Sunday, June 28, 2009

Norway, Day 7

June 27

Another incredible summery day, too warm really. I'm sure that whenever I think of Norway in the future, I will remember this tropical place where finding a patch of shade was a relief, where men walk around without shirts & young children even more than half-naked, where you can hardly find a seat outside to recover with a cold beer.

Today we got a rather late start & then headed for The Island. In fact Oslo's harbour has a number of little islands all connected by small passenger ferries (no cars). The island we went to was the largest & best known because on it you can visit the remains of a monastery built in the 13th or 14th century. I wonder if all North Americans are as astounded by thousand-year-old ruins as I am? Canada's first peoples did not leave much in the way of stonework and so our continental history is visually kind of thin. To be able to crawl around, casually & unsupervised, on such an ancient monument is incredible.

Norway has many aspects that strike me as incredible. There are very few tourists & very little catering for the whims of tourists; this is an authentic sort of place. Even though it's so far north as to be an almost frontier kind of place, Norway can compete culturally with any other European nation. It is capable of hot summer weather. It truly does have a different feel from Sweden.

The young people are out on the town tonight & who knows when they'll be back... I am predicting an even later start to the day tomorrow.

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