Crash Course to Norwegian, the Moroccan Way

by Satu Vänskä-Westgarth on March 27, 2014 · 33 comments

Agafay Desert Feature I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown
As if forty-eight hours travel back from New Zealand to Europe wasn’t enough, couple of days later and two flights in I was standing at the Oslo Airport, still jet-lagged, making introductions in my broken Norwegian while my head struggled to keep up with the familiar phrases resonating around me. Heading to Morocco might not seem the most logical thing to do if you want to improve your Norwegian, but this was exactly it, crash course to Norwegian, delivered among the souks of Marrakech and in the quietness of the Agafay desert.

The trip, organised by Visit Morocco and Norske Reiseblogger (Norwegian Travel Bloggers) took me and thirteen other travel bloggers, all Norwegian, on activity-packed few days to Marrakech and its surroundings to get acquainted with all things Moroccan. And while I tasted the spicy tagines, sipped my mint tea and strolled through the souks trying not to give into temptation to transform our home into an Arabic palace, the familiar Norwegian words and expressions started to make their way into my speech also.

So, if you are planning to come to Norway and want to disguise yourself as a local, here are three essential words and expressions you can’t do without. And even if you’d rather give the happiest nation in the world a miss, you can still take a look at these photographic teasers from Morocco.

Agafay Desert I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown
Koselig. Cozy.

If there is one word in Norwegian that fits almost any non-negative situation and is the adjective to use if you can’t think of anything else, it is koselig. Cozy as a translation is too restrictive as the word is used in many situations and even for persons, but it does give the idea of something warm, friendly and inviting. My parents enjoying the company of our two little angels while I was exploring Africa could be described as åå så koselig, even if the latest phone report gave the impression that terrible twos might have taken over our toddler. Hot chocolate by the fire on a cold winter’s night is no doubt koselig, but so is meeting a friend, or having a good meal too.

I’d go as far as to say that the rocky desert about one hour’s drive from Marrakech, Agafay, was also kind of… koselig of course!

Dromedaries in Morocco I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown
Hyggelig. Nice.

After names have been exchanged and hands shaked, introductions can be nicely finished by saying hyggelig. Nice to meet you.

The word hyggelig in my mind has kind of a huggable warm quality that “nice to meet you” will never reach, and hence meeting these dromedaries was quite hyggelig, indeed.

Moroccan lunch I @SatuVW I Destination Unknown
Tusen takk. Thousand thanks.

When just one thank you is not enough. Based on the frequency with which tusen takk can be heard in everyday speech, Norwegians are quite a thankful nation indeed. And after this lunch spread at the Dar Moha restaurant in Marrakech, these colourful plates representing only the starters, tusen takk was barely enough.

If you’d like to explore Marocco little more, you can find more images in my Instagram gallery and by checking all the #marokko14 images on IG. The list of all the bloggers on the trip can be found here.

But right now all I can think about is Norway, after three months on the road we will finally be home this weekend and I’ve heard reports that the cross-country skiing tracks are waiting for us in an immaculate condition. Let the winter fun begin! 

I’m part of the team co-hosting the Instagram Travel Thursday, an initiative started with Skimbaco Lifestyle online magazine to connect travel and Instagram enthusiasts across borders and I would love if you joined us! Read the guidelines on Skimbaco’s site and you too can now host this link-up in your own blog. You can get the code to add to your blog hereOnce you are ready with your own post, please add it to the Linky in the bottom of the page and check out some of the other participating bloggers! In Instagram you can find me at @todestinationunknown


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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Astridhjerte March 27, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Det var veldig KOSELIG å møte deg! 😉

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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 27, 2014 at 8:24 PM

I like måte! :)
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Reeta @houseofanais March 27, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Beautiful images and the food looks so fresh and delicious!
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 27, 2014 at 8:25 PM

Thanks Reeta, especially the starters and salads were gorgeous, so simple but full of taste!
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Randomjenta March 27, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Ja, det var både koselig og hyggelig å treffe deg ;D Fin vri på innlegget! Gleder meg til mer :)
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 27, 2014 at 8:33 PM

Jep, og nå er det begge koselig og hyggelig å reise hjem! It was great to meet you, hope to see you soon again! :)
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Jody March 27, 2014 at 2:42 PM

