Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Globetrotting: Norway, Part I

For those of you who are new to this blog, when I started traveling the world with my new job last August, I began a “before and after” blog for each of my trips. The “before” being my expectations of what the country and culture of my destination would be like, and the “after” being the reality that I experienced over there.

I realized that I haven’t done one of my “before and after” blogs in a while. I’ll blame it on the fact that the first seven months of the year, I only traveled to Canada for work. Canada does not count as blog-worthy to me from an expectation vs reality perspective. And don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Canada. Truth be told, if it wasn’t located in another country, I would probably move to Vancouver. It’s just not a long flight away and doesn’t have what I consider to be a vastly different culture.

I’m heading to Norway in a few days and I was coming to the realization that I really know nothing about this country. So it’s hard for me to have expectations. But, somehow I have formed ideas and visions of what the country will be like and what my experiences will be over there. So, before I get tainted with the truth, let’s go for a ride through my make-believe version of Oslo:

Cold: this is my first expectation. I will admit that I have been monitoring for purposes of packing, but even without knowing what the forecasted temperatures are, I am fairly confident that I would have still had this expectation. Coming from Houston, this weather change will be quite a shock, but maybe not as bad I was originally thinking – forecasted mid 40’s for the high and low 30’s for the low.

Dark: I know what time of year it is and I know how far north Oslo is. So I expect that there will not be many hours of daylight. This depresses me.

Pickled things: Why do I have a vision of the Norwegians pickling everything? Mainly things like fish. For some reason I think there will be a lot of pickled fish up there. And pickled other things too. I’m not sure what, but I’m pretty sure it will happen. Good thing I like pickled things!

Vikings: How could I NOT expect something related to Vikings? I know they won’t be roaming the streets, and I won’t get to hang out with them over a beer, but I’m pretty sure the history of Vikings will be everywhere and I look forward to learning about them.

Fjords: I don’t even really know what these are. But I know I’ve heard the word associated with Norway and that they are supposed to be beautiful pieces of nature.

(This is where I run off to Wikipedia to see what they are….)

Ok, here we go: "Geologically, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity."  I doubt I’ll see any of these in downtown Oslo, but a girl can dream :-)

Expensive: I only have this expectation because I’ve heard it said before, and the per dium allotted to us for Oslo is outrageous compared to everywhere else. So things MUST be really, really expensive. How can pickled fish be so expensive?

I am actually very much looking forward to my little Scandinavian adventure, and I am a bit ashamed that my only vision of Norway consists of cold, dark, pickled Vikings living in very expensive fjords. Go figure. Come back in a few weeks for Part II, the reality!