Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Norway has gorgeous natural beauty, with mountains, fjords, waterfalls, little mountain cabins… gorgeous. Of course, if you go into a major city like Oslo, there are more urbanised parts with blocks of flats etc, just like any country. Norway is a large country at 323,759 sq km/125,004 sq miles and has a population of 4.7million as of 2008. It is split into 19 different counties or “fylker” and 430 municipalities or “kommuner”. It is said, if you could turn the country on its axis then the top would touch Rome in Italy. (think this is true)
The majority of the 4.7ish million inhabitants of Norway live in the South as the climate and conditions are more habitable. Many people born in the North of Norway and especially girls move down to the South, so populating the North has always been a problem.
There are very few people compared to the size of the country, so this leads to an abundance of natural space and people generally have room to breathe. Although this may not be the case for larger cities as construction usually builds up rather than out. Because of the amount of people living in the country, the majority of Norway has been left “untouched” with keeps its natural beauty.
One interesting thing about the country is that it has hardly any top soil in places, so generally you can only dig a foot or two down before you hit solid rock. Therefore building houses you need to use dynamite to blow up the bedrock and to bury their dead they dig down as far as possible, then place a mound of earth over the coffin and wait for nature to take its course.
Almost half of the country/35% of the mainland is within the Arctic circle from the city of Mo I Rana to Kirkeness including the Svalbard islands.
The furthest North I have been so far is to Trondheim which was a great city with a beautiful Cathedral, but my aim is to go further North and experience the Aurora Borealis and the Midnight Sun. Although, on one occasion out crayfishing just outside Oslo, we saw a faint glimmer of the Aurora which does not usually happen so far South.
The North is home to the Sami people, Norwegian Finns and Russian populations. The population of the North is approximately 500,000 people which shows that only about 10% of the country actually lives there.
Fresh Air & Water
Something I really noticed quickly about living in Norway was the fresh air and clean water. Again, as the population is small the air feels a lot cleaner and the water needs hardly any cleaning as it generally comes down from mountain streams into reservoirs and gets pumped into homes.
When you drink the water or have a shower you can tell the difference between the highly treated water in the UK and Norwegian water especially for those which have sensitive skin like myself.
Where Did I Live?
When I first moved over to Norway we stayed with my girlfriends parents for a while until we could find work and get our own place. The town we stayed in was called Langhus which is in the south of Norway just below Oslo. After finding work in Norway we moved to a town called Kolbotn which was a little closer to Oslo as both our jobs were in the city, but it was an unfurnished house and we found it hard to get furniture on low wages.
After a while we decided to upgrade and moved into a furnished house in a town called Ski which is again in the same area and is a popular growing town. It was my first time living in a wooden built house and was surprised as to just how warm it keeps you, but the thing I liked the most was the amount of space you have around your property, rather than in the UK where people live on top of each other.
To Hell and Back
It’s strange to many English speaking peoples, as there is a town in Norway called “Hell” with a population of about 350 and on a trip to the mountains we passed this town. I really didn’t expect to see that, however the word actually derives from the Old Norse “hellir” or overhang. It can also mean luck or “cliff cave“.
So I can say to people that I literally have been to Hell and back! (kind of and not sure I would like to stay in Hell in Norway, seemed a bit bleak).
Try to make sure that you experience as much of the country as possible and travel to all four corners as there is so much to see and do, especially if you like nature. Travel across the country is fairly easy but living within so much nature close by, makes access to such very easy.
Animals In Norway
Norway doesn’t have any penguins, nor do they have Polar bears roaming the streets of Oslo, however there is an abundance of wildlife very close by to where people live.
I remember once that a friend of mine living in Ski, said that a pack of Wolves and Bears were only a few miles from the town in a forest. Wolves and Bears! not something I had really come across much in the UK as we don’t have them. So, advice is to not go out into the countryside on your own, as otherwise you could end up as some-things dinner, so a number of Norwegians who have to do this make sure they take a weapon, normally a gun to use as protection. I must say that I never really saw any wildlife, apart from a Moose grazing in a field, but then I didn’t really journey that far into the wilderness.