For Norwegians, the Mediterranean is one of the most common holiday travel destinations.
It is such a common destination for us that we have a shorthand for everything around that area. “Syden” directly translated just means “the south”. But for us it just refers to the area around the Mediterranean, despite almost everywhere being south of Norway.
As for me, I have not really been there that many times. At least compared to a lot of other Norwegians.
The first time I was in “Syden” was in 2001, when I was 11. We were specifically in Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean.
I was there with my mother, my sister, and the family of one of my mom’s friends. They were four people. Two parents, and two boys around my and my sister’s age.
Like most people vacationing in the Mediterranean, we mostly just relaxed on our holiday.
We went swimming, built sand castles, visited a water park, went out to eat. Generally just enjoying ourselves in the sun. The most unusual thing we did was to join a tour of some sea caves, which we were boated through.
I enjoyed that holiday, but I have later come to learn that I prefer holidays in places that feel more lived in, rather than places that feel entirely set up for holiday-makers. Like big cities like New York and London, or quite little towns.
I did go on one other trip to “Syden”, with my mother and sister the following year. We went to the small town of Parga, in northwestern Greece. Parga is probably just as commercial and touristy as Cyprus, but it felt much more like a place with a real history.
But that’s a story for another time.