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8. September 2004  
Children left alone while parents party

Norwegian parents who take their children on holiday overseas are increasingly leaving them on their own while they take off to drink relatively cheap liquor. The problem already has cropped up in Spain, and now Norway's ambassador to Turkey is sounding alarms.
"We're lucky that we haven't had any deaths yet, even though we've found babies who are dehydrated," Ambassador Hans Wilhelm Longva told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Tuesday.

Longva said he fears for the health and safety, even the lives, of small children left alone in hotel rooms, often without food or drink. The Norwegian Embassy and consular officers are increasingly being called upon by local tourism officials to come help children who have been virtually abandoned.

The Norwegian embassy personnel in turn cooperate with juvenile protection agencies to care for the children.

Longva said that many of the cases involve single mothers who have taken their small children along on package tours to Turkey, but who end up going on drinking binges for days on end.

He doesn't think the problem is unique to Turkey, which has become a popular tourist destination for Norwegians.

"For me, it's come as a shock that there are so many cases of this," he said, adding that the problem crops up in other tourist destinations as well.

Norwegian authorities recently have been called upon to tackle similar cases involving negligent parents in Spain. The authorities work with Spanish authorities who have been called upon to help children of holidaying parents, many of whom are on long-term trips to Spanish resort areas.

Via Aftenposten News in English.

Leisure [09:47]   TrackBack (0)


3. August 2004  
Tourists (II)

The tourists visiting Bergen, Norway, ask about the strangest things, like where the Norwegian trolls live.

According to the local paper Bergensavisen (BA), an American showed up at the tourist information office in Bergen and asked for a map of where the Vikings lived. He was convinced that they were still around. The American stated that he heard that they lived in Fyllingsdalen.

Cily Samuelsen, 31, and Marianne Hgsnes, 27, at the tourist information office in Bergen stated that the questions never seize to amaze them.

This summer, several have stopped by and asked us where the trolls live, Hgsnes explained. That is rather easy to handle. We only send them to the Ivo Caprino Park at Lillehammer because there are several troll statues there.

The two women at the tourist information said a Japanese tourist stopped by the other day and asked if it was possible to take a day trip through the polar circle to the North Pole because his son really wanted to meet Santa Claus.

The women were rather flabbergasted when an American couple demanded their money back because they discovered that the midnight sun in Norway was the same as home in the States.

Via Nettavisen News in English.

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Tourists (I)

swimmer.jpgA lawyer from London has suddenly emerged as the new hero of one of Norway's most famous fjords. When he emerges from the chilly waters of the fjord, that is.

Lewis Gordon Pugh launched an unusual quest last month. The long-distance swimmer decided he wanted to be the first person to swim the entire length of the Sognefjord, a distance of exactly 204 kilometers (122 miles).

His mission initially was met by a rather large degree of Norwegian scepticism. Some viewed him as just another exhibitionist bent on publicity during an otherwise uneventful summer.

But then Pugh plunged into the chilly water at Skjolden in Luster Township on July 26 amidst a bit of local TV coverage. A week-and-a-half and around a hundred kilometres later, Pugh has stroked his way into the hearts of the natives along the fjord.

When he literally crawled his way towards the pier at Hermansverk Monday, hundreds of onlookers were on hand to greet him. Mayor Olav Lunden was there as well, to give him an official welcome.

Pugh also found himself being followed by around 20 boats. Best of all, the temperature in the water has risen as he swims towards open sea and away from the cold glacier streams that empty into the fjord.

"The only problem I've had is a sore shoulder," Pugh told newspaper Bergens Tidende, adding that a physical therapist has been able to help him with that.

He's also lost about four kilos (nearly nine pounds) of the extra weight he intentionally put on before setting out on the swim. The excess body fat aimed to keep him warm when the water temperature initially hovered around 6C.

Pugh hopes to set a new world record with his swim and National Geographic is following his progress. He's already swum across the English Channel and around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

Via Aftenposten News in English. Photo: Terje Eggum/SCANPIX

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