What is typical for your home?
I asked that question in almost every country I traveled with my bicycle.
I got many different answers for the different nations and regions.
I also asked the people I met here in Norway.
'Nature is the most typical for Norway' was the most common answer. Absolutly right. The landscape is unique, unaffected and breathtaking (just wait for the pictures from the Lofoten Islands where I'm right now). When the sun comes out, everything appears as if in
a fairytale. One might think that giants and trolls inhabit the many rocks and jagged mountains. Between the many flowers, the fairies would buzz and
bewitch you. Wild camping is a dream coming true here. You find one amazing spot with a view after the other.
In fact the Norwegians also appreciate this
beauty. Most people here are totally excited about the outdoors. In every small town there is an outdoor shop and
the particular clothing is absolutely normal and generally worn. Well - the rain is a big reason for that. A trusting raincoat and pants is an absolute must. So the word outdoor was often included in the answers I got.
A very interesting answer came from a courchsurfing host: 'Social Anxiety'. Coming directly from the USA I actually felt a difference. There it is completely normal to chat with people and to laugh randomly at strangers. When I did this in Trondheim, people looked at me as if I was coming from Mars. The people in the north are somewhat more reserved. The answer fit perfectly to a book I read in Trondheim. 'The Social Guidebook to Norway' tries to explain the social life and interactions of the Norwegians with the help of funny illustrations. The author puts it here very nicely to the point;) Another example is this:
"I asked a Norwegian man what a good friend was. He was silent for a while and said: A good friend is someone I can sit alone in a room with in silence and feel comfortable".
As I cycled across the many islands along the coast, I realized how isolated people live here.
The eternally bright and never-ending summer nights bring with it also hard and dark winter months. I wonder how you can stand it here during the dark
season. A certain isolation is therefore probably also typical and was given to me as an answer.
Why, however, the Norwegians like to leave their lights on, is not clear to me. A lovely Finish girl named Mikaela at who we 'courchsurfed', had noticed this behaviour and I think she's right. Although we didnt' stay with many people here, the ones we stayed with had their lights on almost everywhere, during the whole day, in the corridor, bath etc. Mikaela worked as a nurse and when she switched off the bathroom light at a patients home, she was told to leave the light on, because the patient would need the light later.