same day of rest to spend quality time together.
- What’s with the goats on top of the house? Traditional Norwegian roofs used sod or turf, which topped layers of birch bark. The goats were used to “cut the grass” so the roof wouldn’t wash away with all the rain. Following the railroad-ization of Norway, slate roofs gained popularity. Slate was more expensive, but re-roofing was less frequent.
- Everyone knows trolls, the mythological creatures known for being unattractive, unpleasant, and unsafe. But have you heard of the Scandinavian hulders? In Norway, the seductive forest creature is known as Huldra. She is a mythological distant cousin to mermaids and sirens.
- Gold medals and gold crowns. King Harald V represented Norway in the Olympic yachting events in Tokyo 1964, in Mexico City in 1968, and Munich in 1972.
- Farmer in the fjord. Only 3% of Norway’s land is arable, or farmable, thanks to the majestic mountain landscapes. Hay, barley, oats and rye are the country’s cash crops. Soybeans, wheat, and bananas are popular imports.
- Vroom, vroom! Electric vehicle registration is very high in Norway at 24.4% of all new car registrations in the first three months of 2016. Compare that to the Netherlands at 1.8%, France at 1.5%, the UK at 1.3 % and Germany at 0.7%. Here’s why they are so popular: Lots of incentives such as tax breaks and the creation of a large network of charging stations.
- Fossen Bratte is a most impressive waterfall. (Bratte means steep.) Did you know that Norway is home to nine of the highest waterfalls in the world? The highest waterfall in Norway is Vinnufossen in Møre og Romsdal at 2,822 feet. The highest waterfall in the world is Angel Falls in Venezuela at 3,212 feet.
- About one-third of Norwegians own a second home, which is typically a cottage by the sea or in the mountains. Weekend and holiday getaways are very popular even during the long, dark and cold winters. Though Norwegians love communing with nature, the cottages are outfitted with indoor modern plumbing. The average size is 100 m2 or 1,076.39 square feet.
- The population of Norway is 5.084 million, far behind Sweden’s 9.593 million but pretty close to Denmark’s 5.614 million. Oslo, the capital since the reign of King Haakon V in the 1200s, claims 580,000 inhabitants and Bergen, the second biggest city, has 213,585 residents.
- Norway’s immigrants make up 16.3 percent of its population. Here are the five largest immigrant groups: Polish, Lithuanian, Swedish, Somali, and Pakistani.
What do you think? Is there something you would add to the list? I think Norway is an incredible, pristine place.
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