In the unconscious of a traveller, Norway evokes a concept of an extreme land, of absolute north. The extreme north of Europe is known as Lapland, a land that straddles the Norwegian borders to include the northern part of Scandinavia and a small portion of Russia. The native population is the "Sami" who live traditionally from hunting and fishing, in symbiosis, even if nowadays in a technological version, with their environment.
The capital of Norway, Oslo, has a population of barely half a million. The city ensures the necessary administrative and cultural cohesion of a people who have a very strong sense of harmony with the nature, born in their distant Viking past and proudly cultivated throughout the years.
The Holmenkollen ski-jumping board is one of the most famous symbols of Oslo. Norwegians' relationship with skis goes very far back in time: indeed it is not improbable that even the Vikings traversed Scandinavia on these wooden slats.
The fundamental relationship that Norwegians have with nature makes them open and uninhibited with respect to nudity. Here, the human body is displayed with spontaneity and directness, like one of the many natural elements that blend in with the landscape.
In front of the square of the City Hall, the quay that overlooks the fjord - the Aker Brygge - has been attractively restructured and turned into a walk, a shopping centre and an entertainment area. But the grand spectacle is still the beating of the waves of the sea and the boats bathed in the golden light of the summer.
Another look at the fortress of Akershus, which once again demonstrates the harmony of the city with nature, is all the more worthwhile.
The itinerary from north to south is a compendium of Norwegian nature: thundering waterfalls, rushing mountain streams and roads that run along glaciers, after having gone through dense pine forests and coastal lakes and fjords.
The interior of the country is incredibly rugged and almost one third of it is covered in trees. Despite its northern latitude, the Norwegian climate is essentially maritime and damp, because it is influenced by the mitigating action of the warm Gulf Stream, originating from the Gulf of Mexico, which flows up the coast preventing the formation of sea ice.
Bergen, a port lying in the southeast of the country, is crowded with brightly coloured houses, which belonged to German traders of the powerful Hanseatic League. Despite several fires, the area maintains the atmosphere of the "old port" and Commercial City from the Middle Ages. UNESCO recently declared it a World Heritage Site and included it in the list of monuments that are to be preserved.
There is a large park in the centre of Bergen which is taken up almost completely by an octagonal lake, around which, lie some of the principal museums in the city.
The Hakonshallen, the most beautiful monument in the city, lies within the walls of Bergen's fortress. The great 13th century Gothic hall was built for the parties and the receptions in the days of the city's control over trade in the North Sea.
You get the best view over Bergen, the fjords and the surrounding pine-covered mountains from the belvedere. It's easy to admire Norwegians for their unique way of respecting the nature!
From north to south, from Lapland to Oslo and Bergen, Norwegian people has convinced us, with time, that human beings, as the most advanced yet most vulnerable in the grand family of nature, can live in harmony with all its other members.