Norwegian Language Blog

Nordmenn like the south Posted by on Jan 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

Nordmenn liker syden (Nordmenn like the south)……of Europe that is.  I’m not sure how many Norwegians travel to what Americans refer to as the south, but they talk about going to syden all the time. Syden for Norwegians can mean destinations from Mallorca in Spain, to Rhodes in Greece, to the Grand Canary Islands, to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  Most often when Norwegians travel south, they hit up somewhere in the vicinity of the Mediterranean.

Many of you have perhaps ventured south of our border to Mexico for spring break.  From what I understand, Norwegians travelling to southern Europe is a similar endeavor.  There are several areas in southern Europe, a few of which I mentioned above, that are hot-spots for Norwegians, much like Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, and Acapulco are for Americans.

The tradition of å reise til syden (to travel to the south) began for Norwegians 50 years ago.  35 Norwegian passengers boarded a plane for Mallorca, Spain.  The trip cost each passenger roughly 11,000 NOK (1,600 US Dollars) and 7.5 hours flying time to enjoy the adventure.  50 years ago 11,000 NOK was a lot of money to spend for a vacation.  Obviously a trip like this was quite a luxury.  Today, however, the income gap in Norway is mcuh narrower and the majority of Norwegians can afford å reise til syden.  Even my Norwegian relatives in their 70s travel to southern Europe, not only to relax in the sun (kose seg i solen), but to climb mountains and experience exotic food.  Norwegians have really developed a sense of adventure and travel in the last few decades.  I imagine this desire to get out and see the world developed from a long history of a homogenous people dominated by others.  Now that Norwegians have the funds and the freedom, they want to enjoy the pleasures of life closer to the equator just like those of us that inhabit the northerly latitudes of the United States.

The thermometer is hovering around zero this morning here in southern Minnesota.  I went for a run yesterday and my bottom and top eyelashes froze together.  I had insulated pants on and although I was going at a good clip and felt warm internally, my thighs were numb five minutes into the run.  I was in Florida for a few days over Christmas, so luckily I enjoyed a short reprieve from winter in MN.  However, it does not take long for the body to return to the state that forgets what natural warmth feels like.

To be perfectly honest, I wish that travelling south for people like me could be as cheap and easy as Norwegians travelling to syden because I would much rather enjoy a break from winter in southern Europe.  There is something about travelling to a foreign country and being surrounded by other tourists speaking my language and wanting to do all of the same things as me that just has no appeal.

Alle sammen trenger sol og ferie. Everyone needs sun and vacation.

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!