I felt like we should have a page about Norway. It is Espen’s hometown (and my future home), after all. Maybe one day I’ll do a travel post about our trip to Bergen for Christine’s wedding, but for now, enjoy some facts and photos:
Norway — which means the “northern way” — is home to about 5 million people. People have lived in Norway since about 10,000 years ago, and about 6,000 years ago, a permanent settlement was established near Oslo, Norway’s capital. About 75 percent of the population live in towns and urban centers, with Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim the top three locations, respectively.
Although Norway is less than 1,100 miles from south to north, it has 63,000 miles of fjords, bays, and island shores, according to a 2013 National Geographic article. About two-thirds is mountainous, and the country is carved by glacial fjords with about 50,000 islands.
Norway is also rolling in dough, thanks to its discovery of oil in the 1960s. The country has the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. That hasn’t stopped it from being ridiculously expensive, though. Still, even though it is expensive, Norway frequently tops world ranking lists for being generally awesome in pretty much every way. And when it doesn’t top the list, it’s at least in the top 10. In November 2015 the Legatum Institute ranked Norway number one on its prosperity index for the seventh year in a row. The Economist ranked Norway’s democracy the best in both 2014 and 2015. In December 2015 the United Nations rated Norway as the best country in the world to live in. In March 2016 Norway ranked as the fourth happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Index. And this year it made knocked Denmark out of the top spot and is now ranked number one! Where did the U.S. rank? Fourteenth.
And then there’s Bergen, Espen’s hometown. Known as the Seattle of Europe, Bergen gets about 88 inches of rain a year. 2015 was a record setter, with 102 inches. When I visited with him back in 2014, Norway had had a streak of sunny weather — nearly a month with temperatures near or in the 80s and no rain. Guess what happened the day after we arrived? Yep. It rained buckets. We literally watched the rain move in while we stood atop a mountain overlooking the city. Anyway, on a sunny day, this is what it looks like:
Here are a few shots from our road trip:
Here’s a great video of Bergen, shared with me by my awesome son-in-law.
I can’t wait to see it again, and not just because the city and surrounding area are so beautiful. I got lucky when I married Espen, and I love the kids and grandkids. FaceTime just doesn’t cut it. You can’t hug or have pillow fights. Those are the things that will give me strength when we move this summer.