Friday, July 18, 2008

Tunnels and Trolls

I just finished writing a super long email about our trip to Norway so I'm not going to repeat myself here other than to say that it was a great trip and that the scenery was amazing. So different from Sweden, somewhat similar to B.C. but in much larger doses. It seemed like every time we entered another valley it was more impressive than the last. One thing that I forgot to mention about our trip was the extensive amount of tunneling that the Norwegians have done. And I'm not talking about short tunnels. Most of the tunnels were at least 1.5km long if not longer. We ended up going through the longest tunnel in the world (at least on land) and it was 24.5km long. Can you believe that? I guess its more expensive to repair roads every year due to landslides than to tunnel right through the middle of the mountain. We kept expecting to see intersections in the tunnels that's how long they were! I have to say though, that tunnels do prevent you from seeing the scenery :)

The other thing I learned about Norway is that they have an affinity for trolls. I just looked up some information about Norway and Trolls on Wikipedia and found the following excerpt:

The Troll is a fearsome member of a mythical race from Norse mythology. Originally more or less the Nordic equivalents of giants, although often smaller in size, the different depictions have come to range from the fiendish giants – similar to the ogres of England (also called Trolls at times, see Troller's Gill) – to a devious, more human-like folk of the wilderness, living underground in hills, caves or mounds. In the Faroe islands, Orkney and Shetland tales, trolls are called trows, adopted from the Norse language when these islands were settled by Vikings.

Nordic literature, art and music from the romantic era and onwards has adapted trolls in various manners – often in the form of an aboriginal race, endowed with oversized ears and noses. From here, as well as from Scandinavian fairy tales such as Three Billy Goats Gruff, trolls have achieved international recognition, and in modern fantasy literature and
role-playing games, trolls are featured to the extent of being stock characters.

On our last day in Norway we drove down a mountain known as Trollstigen (sp?). In English, this translates to Troll's ladder. It had some serious hairpin turns on it, as well as the only Troll crossing sign in all of Norway :). That same day we stopped at the Troll's wall, the tallest vertical rock face in Europe at 1100m. Needless to say, the souvenir shops have profited off this love of trolls. There were trolls for sale in every shop, we did succumb and we purchased a small troll for our Christmas tree (we collect ornaments from the places we have travelled to). But by and large we managed to avoid the temptation to purchase some large troll statues for our home :)

I've finally posted the photos from our trip and you can check them out here:

Trevlig helg!

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