Scandinavia is an area of Northern Europe that shares a common heritage --similar customs, language, and other ways of living. This area includes the modern countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Even though they share a common heritage, they are very different geographically --their lands are different. Norway is known for is fjords, Denmark has lowlands, and Sweden has archipelagos.
Sweden - archipelagos... a group of islands
Norway - fjords...long, narrow ocean inlet between steep slopes.
Tuesday Most people in Scandinavia live in the warmer, southern areas of these countries. The far northern parts of Norway and Sweden are close to the Arctic Circle and can be quite cold. It is in the northern parts of Norway and Sweden, you see have "the best seats" for viewing the Aurora Borealis --what many call the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis is a spectacular light display that can be seen at night. Auroras occur because of charged particles that come from the Sun, these particles sometimes hit the Earth but we are protected by the Earth’s magnetic field. However, there are weak spots in the Earth’s magnetic field near the polar regions at the North and South Poles. This is where the charged particles react with particles in the air and create the aurora borealis, an amazing natural phenomenon.
Wednesday Scandinavia is the place of the Vikings. The Vikings were famous for sailing huge distances from their home in Scandinavia over a 1000 years ago, to raid and plunder (that means steal), but they also traded with people from other countries.The name ‘Viking means ‘a pirate raid’ in the Old Norse language.
Around 500 years before Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ America, the Vikings had been here, landing in what is now Canada.
The Vikings believed in many gods and goddesses. These gods are called Norse gods, because the Vikings were called Norsemen or men from the north. Thor was the god of thunder. The Vikings were very fond of some of their gods. Others they disliked intensely. Some scared them! Viking gods made their home high in the sky, in a place the Vikings called Asgard. The Vikings made up many great stories about their gods and goddesses. They even had a god that was an evil trickster named Loki. So you see, the ancient Greeks were not the only civilization to make up wonderful stories about their gods. The Vikings did as well. These stories are called Norse myths.
Thursday All three countries in Scandinavia are independent countries with their own capitols. The capitol of Sweden is Stockholm. The capitol of Denmark. The capitol of Norway is Oslo.
Friday Ice Hotel Anyone? There's a lot to be said for a visit to the original Icehotel in Jukka, Sweden --140 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The cheapest option is a regular double room with a bed made out of compacted snow and ice, topped with a reindeer skin (you sleep inside a sleeping bag). Years of experience have also made this the best place for activities. A favourite excursion is a 90-minute trip into the forest by snowmobile. There is also a similar trip by dog sled. Let's take a look inside:
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