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Norway poem

My first trip to Spain, I wrote a 5- or 6-page poem. This is all I managed in Scandinavia:

Scenery (Norway)

oh my god!
wow…. wow!
holy shamoly!
did you SEE that?!
did you see THAT?!!
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Despite having a landscape shockingly unlike anything I've ever seen, I knew where I was in Norway. I have no doubt that's because I grew up with predominantly Scandinavians, so all the faces I saw were the faces of home, of my schools & friends & neighbors. I recognized the rugged yet delicate men, the many tall fair women, even the cadence of the language hit my ear like the old days. Almost everyone I know from South Dakota has had the experience of meeting someone with a pronounced Minnesota accent, only to discover that they are actually from a Nordic country. I remember being surprised once in the old Norwegian part of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, that I felt so oddly (and comfortably) at home—this after living in New York's very different demographic for decades. A couple of blondes & a Lutheran church or two & I was right back in Sioux Falls.  Read More 
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I'm fortunate in having friends & relatives in many countries, and in the last couple years they have been willing to serve as tour director/guide. I got the insider view of Barcelona & the Costa Brava, Liverpool, London, & Norway.

We don't want to see tourist spots, my Norwegian friends said, we like seeing the places you care about, that visitors wouldn't stumble upon, or appreciate if they did. (Me too.) On my end, that usually means taking people to B&H. On their end it's telling us which fishing village not to miss, where to eat non-ham tapas, & Lewis Carroll's boyhood church.

Hard to say how much of itI would have found on my own. Not very much, since I'm pretty much a "let's see what happens" sort of traveler.  Read More 
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Svinøya (Pig Island) at Svolvær, Lofoten, northern Norway
So much to say about this fantastic country & trip.

One is that no matter how many photos I took, not a single one conveyed the true grandeur of what we were seeing. Maybe you had to also be breathing the bracing arctic air. Maybe no picture could represent the scale accurately.

I've never had that experience before. I was able to take pictures that closely resembled what I've seen in other places. It was fascinating & frustrating.  Read More 
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The Norwegians, as I’m sure everyone knows, invented the cheese slicer, or osthøvel. This one was given to me by a friend whose mother is Norwegian and was just there on a family trip. Everyone is going to Norway except me. I can’t wait to buy some cheese and feel a little norsk.  Read More 
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Jeg snakker norsk!

Stave church in Norway, which I learned about from my language course.
Well, it's not so much that I speak Norwegian as that I am learning Norwegian. It was a random thing, as my sister turned me on to the terrific language app DuoLingo, and I lit on Norwegian. I can almost read a thriller in Norwegian so it's working. And thrilling.

You can really see the Anglo-Saxon roots of (connection to?) English in it, with many similar words, like hus/house.

I did study some Old English not long ago. Read More 
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