“Where do you come from?” is also often not the wrong question to ask if you want to get to know a Norwegian, geography carries a lot of meaning here and has meant even more historically than today.

There were conflicts across those distances, but also friendship. In general, to say that Norway is a small country is of course nonsense if you talk about distance. The 1700 km along the road from Oslo to Tromsø illustrates some of it. Add Finnmark, and you may understand even more, stretch the distance from here to Lindesnes and Stavanger…maybe you’re beginning to get it. Hills, mountains, plains, bays, cliffs, lakes…if you have been hiking in Norway for a little more than a day you might get an idea of distance that hardly lives in a concept, it is not easily described in one word, really. Han hadde gått langt, og lenger enn langt…he had been walking far, and farther than far…maybe a clumsy translation, but this quote from one of our fairy tales tells this story.

I was once told that there is a saying among Sami people that if you have to walk a long distance, don’t think about the distance, just go on walking.

Everyone who has tried, I think, can say that this works pretty well. It may sound drab to some, but if you enjoy walking, it can actually be very nice.