NORWAY

12/6/2021   

As the Yankee drove into the long-term parking at the Minneapolis International Airport, Lars Larsen was cringing at the $18/day parking fee. The North Sea countries contain people who do not part with their money very readily. Almost as bad as the Dutch for being tightwads, Norwegians squeak when they reach for their wallets. Even with the oil riches of the North Sea washing ashore, most Norwegians are frivolously frugal as they reside in the land of the midnight scum… er, I mean sun. As the plane departed the Herbert Humphrey Terminal, the nose kicked up and a full load of tourists and citizens were settling in for the 12 hour flight to Europe’s most advanced country. Half a day later, the plane broke through the cloud cover and on its final approach to Oslo, the Norwegian citizens aboard started clapping in unison until the landing gear took over the load on the ground. They all let out a mighty cheer. Must be a Norwegian tradition. After passing through a relaxed customs inquiry, Lars located his Viking vessel (rental car) and was happy to see that the steering wheel was on the American side of the car. No matter. About 1 hour into his Oslo, Norway trip, Lars drove past a set of stone lions and into a huge, brick-paved common area with lots of people, but no cars. With a bunch of people giving him the evil eye, the Ugly American soon realized he was in an open style shopping mall. The movie: THE BLUES BROTHERS made him chuckle as he remembered Aykroyd and Belushi driving through a Chicago suburban mall. Mr. Larsen got the hell out of there. Spending a day in Oslo and getting familiar with roads, the foreign language, and places that are not meant for vehicular traffic, Lars got a room for the night as the sun did not set until 10:30PM on the southern end of an 1,100-mile-long country, or very nearly the distance from San Diego to Seattle. The difference is the striking scenery of a fjord filled coastline and a midsummer 18-to-24-hour daylight period. 

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