Flags, and not the Internet-kind

This picture is taken on the 17th of May 2016 in the city center of Stavanger. The 17th of May is the date Norway celebrates its constitution, and it’s one of the days when all public buildings and other places with a flagpole will put up the Norwegian flag.

It’s not common in Norway to hoist the flag every day. We have a set of days where one must hoist the flag (i.e. 17th of May, the birthdays of the royal family, some Christian holidays, and other days of historic importance for Norway – Wikipedia list), and otherwise it’s a bit more optional if you have a personal reason to put a flag up on the flagpole.

17th of May is always the day when you’ll find the most Norwegian flags around in the city. We’ll walk in parades and wave our flags, or watch others walk in a parade, and wave our flags at them. It’s a day we express our joy of the nation, the joy of being part of something bigger, and the joy of celebrating something together with family, friends, and total strangers that you’ll say hi or congratulations to at some point of the day.

The rest of the year, we’re mostly not that nationalistic. We’re not that celebratory. We won’t put our flag up for no reason. We know that as a nation and a people there is more to do to make the country a home for the people who live here, and the people who come to live here. We’ll criticise the government, and we’ll vote at the elections to earn the right to criticise it.

But every year on the 17th of May, without fail, we’ll put up our flags, sing our national anthem, and mostly criticise the weather or the woolen bunad-costumes we wear (that are heavy, and doesn’t really flatter anyone, yet looks good on pretty much everyone).

This post mainly comes from all the stuff that’s been going on lately, and me thinking about how flags are treated differently around the world. I’ll leave you with one last fun fact about the Norwegian flag: When the flag is getting worn or broken, one is to separate the flag into the different colored pieces, so it’s no longer recognizable as the Norwegian flag, and dispose of it or burn it.

 

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More or less a bridge

Luckily I wasn’t planning on crossing this bridge when I was out for a walk in Jegersberg in early May 2016, but it’s not that uncommon to find bridges and other things that haven’t been fixed in a long time around in the nature in Norway.

But that is one of the great things in Norway, it’s usually not far to nature and places to go for a walk. That also means it’s pretty common to go for smaller walks often, than preparing for a longer hike less often. I used to live nearby Jegersberg, and it was nice being able to go outside and walk on gravel or dirt roads and see what nature has to offer. I used to do it a lot if I needed to clear my head and not think about all the pages I needed to read and write for my studies.

A place I miss

I spent three years as a student living in Kristiansand, and two of the things I miss most (in addition to the people) is the weather and nature. I miss walking around and exploring the town and nature surrounding it, and I miss having the nice weather to do it. Kristiansand doesn’t have that many steep hills, so a Sunday walk can be pretty common in nice weather.

This picture was taken in mid-July 2016 from Christiansholm fortress in Kristiansand. The blue building to the left in the picture is the location of NRK Sørlandet, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation in southern Norway.

Crossing borders

Crossing borders can be a strange thing. I’ve grown up in a Europe post the Schengen Agreement (at least the part of my life I remember), so the crossing of borders has often been “OK, according to the signs, we’ve passed the border now”. Lately, the borders have been more enforced, but to a varying degree.

Last year we went in a car with Norwegian plates between Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and back to Norway again, and there was some variation. Norway to Denmark was getting off a boat, and no checking of passports. Going from Denmark to Sweden it seemed like it was enough to be white and female in a Norwegian car. And from Sweden to Norway we started to hand them our passports, but seeing the outside seemed to be enough.

This year, between Norway, Denmark, and Germany, there was also not much checking. But it seems noticeable in a different way than when I was a kid. Mostly because of the media and the ferry company telling us to remember our passports, because they’ll check, but also because

But it seems noticeable in a different way than when I was a kid. Mostly because of the media and the ferry company telling us to remember our passports, because they might check them, but also because I pay attention to it in a different way as an adult. Are the borders noticeable if you cross them where you live? And do the people and affairs surrounding the borders affect how you feel when you cross them (if you can)?

Are the borders noticeable if you cross them where you live? And do the people and affairs surrounding the borders affect how you feel when you cross them (if you can)?

This picture was taken as we entered Norway driving north on E6 through Sweden in late July 2017.

The University of Agder

This is the University of Agder, or at least a part of it. This is Campus Kristiansand, which is one of the campuses of UiA. (I’ve written about the University before here and here.)

I’ve been a student here the last three years, and while it’s been weird knowing I’m not going back in August, it’s also slightly good. It was three great years with plenty of good teachers, fellow students, and fun stuff, but good things must come to an end to move forward with one’s life.

The picture was taken on a very nice day in early April 2017, when I needed a break from studies.

Dancing

This picture was taken in mid-March 2017, near Bertesbukta in Kristiansand. It’s a graffiti piece, a heart and a dancer on top of the heart. I needed some air during the semester, and the piece was pretty easy to find on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

Over the last years the attitude towards graffiti has changed a lot in Norway. There has been multiple laws against it (and probably still is, so don’t go crazy with the paint yet), but slowly it has become a more accepted, often welcomed, part of the cityscape. By which I mean that there are buildings offered up to paint on, and there are guided tours to see the different pieces. Examples are Stavanger where there is the NuArt festival and Kristiansand that also decorates parts of the city with street art.

Ruten in Sandnes

Ruten in Sandnes is not the prettiest place, but it usually serves its purpose. It’s mostly a place-to-arrange-stuff/parking-space/etc. The picture was taken late July 2013, when they were getting ready for the yearly Blink-festival hosted in Sandnes. The Blink-festival is a Ski-festival held in the summer, without any snow. The skis are roller-skis, and usually at least parts of the Norwegian National teams in Cross-Country and Biathlon will compete with other great international athletes. You can read more about the event here.

Happy 17th of May!

Tomorrow is the 17th of May, which is a big deal in Norway. This picture was taken 17th of May 2016, when I watched the Peoples Parade in Stavanger.

One of my major pet peeves is people constantly “bending” further and further out in the street, and not caring that the people around you might also have people or parts of the parade they want to see. So if you’re ever in Norway on the 17th of May, you should definitely watch any parades in the area you are, and not do this.

I’ve written more about the 17th of May celebrations before, here, here and here.

Southern-Norway on a postcard

fevik-utsikt-rommet

During the road trip around Kattegat and Skagerak in late July 2016 we drove along the southeastern coast of Norway, and one night we stayed at Strand Hotel Fevik, between Grimstad and Arendal. The hotel in itself was quite nice, apparently Roald Dahl kept returning to stay at the hotel. I guess I can understand that with the view we had from our room.