LILLEHAMMER, Norway — It really doesn't take long for an American to start feeling at home here. For all of its Nordic differences, Norway comes off as a very Americanized country.
The English spoken here by nearly everyone is much closer to American than British, and although all of the national and regional Norwegian foods are served proudly, anyone with a homesick palate can indulge it with little or no trouble.
Hot dogs are available at concession stands at the Olympic venues and at street stands in town, there are several nearby pizza joints--one even delivers--and casual restaurants all over the place advertise "American hamburgers."
And if you don't quite trust that advertising, you can always head for the golden arches.
Right, if you deserve a break today, there's a McDonald's in Lillehammer. It has a gleaming copper roof, has been open for two months and is doing a booming business. In fact, there's a tent annex to handle the overflow Olympic crowds, complete with TV set tuned to one of the Olympic channels.
A look at the meny shows most of the things Americans are used to--Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, Quarter Pounders med ost --right, that's with cheese--Cokes, fries, even a salat.
And everything tastes just the way it does at home.
"Of course," says a supervisor. "It's the same all around the world."
There is, however, one concession to Norwegian tastes. There's the traditional Filet o' Fish sandwich just the same as the one offered in the States, but for NOK 26,50, as they say--that's $3.60 American--you can get a Norsk McLaks, or for 44,50 a Norsk McLaks Meny, or Value Meal.
Norsk McLaks? It's a salmon sandwich. Yup, the Norwegians have found yet another way to serve salmon.
It's not something to make a gourmet drool, but for fast food, it's not bad. In fact, with fries and a Coke, it's pretty good. As it says on the meny , 100% cleaned and bone-free Norwegian salmon served on a bun with shredded lettuce, cucumber slices and dill dressing.
Next thing you know, McDonald's Norge will be sending people off to Laks U.