Weekly Update #16: Dear Norway

Dear Norway,

“Happiness is only real when shared.” – John Krakauer, Into the Wild

As we depart Norge, the great adventurer and mountaineer’s quote seems appropriate since your country is so special it must be shared to be understood, enjoyed and fully appreciated. The fjords are magic where the sea and mountains meet. Their beauty spans above and your scale and variety is so overwhelming that the eye keeps going, searching for a view to stay with only to be distracted by yet another. What’s below is no doubt impressive in its own right yet is relegated to our imagination… what lies beneath? I wished to have seen below your dark blues and blacks, into a world even more remote and exciting. The surface water’s a point of peace, stillness and reflection; flexible to move freely as ships and kayaks pass yet easy to settle back into its role as the great divider from what we know and what we don’t. And the icing is God’s rainbow, more perfect and complete than any rainbow I’ve seen before. Rainbows must have been created here. Grand and stunning don’t seem to capture these moments. Your fjords are nature dressed up for the most formal of evenings.

In our own lives, we are influenced by what we see, what we feel and what we imagine. There is always an “above” and “below” with the arbiter being our own ability to make sense of things. Sometimes rainbows appear in our lives and we must be better at recognizing them for the gift of joy that they bring; a spontaneous smile given to us and the world. It is critical that we give as much thought to the below as the above and be willing to make decisions – to move – based on what we know and cannot know and be willing to live with the outcomes, whatever they may be.

The magic of the fjords is how overwhelming and peaceful they are at the same moment. Can we find peace and beauty in our overwhelmed lives?

Norway’s beauty doesn’t end with nature, as we enjoyed the entire Nordic lifestyle which revolves around being outdoors, exercising, eating fresh fish, many kinds of cheese and salamis and drinking some of the best craft beer we’ve had in our lives.

Where some see an impenetrable mountain, you see a tunnel. These tubes of movement are long, deep and everywhere. The longest in Europe at 15 Miles is in Bergen. I cannot imagine its tax bill. Actually, I can because you were so expensive. Quality infrastructure certainly comes at a cost. A highlight of our adventure came when we visited the Flåm Railway, completed in 1942, where workers cut through one meter a month (!!!) to build a line. It took more than twenty years between two strategic areas to go from sea level to 890 meters. It is one of the steepest rail lines in the world. You’ve been moving mountains for a long time and it is impressive.

Norway concluded our Scandinavian adventure which lasted nearly a month. We thoroughly enjoyed Denmark and Sweden, but I do believe you win my affection for the easiest place to live. Your people were kind and welcoming and your food was delicious. As a creative and someone who runs a marketing and communication agency, I was also so impressed with your sense of place, design and lifestyle. Well done!

Ha Det (“goodbye” in Norwegian),

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