55 years ago, on 21 June 1959, Norway’s first aircraft with charter tourists took off at Fornebu Airport in Oslo. Since then, the number of charter tours to the Spanish islands and the Mediterranean has exploded.
While most people took the train or bus on vacation, the 35 passengers on board the first charter plane were pioneers. The flight ticket cost a fortune: 1225 Norwegian Kroner (200 dollars) per person, equivalent of 14,000 Kroner (2.300 dollars) today.
A charter tour is organized by a travel agent, with arrangements including transport, accommodation and meals.
Travelling by air was out of the question for most people – it was sumptuous and not for common people. These lucky passengers even dressed up before the flight.
Una Cerveza, Por Favor
Seven and a half hours later, the plane landed in Syden – literary meaning the South which is a common Norwegian term for destinations in warmer climate. The first 35 charter tourists landed on the Spanish island Mallorca, after a stopover with dinner in Geneva. They had 14 exciting days ahead.
After the arrival, the passengers were encouraged to explore the exotic island through a hired guide. The Norwegians ordered “cerveza’s” in the hotel bar, was introduced to new flavors, white bread and sangria, took a swim in the Mediterranean and bought cheap hand-made cloths of beach sellers.
Popular Pig Feasts
The so-called grisefest (pig feast) was a popular attraction: Hundreds of Norwegians, Swedes and Danes gathered in large hall rooms eating fat pigs from the grill and drinking gallons of cheap wine.
Among most Norwegians it was common to go fishing or on a camping holiday. At that time, an average hourly wage for construction workers was 4,47 Kroner (73 cents), and most people worked 45-50 hours a week.
During the summer and autumn of 1959, a total of 400 Norwegians travelled on a charter holiday to Mallorca. However, in the 70s charter tourism became common, and last year 1.2 million people travelled to Syden on holiday. Worth noting is that Norway has only 5 million inhabitants.
- See also: The World Seen from Norway
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews
Photos from top: Dagbladet/Ving, Vega forlag