I've been to Norway twice, and have friends there - family friends, who go back a long long way. I was sixteen when I first went there and was permanently tongue-tied, partly with teenage shyness but also because the beauty of the place is so inexpressible.
After I met Tony I wanted to share Norway with him, and when we were married we decided we'd ave a holiday in Norway before we had children because we wouldn't be able to afford it afterwards. We squandered the savings accordingly. Here are some of the things we learned -
- friends of friends will invite you over at a moment's notice and provide a smorgasbord and cake fit for the Queen
- you don't know anything about fresh fish until you go there
- the air is so clean and fresh it's exhausting
- the fjords look even better from a boat
- every moment on the fjord is more spectacular than the last
- Norwegians know how to have fun
- they are fond of their monarchy as well as being completely relaxed about it
- people living on the outskirts of Oslo left their cars unlocked
- visitors with UK numberplates didn't get parking tickets
- there may be some ugly buildings somewhere, but we didn't see any
- Norwegian people are not only lovely, they are also very 'sorted' and generally seem to have the balance of life right
- it is a place of peace
- I want to go back. Nothing will ever be quite like that first magical, fairyland cruise through the fjords when I was sixteen, but I still want more.
But Norway is not fairyland, and Oslo is in mourning tonight. Oslo, Norway, thank you for your welcoming spirit and the values of justice and freedom that you uphold. Thank you for your stories, and most of all for your people. Prayers for the grieving people of Norway are offered tonight.