1. So, who is the dragon? Is the prow a dragon?
Look up Norwegian mythology. This dragon-serpent is apparently ancient Jormundgandr, the Sea Serpent, a/k/a Midgard Serpent, there on the prow. It derives from mythology where the serpent is one of three children of giantess Angrbooa and Loki, trickster. Odin, chief god, stole the children and hurled the Serpent Jormundgandr into the sea encircling Midgard, like earth. Jormundgandr continued to grow until he could catch his tail in his mouth around Midgard; and so he did. If he lets go, the world will end. Read about the Midgard Serpent in three main sources:
- the skaldic or poet's poem (read about the form at http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/literature/text/Skaldic_Poetry.htm; and the conventions for meter and stress) called Husdrapa, or house poem;
- the Eddic or anonymous poem Hymskvida, and Eddic poem Voluspa (see stanzas 55-56 http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe03.htm, and in a variety of kennings. What is all that? See http://www.sunnyway.com/runes/poetic_edda.html.
- the kennings: a kind of two-word metaphor used instead of the word itself, as whale-road for sea, see http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/glossaryItem.do?id=8103
2. Norway's Burgers and Prices.
Hurtigruten Hoboes, like we are -- just a day and a night -- find the dining room too expensive and social. We like the cafe, a.mini cafeteria for a variety of burgers and open-face sandwiches. Ordered a different burger and fixin's, for two meals. Dining room dinner: est $86.00 each; at the cafe, total with beverage about $31 each or $62.00 for both, give or take. Any questions?
Break it down. Take the NOK and multiply by $.17. Full lunch with beverage, more.
Prices. Compare McDonald's in Steinkjer, just north of Trondheim, near Stiklestad, with the Hurtigruten cafe. Total bill, McDonald's 218.5 NOK or so, including (including taxes, fries and beverage, one whopper, one somewhat smaller) or about $37.00 for both of us..
Note the breakdown on taxes shown on the McDonald's.
Both use Norwegian beef. Tasted much better than McDonald's US. Fresh, not over-ground, no gummy binder taste. Beef is grass-fed.
Food prices: high, but look at the benefits of a higher tax system overall, and higher consumer prices. No slums, that we saw; a few people begging, but very, very few and not ethnically Norwegian; infrastructure excellent. See Forbes review at http://www.forbes.com/places/norway/
Norway is frugal with its money, and invests globally, saving up, see http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111192127
3. Views en route --
Munkholmen Island, Trondheim fjord, Norway
This island in the fjord has been a monastery, an execution place, a prison, a fortress, earliest events about 1000. See http://www.visitnorway.com/en/Where-to-go/Central/Trondheim/What-to-do-in-Trondheim/Attractions-in-Trondheim/Munkholmen-island/
Many towns, and remaining churches, are accessible only by water, traditionally. Even these show no roads.