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In Norway, there is a small place reminiscent of America. Almost everyone who lives here have some kind of connection to the USA. Here you will find American street names, shops that sell American goods and a restaurant where you get real American food. It is probably also the place in Norway that has the most American cars. This "Little America" has its own AmCar Club and an annual American festival. This is Lista in Southern Norway, a place with a long history of American emigration.
Route 8 – an American road trip
Last week my husband and I took a day trip along the south coast to Lista. Route 8 (not how it is said in Norwegian) runs from Farsund and around the Lista peninsula. If you follow the route, you will be doing an approx. 43 km. long "American road trip". It has been given this name because the road is shaped like an eight number. During this trip we stopped some places, such as Lista Lighthouse and in the town of Vanse which is a small town with aprox 2000 inhabitants and probably Norway's most American town!
In Vanse we parked the car in front of Brooklyn Square which is not even a hundred meters in length. This street is named after Brooklyn in New York and is also the street which got the first official American name in Norway.
8th Avenue diner
On Brooklyn Square there is only one shop - Trunken (The Trunk) that sells American stuff. Even the sign with the opening hours is in English! The only restaurant on the square is called 8th. Avenue. An American Diner inspired by 50's / 60's New York.
The building is also the town's bus station, but here it is called "Central Station" and has both Elvis and the Statue of Liberty as decorations on the outside.
The last weekend in June the American Festival is celebrated with concerts and dancing in Brooklyn Square. Parades with American cars, music etc. We also learned from the news, that people here received a check from President Donald Trump, like many others living in the United States in connection with Covid-19. A couple of people were interviewed on TV and said that they didn't understand why. They still think that the money should benefit Americans living in the States.
After Vanse we contiunued on Route 8. The lighthouse is from 1836. It's possible to walk the steps to the top of this 34 meter high stone tower to get an amazing view of the area and the sea. There is also an information center and ornithological station here. The Lista Peninsula has a wetland area and is also a natuaral staging area for migrating birds. The round stones (rolling stones) on the beach is part of the moraine from the last ice age. Not excactly like a sandy beach, but a lovely place to walk along the shore and feel the wind in the face.
What is the reason why there is such an American dominated culture on Lista? During the period from the 1890s until the 1960s, thousands of people crossed the Atlantic. In this period of almost 80 years the exchange of labour was extensive. Most of the people hwo left Lista, stayed in New York where they worked as sailors, craftsmen etc. After some time many went back to Norway. Some did the journey several times. That so many returned is what makes it so special. All these people who came back brought with them customs and culture from the States. This is how they created a «little America» on the coast of Norway.
and information boards at the lighthouse.
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