What have we got against Scandinavia?

January 31, 2010

I have been looking for Rick Steves’ guide on Scandinavia in all the best bookshops – Borders, Kinokuniya and Page One – and even at Planet Traveller, but not a single one of them stock it.

It seems Scandinavian countries are not very popular destinations for us Singaporeans.

It’s quite bizarre because, as a result of squeezing four million people into the 680 square kilometers, we are a relatively well-travelled lot.

Singapore Airlines doesn’t even fly there! Okay, so I exaggerated for effect: they do fly to Copenhagen, but not to Oslo, which surprised me a little.

In case you completely drew a blank

Mention Scandinavia and Singaporeans get a little bit stumped.

Case in point, this is what R asked the first time we met the husband-to-be:

“So what language do you guys speak in Norway?”

“Erm… Norwegian?”

It’s a really sad state of affairs.

At the risk of sounding like completely ignorant and ethnocentric, there are probably only two things I know about each of the Scandinavian countries right now:

  • Norway – Salmon and Vikings
  • Denmark – “Hope”nhagen and Hans Christian Anderson
  • Sweden – Ikea and the Ice Hotel

And if you were brought up in the “country eraser” era of primary school, maybe you’d at least have the national flags etched in your brain.

So, I guess it’s a blessing that we have a good excuse to spend more than two weeks in the unlikeliest of travel destinations, and take home a little bit more than stereotypes and cliches.

And that is why I desperately need Rick to get me started.

Then maybe next on my agenda : visit Africa so I can finally learn the names of the countries.


Edit >> Okay, I was getting really desperate when I came across opentrolley.com.sg, a Singapore online bookstore that I never knew existed. And they have 79 copies of the 2010 version in stock! Unbelievable.

Right now, Pig is happy when life sticks you little surprises.


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