I’m not one to look back. But when I heard about the two mass shootings in Norway, I was shocked. I’ve been to Norway three times, the last time only three years ago. It is the safest, most peaceful country in the Northern Hemisphere. Though there are unstable mentally ill people everywhere, the shootings were so out of character for this beautiful country.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called the
tragedy peacetime Norway’s deadliest day.
I remembered the trip we took with DNT, the Norwegian hiking club – their version of Sierra Club.
For seven days, we hiked from hut to hut in the Jotunheimen region, the highest mountains in Norway. We scooped water out from the lake and didn’t have to treat it.
We were the only native English speakers in the group, though everyone spoke English.
The others were strong hikers, fun and friendly and most were half our age. Two in the group are my Facebook friends.
The most memorable part of the trip started one morning at breakfast when Erik nudged me and said “See that man sitting in the booth about two rows down?”
“The one with two other men and a woman?”
“Yes, that’s our Prime Minister,”Erik said.
“What? No one else seems to have noticed.”
“Everyone knows who he is. They just respect his privacy.” No one approached the Prime Minister or took his picture, though I was tempted.
I was amazed that a head of state could have a hiking vacation in the mountains and stay in the same huts as the tourists. In the U.S., the hut would have been vacated for weeks, searched and bugged, if a President chose to stay here. Heck, they might have vacated the whole National Park.
Later Lenny and I sat on the steps of the hut to lace up our boots. The Prime Minister and the other two men and a woman, his bodyguards, left the hut, walked past us with their packs and strode out on the trail probably to the next hut.
I hope that Norway will stay free and friendly and that their Prime Minister continues to hike in the Norwegian Mountains.