Senior Travel to Scandanavia

Dec 16th, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Scandinavia is a region in northern Europe that includes Denmark and two of the Scandinavian Peninsula’s nations, Norway and Sweden. I spent several years in Minnesota and it seems like every other person you meet in that state is from one of those three countries. My wife and I had a cabin on a lake in northern Minnesota. I felt obliged to add a SEN or an SON to the ending of my family name on our mailbox like Beckersen or Beckerson just to “fit in”. I actually added those ending small letters and my scandinavian neighbors loved it.

So let’s go visit that area in the world. This site adds Finland and Iceland to the listing. This map will give you a good idea of where each country is located. In modern times the Faroe Islands (Faeroe) are also considered a part of this geographical area, especially in terms of cultural and historic relationships.

The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon found in latitudes north of the Arctic Circle, where the sun is visible at the local midnight. With adequate weather conditions, the sun is visible for full 24 hours a day. This is great for travelers planning long days outdoors, as there will be sufficient light for outdoor activities around the clock! So seniors, let’s break down Scandinavia and try to highlight the major tourist attractions in each area.

But first, why is this area called Scandinavia? I always enjoy etymology and find that the origin of the word is not entirely clear but people generally favor the idea that it means the island of darkness or fog island. Reasoning: The Norwegian word skodde means fog and avia means island in Norwegian. On old maps, Scandinavia is often shown as an island, and as people’s knowledge of world geography was then quite limited, then this interpretation is likely correct. And folks… it does get foggy, mighty foggy on those many fjords.

One of the most loaded sites I found for you is goscandanavia.com. The southern-most Scandinavian country, Denmark consists of the Jutland peninsula and over 400 islands, some of which are linked to the mainland by bridge. Almost all of Denmark is low and flat, but there are many low hills as well.

Also called “The Land of Vikings, and the Midnight Sun,” Norway is the northernmost country in Europe. Norway has a jagged expanse of islands and fjords.  I once had a student in my French class from Norway who lived above the Artic Circle. He told of tales of what life was like in that area . I could not imagine anyone living that far north and in those conditions. He loved it.

Sweden offers numerous lakes and is the largest of the Scandinavian countries – both in land size and population. Volvo and Saab both originated here and are a big part of the Swedish industry. Swedish citizens are independently minded and highly regard their people-oriented social programs, especially in women’s rights.

With a surprisingly mild climate, Iceland is Europe’s westernmost country, the second largest island in the North-Atlantic ocean.

Finland is another country where the weather is better than many tourists expect. Finland also has one of the lowest immigration rates in the world.  The tundra was teeming with Arctic hare, lemming, muskox, and caribou. Tundra is the coldest of all the biomes. Tundra comes from the Finnish word tunturi, meaning treeless plain.

The Arctic Ocean is the centerpiece of the Circumpolar North. Most likely you will arrive by airplane or ship to visit the capitals and major cities in Scandinavia. A good map is always useful for knowing where you are and where you will be going.  jeb



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