Norwegian Language Blog

Up the Mountain Posted by on Oct 30, 2020 in Nature, Traditions

Norwegian nature is vill og vakker (wild and beautiful)… (Photo taken by the blogger on his latest trip to Norway, August 2020.)

What’s the most Norwegian thing there is? Above trolls, Vikings and brunost (Norwegian brown cheese), I’d put hiking in the Norwegian fjell [fyell] (mountains).

Vil du bli med på fjelltur? (Do you want to go on a mountain trip with me/us?) Fjellturer are a sosial aktivitet which makes your heart go faster! Even if you get svett på panna (”sweaty on your forehead”) as you struggle uphill, the most beautiful belønning (award) awaits you på fjelltoppen (on the summit): The breathtaking view across the wild Norwegian landskap!

Det er veldig enkelt å gå på fjelltur. (It’s very easy to go on a mountain trip.) Du trenger (you need) gode fjellstøvler (good mountain boots), litt vann og niste (some water and provisions – don’t forget sjokolade!) and, finally, godt selskap (good company). Here we’re taking things easy – if you’re away for several days in høyfjellet (the high mountains), of course, you’ll also need pro equipment such as a telt (tent), as well as kart og kompass (map and compass). Hiking alone is never a good idea – no matter how small and safe the local mountain may seem, there’s no guarantee you won’t stumble and hurt your leg, for example, and in that case you’ll need another person’s help! 🙂 If in doubt, remember the most important point of Fjellvettreglene (”the Rules of Good Sense in the Mountains”): Det er ingen skam å snu. (There’s no shame in going back.)

Ut på tur aldri sur! (Out on a trip, never sulky!) goes a famous Norwegian saying. A Polish scientist (I forgot her name) once said that unlike most Europeans, Norwegians don’t go to a bar to solve their problems – they go hiking, then return from the fjell with a fresh perspective on things. I guess this explains why many foreigners get this idea of Norwegians as super-optimistic! 🙂

A special thing about Norway is that even city dwellers have easy access to naturen (Nature). When I was living in Bergen, I could walk for a few blocks, and I’d be on a mountain! If you’re in Norway right now, I hope you’ll have a chance to get out and enjoy høstens farger (the autumn colours). And oh, there are no grizzly bears in Norway – if you meet any wild animals at all, they’ll probably run away from you! 🙂

Lots of Norwegian songs praise the beauty of the mountains – for example the old folk tune Hu hei! Kor er det vel friskt og lett (”Hoo hi! How is it fresh and light!”1the song’s in Nynorsk – you can listen to it here (with images from the children’s show Karsten og Petra!)). Here’s a bit from the 2nd verse: Kom opp! Kom opp frå [= fra] den tronge [= trange] dal, oppå fjellet, oppå fjellet!

(Come up! Come up from the narrow valley, up on the mountain, on the mountain!)


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    the song’s in Nynorsk – you can listen to it here (with images from the children’s show Karsten og Petra!)
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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.