Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sweden and Norway: Külture Wår

Sweden and Norway are reluctant siblings.  Stuck side-by-side on the Scandinavian Peninsula and conjoined by a border one-thousand miles long, they’re forever up in one another’s business.  Over the years, they’ve faced many of the same threats – Vikings, Nazis, the usual – but having a common foe did not unite them.  Rather, Sweden’s response was, “We’re neutral.  Go invade Norway instead,” whereupon Norway would get its butt kicked.  However, Norway has historically excelled at finding the silver lining to any situation.  Consider their Resistance Museum’s analysis of Nazi occupation:
“Rationing had some advantages: people could no longer indulge, and the shortage of sugar meant less dental decay.”

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sweden and Norway: The Arctic Winter of Our Discontent

There’s a reason people don’t visit Sweden and Norway in January.  The temperature is perpetually subzero, whether you’re measuring in Celsius, Fahrenheit, or Kelvin.  And the sun is perpetually nonexistent: while in May the sun rises at 4 am, in January the sun rises in May.

There’s a reason I visited Sweden and Norway in January.  At least, I assume there is.  The PTSD has driven it from me, but it involved a suggestion from my once-friends and never-again travelmates Alpana and Gagan.  They figured that two weeks in the dark and frigid reaches of Scandinavia would make their decision to live in Cincinnati seem reasonable by comparison.

Just as high-altitude areas require alternative cooking instructions, so do Scandinavian winters require a new approach to vacationing.  For example, where you may be used to “going outside” and “seeing things,” Sweden and Norway have other ideas.