Last month I went in search of snow with some friends. With absolutely no snow here in mid-Norway, we headed south towards Lillehammer to find some white stuff. And we were not disappointed.
Four+ hours southeast of Trondheim, Lillehammer is a small city in Norway – only 20,000 or so people – that had the honor of hosting the Winter Olympics in 1994 (recent article on why Lillehammer was the best Winter Olympics ever). Within 30 minutes of one another are the two ski hills which hosted the alpine events – Kvitfjell and Hafjell (fjell means mountain). We stayed at a cozy cabin smack-dab in the middle.
And while the skiing was great, this blog post isn’t about that – but instead about how Norwegians are trusting, perhaps to a fault.
We reserved the cabin a few days earlier. We arrived late on Friday evening, but the owners left a key for us and had turned up the heat in the cabin in preparation for our stay. There was a note saying we could take care of the bill later, but we never encountered the owners during our 2-night stay.
A few days after arriving back home we hadn’t heard from them so we decided to call and ask for the bill. According to my friend, this is how the conversation went:
“Aha, you were here last weekend… aha you want to pay? Aha…”
“I will send you the bill to your e mail!”
My friend asks if they have her email.
Aha! no! Then I will call you to send you the bill!”
My friend asks if they have her phone number.
“Aha! No… well can you give me your e-mail address?”
And then when she finally got the email with the bill… they neglect to provide the bank account she was supposed to transfer the money to! Really, we want to pay you, you are just making it so hard!
But that is the Norwegian way. Leave your house unlocked, your keys in the car, trust your neighbor, and assume that people are honest.
I’m just hoping that when I am ready to go back, that camping place is still in business!