My first trip to Norway is one of my most cherished memories of Scandinavia. As in Sweden, I spent most of my time there with my Swiss friends, in the "10000 fjords" train circuit. At the end of the train ride, my friends wanted to go to some town where the royal prince and princess were supposed to be in the next days. I, on the other hand, wanted to go to Bergen, which was and is still known for extreme sports (I didn't care much for royals), so our paths diverged.
In cruel twist of fate, on my arrival in Bergen I learned that the town was more or less closed down because the royals had changed their minds -and itinerary- and were visiting Bergen instead.
So the only thing I could do was watch the royals. That was a bummer.
I approached the lake and saw a bunch of guys in suits dispersed at 50 or 100m from each other, in a perimeter, watching the celebrations. I went "boo!" behind one of them, he turned around laughing, and then I approached the denser group of people. The photo camera I had left with had been stolen on the way and I only had a disposable one with a half-used roll-film (this was in the dog days of summer before 9/11).
The photo above was taken while I was fumbling with my silly camera trying to take a photo as the queen was looking straight at me, smiling, and was about to come straight to me to ask me what I was doing. Even closer, a security guy is looking at my camera, unsure if a camera that doesn't work isn't some kind of weapon in disguise.
The Crown Prince was keeping a low-profile, but Mette-Marit, the Crown Princess, was a spectacle to watch! She walked assertively, even enthusiastically, and watching the outpouring of sympathy from locals and the optimistic and very contagious positive vibe the princess was generously dispersing in the surrounding atmosphere, I felt that maybe monarchy is not the anachronistic anomaly that previously disgusted me.
* * *
Norwegian sounds very "optimistic", much like Swedish and Baltic languages, but more so. It is considered a pitch-accent language, which makes it almost tonal, like Chinese, but not quite.
The prevalent advice is to learn Norwegian rather than Swedish (reddit):
If you grasp Norwegian (Bokmål, don’t go near Nynorsk) then you’ve understood written Danish as they’re 95%+ alike when written.
Swedish is also very similar but has more words that aren’t the same (quite a lot).
Some say that spoken Swedish is easier to understand to a Norwegian than spoken Danish (and Norwegian to a Swede) but I don’t think that’s entirely true anymore and is mainly a stereotype that Norwegians like to keep alive.
Isn't it great to have a choice? :)
(This is a Language I study.)