All I can think about is how tired you must be. :) But the trip looks incredible – and camels!
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 27, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Yeah… I’m ready for some rest and “not traveling” for a bit… Two more flights and we’ll be home!
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Lisa Goodmurphy March 27, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Loved seeing the images and learning the Norwegian words! Hope you are able to catch up on some sleep now!!
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 27, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Thanks Lisa! It’s been VERY early nights since coming to Finland, I look forward to going home to Norway next :)
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Annette March 27, 2014 at 7:55 PM

Dear Satu you made it well in Norwegian, no worries there. I had a great time getting to know you – very KOSELIG indeed :)
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 27, 2014 at 8:39 PM

Thank you Annette!! It was great to meet you and hope to see you soon again!
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YashY March 27, 2014 at 8:28 PM

ooh.. those terrible twos. We’re deep in them but I see signs of it ending … though i’ve been warned about the terrifying threes and F!!@#ing Fours.. so who knows!

On a side note.. Morocco is on my MUST visit list. I hope to get there next year since it doesn’t look like it will happen this year. Loved following your trip on IG! Will check out some of the other bloggers who went with you as well!

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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 27, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Hah, so there is NO end to it then!!!! :)

I will write more about Morocco in the weeks to come, I have so many travel stories to share now from NZ too that I will be busy for a good while. And yes, have a look at the others as well, although most of them write in Norwegian. There’re some AMAZING images in their blogs already, from the trip though!
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Andi of My Beautiful Adventures March 27, 2014 at 10:37 PM

Love the camel shot!

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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 28, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Thanks Andi!!
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Frankie March 28, 2014 at 12:25 AM

Ah koselig, I remember hearing this and realising that it’s the same as the Dutchie “gezellig”… And yes, completely untranslatable in English 😀 Lovely photos Satu! x
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 28, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Gezellig sounds somewhat harsher than the Norwegian version… :) I can’t wait to hear how your Dutch is going, I still need bit more practice with my Norwegian! And thanks!
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Ann-Mari March 28, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Morsomt innlegg!
Danskenes svar på koselig er “hygge”, hva sier dere i Finland?

Må forresten si at jeg er imponert over at du satte deg på nye fly etter 48 timer på reise.
Respekt! :0)
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 28, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Dessverre har vi ingenting som koselig eller hygge på finsk… Kodikas, som betyr “koselig” er bare brukt når man snakker om hus/hjem…

Og ja, jeg har to flyreiser till og da vi er hjem! :)
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Maliva March 29, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Hei vakre deg!
Først vil jeg takk for noen koselig dager hvor vi delte rom sammen, veldig hyggelig å bli kjent med deg. Så må jeg si du er en dyktig fotograf, og flink til å formidle. Gleder meg til å følge deg videre, og kanskje det blir Portugal vi sees neste gang….Ha en fortsatt fin helg. Klem fra meg
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 31, 2014 at 6:27 AM

Tusen takk Maliva! Og det var kjempe koselig å dele rom med deg også! Jeg så at Norwegian flyr til Portugal, så det er en god mulighet at vi treffer der neste gang! :)
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SJ @ Chasing the Donkey March 29, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Tired, bleary eyed and yet you went, What a women, and boy how I have missed your photos. I wanted to lick my screen on that food photos. What a feast!
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 31, 2014 at 6:28 AM

Hah, thanks SJ! And yeah, what a woman, it seemed like the perfect plan when I was still in NZ…. 😉
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Alison Chino March 30, 2014 at 5:00 PM

WOW! What a whirlwind! I’m impressed Satu! LOVED watching the images of Morocco! Hoping you’re getting settled back home now. All the best for a wonderful next season (winter/spring?)
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth March 31, 2014 at 6:29 AM

It’s been quite the whirlwind alright, but now it is so KOSELIG to be at home 😉 Here we’re enjoying something between late winter and early spring, cross-country skiing is in the plans for the next couple of days…
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Hamaca Reiseblogg April 2, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Hehe, måtte le litt for meg selv når jeg leste innlegget ditt! Vi nordmenn tenker sjelden på hvor ofte vi sier “koselig” tror jeg =) Takk for et morsomt, annerledes og tankevekkende innlegg, Satu!
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Satu Vänskä-Westgarth April 2, 2014 at 11:13 PM

Ha ha, ja, det er koselig hele vegen her, syns jeg! 😉
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