www.whyville.net Feb 5, 2012 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Google Earth

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You made me laugh very hard, my dear friend, very hard indeed. You said the funniest thing after I told you my hopes and dreams of traveling to far away places, and I could only laugh at your foolishness.

You told me, "Why spend all that money going around the world when you have Google Earth? Just type in the name of where you wanna go and you're there, Lindsey! You can go to China and Russia in fifteen minutes, go see all of France in ten. C'mon now, get real."

Get real? Okay, Kason darling, let's get real.

You said, "Well you went to Norway. Look it up on Google Earth. I bet you'd get the same experience you did there - only instead of being gone for two weeks, you'd be back for dinner."

You're a silly child. Naive too, if you think that the Norway you see on your laptop is anything like the Norway I saw in the real world. So please, do tell me how the heck you understand the things I understand.

You know how it felt to sit in a car and watch the rain attack the river that cut Lillehammer in two? You understand the feeling of 'Oh Lord we are dreadfully close to the edge of that cliff . . .' while looking over the edge?

I'm sorry, I didn't realize you knew how it feels to sit in a little ice cream shop eating Soft-Is at Hunderfossen, a theme park based on Norwegian folk tales. How foolish of me to not realize that you knew the moment of fear that coursed through you when you saw an angry goat, with the largest horns I might add, charging you for food at the Barnas Gard, (a petting zoo)?

I must have been real dumb to not see that you have tasted a traditional vaffle with strawberry jam and powdered sugar. And my, my! How did I not see that you have drank a Solo, the most amazing soda in the world? Better than anything here in America?

You must have a lot of secrets, seeing as I didn't realize you have driven on Norway's most dangerous road, a one way street with two ways of traffic going along the edge of a mountain. You were lucky enough to see melting snow run along the sides of an amazing valley, with hill after hill, and yet you didn't want to tell me the pure beauty you saw?

How did I not see that you remember the taste of fresh, wild blueberries on a hill behind your best friend's bestefar's (grandpa's) house? How silly of me to not know that you remember the taste of boiled potatoes and sausage while sitting around a bench in a living room!

Why didn't you ever tell me that you know the freezing cold wind that blasted out from a glacier that you walked uphill for two hours to see? Walking neck deep into a fjord that was filled with arctic waters, numbing your entire body, and then having to walk home in the pouring rain for an hour seems like a pretty good conversation starter to me, so why didn't you bring it up?

You've been to the northernmost inhabited island in the world? You know the moment when you see wild sheep hopping around on rocks and you get a glimpse of the ocean, and you just think, 'Wow, I'm looking at the edge of the world.'?

You remember the bustling city of Oslo? You remember taking pictures of the parliament building that was bombed eleven days after your return to the states? You can recall the hours upon hours of sitting, delayed, in a Denmark airport, eating sketchy chicken nuggets from a 7-11?

Oh, wait. You can't. I can.

So go ahead, live your life through the computer. See pictures and read about the cities and people and food and culture and beauty of the land.

You live behind a screen, I'll go out and see the real thing.

Author's Note: Here's just a quick explanation of all the pictures I have included!

1. The Hunderfossen Castle: The main attraction at the Hunderfossen theme park. Once entering it, you go through a maze filled with different scenes of Norwegian folk tales enacted by mechanical puppets.
2. Lillehammer: This is the city I stayed at for a week. It's about an hour or so away from Oslo, the capital. Imagine farmland with hills surrounding it, with a river right in between them. That's the entire Lillehammer.
3. Naustdal: This is the second town I stayed at. It's on the west coast of Norway, and is very small. You're literally looking at the entire town. One hill is dedicated to houses, and that's it.
4. Another picture of Lillehammer.
5. The goat: This isn't the deadly, charging goat that I mentioned in the article, but this one was just as feisty. It was at Barnas Gard, outside of Hunderfossen. You're allowed to walk into all of the pens there and if you happen to have food on you, they get a little frisky, haha.
6. Hills: This is the scene out my window for nearly eight hours as we drove from Lillehammer to Naustdal. It rained and was just pure heaven.
7. Briksdal Glacier: This is the glacier mentioned in the article. We walked uphill for two hours just to see it. The national park that it is at put up a gate at a point, saying we could go no farther. So my friend and I went all the way up to it. It was amazing!
8. Shopping: This was just a sign I saw in Oslo, where I visited the day before we left, and the first English word I saw the entire trip of sixteen days!
9. Ocean: This is the northernmost inhabited island in the world. After going up a hill for a while we came to this view and it was stunning. If you turned around the other way, you could see endless ocean as well.
10. Parliament building: This is the Parliament building that was attacked eleven days after my arrival home. (If this picture looks familiar, that's because I've used it before in my article 'Eleven Days', which was about the attacks.)
11. Cannon: This was taken at the Akershus Castle, which is just a fifteen minute walk away from the Parliament building. This is an original cannon from I believe the 1800s, but I could be mistaken. The castle was built in the 1500s and various queens and kings have lived there since. (Not the current king and queen, although I did get a picture of the modern palace too!)
12. Waterfall: This was a waterfall at the glacier I mentioned earlier. It was freezing cold. There was a bridge under the water that we had to go across to get back to our car!
13. Ski jump: Ah yes, the Olympic ski jump of I believe 1994, in Lillehammer? We didn't get much closer to it unless we went across the river into town but it was still pretty cool.


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