From one more of summer's vacationers:L "We...


September 09, 1994

A POSTCARD, from one more of summer's vacationers:

L "We did three countries in two weeks. Maybe good, maybe not.

"Denmark was hot, Norway had patches of snow, in Sweden it rained. Sweden has dual-lane highways, Norway tunnels, Denmark canals. In the fjord reflections, the water made the mountains and waterfalls jade-green.

"Sorta fun, Scandinavia. People speak lovely English. The air is -- clean. Much recent, good outdoor sculpture. Biggest hotel breakfasts you ever saw; once, with free beer.

"Often, you can make sense of the signs and notices. They do spell oddly -- 'toalett' (w.c.) and 'fabrikk'(factory) and 'laks' (pronounced lox and means salmon). We shorten 'automobile' to auto; they call it a 'bil'. It helps to have had a bit of German; even so, surprising to see Teuton (meaning a German) turn into Tysk, pronounced Toosk or Tisk.

"And, the words change a little every time you cross a border. Just when your 'thank you very much' is rolling out smoothly as 'mange tak', it changes to 'tusen takk' and then to 'tack sa mycket'.

"There's an accent mark over that last 'a' that U.S. typefonts have never had. On the other hand, in all Danmark, Norge and Sverige, nary an apostrophe.

"Nice, at a store in rural Norway, buying a box labeled "Maryland Cookies," made in England, full of Sjokolade and Hasselnotter; like Toll House cookies.

"What stood out? Copenhagen's art museum; Norway's stave churches; Stockholm's remarkable City Hall. Or, one country has kayaks and other Inuit stuff; another, 1000 A.D. Viking ships; the third, that awesome 1628 Vasa warship.

"The danger is, in a tour group, what you learn most about may be just the other Americans. Good group, ours; not one troll in it.

"The country you like best: whichever country you were in most recently.

"Love to all."

On the other side was one of those body-found-on-beach photos: young, tall, blond, statuesque, undressed; very pan-Scandinavian.

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