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Banbury Cross

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Post details: Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision

Norwegians like to keep their roads low, which obviously poses a bit of a problem because much of their country chose to reside at pretty high elevations. But where there is a will, there is a way. Or - not to exaggerate - at least a one lane road.

Norwegian anthem begins with the verse "Ja, vi elsker dette landet" (Yes, we love this country) and after a week of driving through Norway I have to admit that it is completely true. Norwegians really dig their country. Literally. Never before have I seen so many tunnels as in Norway. And some of them can be quite impressive - on our way from Aurland to Laerdal, we drove through a monster which was 25 km long. That must have really involved some quality jackhammer time.

But it explains why you have to drive with your lights on while in Norway. In tunnels, it is essential that you are seen by the oncoming traffic. The rest a simple statistics really - with all those tunnels and all those cars moving in them, Norway gets more underground movement than Britain during the Beatnik years. If even a small fraction of drivers forgot to put their headlights on, it would be a tunnel clogging disaster. So why take chances and deplete the country's stock of Draino?

Sometimes you go through a tunnel, emerge briefly, cross a fjord or a lake on a bridge and zip into another tunnel. Their sheer total length is mind-boggling. I wouldn't be surprised if Norway possessed more than 20% of the known tunnel reserves of the whole world. If they ever run our of oil, they could export them.

I am not sure whether Norwegians have a national animal - but if they do, I bet you five crates of high grade dynamite that it is a mole. Paws down.

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