Norway - From the Land of Vikings
“Norway - From the Land of the Vikings” will cover the entire country from south to the North Cape, the most northern point in Europe. We visit all the major cities starting with Oslo the Capital and Constitution Day celebration… the biggest holiday in Norway after Christmas.
Pilgrims have been trekking to Trondhiem since the 1100’s. They still do…to visit the St. Olaf Cathedral dedicated to King Olaf, first Viking leader to bring Christianity to Norway. Early day pilgrims coming from Germany, France and many countries were fed and housed by Norwegians along the way. It’s been happening for almost 1,000 years.
Stavanger is the center of the oil industry which has transformed Norway into a relatively wealthy nation today. Modern technology has been applied to developing the most stupendous offshore drilling platforms anywhere. Norway is the third largest exporter of oil and natural gas in the world (second only to Saudia Arabia). Even so, gasoline is near $10 a gallon.
Bergen is the second largest city, an old time fish market still exists along the waterfront, as well as part of the medieval city… wooden buildings which escaped the many times the city was destroyed by fire.
North, we journey to the Lofoton Islands and some of the most surreal beauty of the country. We see rows and rows of cod drying in the sun. This used to be the major export of Norway… declining fish stocks have forced the islanders to divert attention to tourism.
To that end, they have discovered and rebuilt the largest Viking communal house ever found. The Vikings turn out to be more than just brutal raiders… they had sophisticated housing with most advanced construction techniques, wove complex fabrics for clothing, were the first to develop sails that could sail into the wind, the first to develop a compass, the first Europeans to discover and land in North America (500 years before Columbus). They were such accomplished sailors they were able to take cattle and sheep from Norway to Iceland across the Atlantic Ocean! A thousand years ago!
In Alta, Norway the midnight sun warms the air to 80˚ Fahrenheit, even though we are 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The Sami live here…people you’ve always called Lapplanders. They have been here 10,000 years, and still depend on reindeer to some extent, as they have for centuries.
Almost all Norwegians speak English, have a relative living in America, or have visited the U.S. themselves. But they still retain a unique culture and remain a vibrant, dynamic people, determined to make a satisfying and rewarding life for every citizen in their country. How they accomplish it is a fascinating study of a success oriented people.