Helsinki to Norway July 2016
Helsinki day 1  |  Helsinki day 2  |  Helsinki day 3  |  Stockholm  |  Stockholm to Kosta  |  Kosta to Kalmar
Kalmar to Copenhagen  |  Copenhagen  |  Copenhagen to the Ship  |  Aalborg, Denmark  |  Flam, Norway
Alesund, Norway  |  Molde, Norway  |  Geiranger, Norway  |  Olden, Norway  |  Bergen, Norway
Eidfjord, Norway  |  Stavanger, Norway

July 30, 2016
Olden, Norway

Olden, NorwayThis is another picture postcard part of Norway. In many ways, little Olden is not a whole lot different than the city we just left, Geiranger. Coming into port this morning, it looked like it was going to rain. However, it turned out however that the clouds were a more compact and entertaining version of the a.m. coastal fog we get in California. The natives call it fjord sweat”, which the guide tried to explain by saying it was the result of fresh water flowing into the salty fjord water (and the different densities of fresh and salt water) along with differences in land and air temperatures in the morning. Anyway it was peculiar. The fog was not a blanket but merely slithered between trees and crevices. Ethereal.

Olden, NorwayIn our tour today we drove around two fjord "fingers". There wasn't much difference between them, but no complaints. Both had Olden, Norwaybreathtaking scenery: farms on practically vertical land and steep forested mountains shooting up even more vertically where the cleared farmland stopped. What also became evident was how scattered the population was. Towns had hundreds of people. Dwellings in the countryside were scattered here and there, wherever water was available, land could be cleared, and landslides were not apt to occur.

Today's guide is a teacher in the winter. He described the education system and how it serves such a scattered population. Every child goes to school, which is free. The classes are divided by age (and like schools in our most rural areas, ages and class levels might be in the same room). The number of schools decrease as the children get older and are expected to be able to travel further. Some of the schools are on islands by themselves. In fact, he made mention of the large number of school boats, as opposed to school buses, that ferry the children to school. A relatively large percentage of the total population are teachers or in other public service jobs.

Olden, Norway

We stopped for coffee and pastries in a small town. Its main street, a dedicated pedestrian street, was among the quaintest I have ever seen. The shops are converted residences. But the whole downtown area reminded me of a western ghost town. There were very few customers, at least when we were there at 10 a.m., even though today is Saturday.

Olden, Norway

Finally, we drove by what the guide described as the deepest lake in Europe. Not a whole lot to see but another body of water. Pretty nonetheless.

Two topics have been consisting surfacing in the comments of our various guides in Norway. Although they are proud of the fact that their national government takes care of their health, education, retirement, and maintains the infrastructure that allows the country to exist as it does, they feel taxes are too high.

Second, Norwegians (and maybe Scandinavians in general) seem to talk more about WWII and German occupation than any place I've experienced except for a town in Northern Australia where our guide talked at length about the Americans defending them when England abandoned them.

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