Editors Note: As you read in our last post, Clarkson's irrepressible Shane Rogers is in Norway on a Fulbright scholarship. Here is his first installation of a continuing diary about the research and, of course, fun, Shane is experiencing during his Norwegian sojourn. Watch for his next post, Growing an Industry. ~ JC
After a hectic prep, long trip, and lacking sleep for two days… NORWAY!!!
We arrived at noon on the winter solstice, which was meaningfully planned (of course) – we could be here at a special time of day on a special day of the year, and every day could bring a little more sunshine to our stay! The sun barely peeked over the horizon during those dark days, bringing a really beautiful ambience to the downtown, which was decorated for the holidays.
What we also weren’t banking on was the lack of snow when we arrived. We had a warm fall in the North Country of New York leading up to the trip, but didn’t think that would extend to the arctic! Turns out, being a coastal city, Trondheim is on average warmer than Potsdam, NY by a lot, even though we are nearly 20 degrees North in latitude. It didn’t take long for the snow to arrive, though, and when it did, it arrived with a vengeance!
Turns out, its really icy here - lots of rain, sleet, snow combinations and then just warm enough to melt things during the day and refreeze each night. We were hoping to see the polar ice sheet, and luck have it, it seems to be located on our road! It has been a solid sheet of ice for the last two and a half months - nice and polished with a thin film of water over the top... I have almost face planted about twenty five times now. It's like a sport here.
OK – so I have some work to do to catch up with the Norwegian slide, but to my credit, my street is flat. I guess that leaves me no compelling excuses for not having the cup of coffee and morning paper, though… If there is one thing for sure – I have much more opportunity to master this skill…
A really cool thing here is that people don’t stop their regular outdoor activities just for the cold. We have been consistently and pleasantly surprised while strolling through the downtown area on weekends to find people out in masses at the Farmer’s Market, holding protest rallies, playing music in the band shell, bussing with their accordions, or even shopping in masses.
In fact, it seems that the stereotypes of winter sports and snow and ice-loving Norwegians are in large part fairly true. The public buses are frequented by people with cross country skiis heading out for a day trip, bicycles (with ice spikes) weaving through pedestrians on even the coldest and iciest days, and aside from reading crime novels in the evening, skiing is also rather traditional over the Easter holiday. We were lucky enough to also be treated to a ski weekend near Lillihammer by the Fulbright Foundation following a research meeting and evening at the Ambassador’s residence (sans ambassador) in Oslo. Downhill skiing is definitely harder than it looks on TV…
For those of you contemplating a trip to Norway, or reminiscing about a time you were here, I leave you with a few images from our new and beautiful hometown, Trondheim – Capital city of Norway during the Viking age, seat of (first) the Catholic Archdiocese of Nidaros, and then the Lutheran Diocese of Nidaros, and home of the Norwegian Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Rockheim).
Ser deg seinare!