Scandinavia - an incredible dream trip - Страница 2 .:. Класс языковой подготовки Англикана .:. город Орел
 

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Scandinavia - an incredible dream trip - Страница 2
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30.08.2012 13:25
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Scandinavia - an incredible dream trip
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The most inspirational. The most scenic. The most captivating. The UNREAL. Simply fantabulous!

The acme of my trip was Norway – this land of natural wonders which presented me with a great abundance of astounding landscapes, breathtaking mountainous terrain, vibrant waterfalls, majestic fiords, and with awesome and unrivaled coastal scenery. This country does open up splendid vistas to its visitors, providing keen travelers with inspirational encounters with steep mountain rivers, turbulent waterfalls, glaciers and scarce yet various tundra vegetation as well as with totally barren, treeless moorland of the mountain plateau Hardangervidda. Norway is in inseparable touch with its beautiful and diverse nature. Throughout the countryside you can see isolated small houses which are skillfully hidden against the natural landscape. This is where the Norwegian tradition of isolated farmsteads situated in the most secluded corners of the country’s wilderness is best seen. Norwegians cover the roofs of their houses with greensward so that the houses become absolutely invisible from above. It seems as if isolation and seclusion were in their blood.

Norwegian fjords are a veritable wonderland. My trip along the fjords was stunning. It is a shame for a linguistically minded person to be lost for words, but I was. I was on cloud nine, treading the blue, high in the sky. Despite the fact that I was not dressed for the occasion. It was stingingly cold and bitingly windy on the deck of the ship, but the unearthly beauty that I was exposed to compensated for it all. If you are open to this raving beauty, you simply stop noticing anything else. Visual perception outdoes everything else. You lose touch with mundane reality, forget about all the troubles and hassles of your everyday life. Small wonder, this is a different reality… You start floating in a soft adventure among the spectacular mountains and magnificent fjords, you start imaginably diving in clean air and pure water of mountains and fjords and for a second you feel you are part of Pandora, the fictional reality of the “Avatar”.

One more pearl of my trip was the thrilling Flåmsbana railway trip. It climbs up into the dazzling and frozen beauty of the Hardangervidda Plateau and then goes down through the pretty countryside landscapes. Along the way it passes within a touching distance of the Kjosfossen Waterfall where, if you are lucky, you may see a beautiful and mysterious Huldra. I was fortunate enough to see and hear one singing.

Yes, Norway is worth visiting for sheer scenic thrills, but there is also an impressive cultural heritage and an array of places of interest carefully preserved in the cities. The high spots in Oslo for me were the Royal Palace, the City Hall, the new glacier-white Opera House, the Akershus fortress, the Holmenkollen Springboard and Vigeland Sculpture Park. They are incomparable according to the impact they exert, but undoubtedly worth seeing at least for forming an attitude. I may sound nonconformist saying this, but Vigeland Park which Norwegians are so excessively proud of seemed nothing but perverted. It killed me dead. But I do not claim to be an art connoisseur. The Akershus fortress, on the contrary, was exhilarating. You climb down the catacombs being promised an entrance to the treasure depository just to see the holographic image of a guy who is hopelessly knocking his head on the wall not being able to pass through. Apart from this joke, which made me physically weak, for it was quite a long way down, the fortress is history itself.

The main attraction in Oslo for me was the visit to the three museums devoted to seafaring: the Viking Ship Museum, the Fram Museum and Thor Heyerdahl’s Museum of Kon-Tiki and Ra. Yes, Norwegians really treasure their seafaring roots. The Viking Ship Museum presents great Viking ships discoveries from the three ships - Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune, which were later turned into tombs, according to the Viking tradition. The Fram museum carried me away with its attractions: this is where you can touch everything, you can see aurora polaris simulation and attend a simulation cabin which will give you a fit of panic as being caught up in a small box you see and feel a huge iceberg crashing right into you. The image is so powerful that the awareness of its theatrical origin doesn’t help. And if you are interested in the history of seafaring, the Kon-Tiki Museum will be a delightful event. Thor Heyerdahl’s reed boat Ra II and his balsa raft Kon-Tiki aroused a heartfelt respect for his courage, intrepidity and adventurous nature in me. Everything I knew about Heyerdahl’s expeditions (especially the Ra expedition) which had been described by Yuri Senkevich materialized. That was a fascinating experience!

Bergen, the second largest city of Norway, has two world-known nicknames – the capital of rain and the gateway to the kingdom of fjords. According to Norwegians, both nicknames are fully justified. They say it rains either daily or every other day in Bergen, which I cannot support as the two days I spent there were sunny and hot. The origins of the second nickname emphasize the fact that earlier Bergen was the capital of Norway and it opened the way to the two biggest fjords of Norway – Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord.

Bergen is best known for its old wharf, Bryggen, which features on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and the Edvard Grieg Museum which presents the composer’s life and his best creations through specially organized concerts. I was most impressed with the Hanseatic wharf with its titled and colourful wooden buildings and the famous fish market of Bergen.

My last comment dealing with Norway concerns some typical patterns of behaviour and inherent features of character. Norwegians are, to all appearance, very reserved. At a glance they are cool and composed. But if you need help and ask them for help, they will never leave you in the lurch. I was stunned most of all with the general level of education of Norwegians. You may ask any Norwegian in the street to show you the way, and you will be given detailed directions in English, German and French and in 50% of encounters in Russian. You do not need to ask to explain once again, they simply change the languages in this ordered manner as if testing the waters. As soon as they see that you have chosen English, they either switch to English or politely ask you to practise Russian with them. It is so funny and so unexpected to be asked the permission to speak Russian. You simply cannot refuse. In conversation they are always so knowledgeable that I was surprised to the core because understanding that you are a tourist they are ready to supply you with additional information about culture, about history, about their lifestyles and national priorities. Choose whatever topic you like and they will pick it up easily and dwell on it knowingly. The most incredible thing is that not only adults are so educated. Youngsters are none the less well-brought and well-informed.



 

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