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Norway is a Scandinavian country bordering Sweden and Finland in the farthest reaches of Northern Europe. It is a constitutional monarchy and is considered one of the most civilized, safest countries in the world.
Although located far north, the temperature in Norway in the summer is comfortable, and can even feel a bit warm. The climate is perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, hunting and fishing. Skiing, of course, could be considered the national sport, and Norwegians themselves say they are born wearing skis. It stands to reason, then, that Norway has hosted the Winter Olympics twice: in 1952 in Oslo and in 1994 in Lillehammer.
Since Norway is on the sea, it is logical that fish and seafood should form one of the pillars of the country’s cuisine. Other favorites include cheese, reindeer, grouse and pork ribs. Good restaurants are everywhere in the country.
The Sami people are the indigenous people of Norway. They preceded the Vikings and have lived in the area for at least 12,000 years. Sami towns are still extant in Norway and they accept visitors. Many of the Sami families are still somewhat nomadic and depend on their reindeer herds for meat and income.
The fjords of Norway are probably its most famous features. These seawater valleys are incredibly beautiful and one of the country’s most-visited attractions. They are found primarily in the western part of the country.
Getting around in Norway is easy. There are buses, trains and ferries, or the tourist can rent a car to see the country. However, some of the fjords may be reached only by ferry, but they are so frequent it is usually no problem to find a place. Hotels and hostels are also generally available in the spring and summer. Norwegian, of course, is the language, but people learn English in school and many speak it.
Most major European airlines fly to Norway from the United States, generally connecting through Copenhagen or Stockholm. A visitor to Norway will need a valid passport and a visitor’s visa, good for three months. Information on obtaining a visa is at www.norway.org.
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