Saturday, September 4, 2010

Norwegian Experience: Day 5

Today we have another great report from Bruce, the 2009 Norwegian Experience Winner!

Today we arrived in Olden which is at the head of the Norjiford. The fjord goes 60 miles inland from the sea and stops at the foot of Norway's largest glacier, Jostedalsbreen. There is a lake in the village called Moldevatnet. There is a pretty church and beautiful waterfalls.

Today we took a 7 hour tour to see Fjordland Scenery. We had a wonderful tour guide who was full of information about Norway history, politics and geography. Our bus drivers name was Rasmus Faraldset. He has family in Minneapolis who belong to Sons of Norway. One is Foanell Dyrstad 1991-1995 Red Wing, Orlyn Kringstad who was a member as well as Betty Bergland in Saint Paul and Karen Backer also of St Paul.

On our tour the bus drove along the fjord and we passed many farms, mostly cows, sheep and goats. This area has a large Dairy. There was also a Fox and Mink farm. The farms are disappearing as young people do not want to remain on the farms any longer. We then traveled to Vatedalen known as the wet valley. We went to the northern end of Jolster Lake which is the richest fishing lake on the west coast.

We went through a four mile tunnel that was just opened last year. Walter Mondale's family is from this area. We then saw the largest glacier in Europe called the mighty Jostedal Glacier. We visited the Norwegian Glacier Center which was really interesting. We saw a movie about the glacier and walked through simulated ice caves. We had a nice lunch in Skei at the northern end of the spectacular Jolster Lake.

Some of the facts that our tour guide related to use were:
1. Unemployment is at 3.5%
2. 80% of the people in Norway are Lutheran but people are not attending church any more so the church changed its music and service to attract young people but the young still do not attend and now the older church members do not like the changes.
3. The population now has 10% immigrants mostly from Poland, Iraq and Somali
4. The second largest church is now Muslim
5. Norway gives an 11 month maternity leave with full pay and if a child is ill the mother can take time off and get full pay.
6. Norway has a law called right of access and anyone can camp or hike etc. anywhere even if they do not own the land, no keep out personal property signs.

The guide gave us a lot more interesting facts about Norway and it sounds like a really great place to live.

Tonight we had a party in our cabin and invited the people from the USA and people we have met on the ship and everyone had a good time. After dinner we went to a Buddy Holly tribute show and now it is after midnight and we have a busy last day on the ship tomorrow so going to bed and will write more tomorrow.

Thanks for the update, Bruce. I'm sure the readers at home are really enjoying the blog posts!


Andrew Holden said...

Actually the largest immigrant group in Norway is Swedes.
Poles and people from the Baltic countries are next.
After those you have Pakistanis, Turks, Iraqis and then Somalis.
The European immigrants are workers seeking better jobs, while the others are mostly refugees.

85.7% of the Norwegian people belong to the Lutheran State Church. The second largest group is the "free" churches [outside the state church]. Muslims, while split along different ethnic and national lines in organization, are the third largest group. The Catholic church is growing rapidly due to the number of immigrants from Poland.

Andrew Holden said...

Oh, and maternity leave is actually a total of 12 months.

Parents have between them right to maternity leave up to twelve months.

However one month is *reserved* for the father. We are considering increasing this amount.

Erik Evans said...

Thanks for the info, Andrew! How much of an increase is being considered for new fathers?

Andrew Holden said...

Hi Erik,
there are a number of views on how much time the father should get.
From reserving more time exclusively for the father to more freedom to choose.
The biggest worry is that if there is a choice men won't take their share because of "pressure" from their employers.
That's why that one month is exclusively reserved for the father.
It's often hard enough on both employees and employers when they take time off. The work has to get done by someone after all :)
What is clear is the positive effect the leave has on the whole family [life].