Santa Barbara´s Fairytale Twin – Cardamom Town


A Santa Barbara Fairytale

Did you know that Santa Barbara looks like a book from 1955, an imaginary town and one of the best memories from my childhood?

I am born and raised in Larvik, Norway and 4 weeks ago I got to see Santa Barbara for the first time. I came here to get an education, but also to experience the beauty of this city with its Spanish architecture, palm trees, and sunshine. What I didn’t know before I was strolling down State Street was that this city looks exactly like Cardamom Town, a fictional little town built in Norway.

When the Robbers Came to Cardamom Town is a Norwegian children’s book written and illustrated by Thorbjorn Egner. It is considered as one of the most popular Norwegian children´s book with its good illustrations, songs and interesting characters.

The setting of Cardamom town was made into a theme park in Kristiansand Zoo, Norway in 1991. It was built to look exactly like it appears in the illustrations of the book. During the summer actors would walk around the area of the park and pretend to represent the residents of the fictional town.

The town has for years been portrayed as an idyllic, fantasy town for children. Look at the pictures, as you can see, Santa Barbara looks just like it. Everything fits in, even the red trolley down by the pier looks exactly like the streetcar from the book and theme park.



It is amazing how I can feel like a child again just by walking along the streets of Santa Barbara. Even if I am one big ocean and many miles away from Norway, I still feel like home here in this Californian “Cardamom Town.”


About Author

Karoline Karlsen

Karoline, born and raised in Larvik, Norway, just arrived to Santa Barbara and Antioch University to earn a BA in business and entrepreneurship. Her decision of coming here is due to her recent backpacking trip around Asia and Oceania, she decided she wanted to discover even more of the world. When she is not walking around with her backpack, she loves to stay active, hang out with friends, read and hike. Karoline is very positive, responsible, and reliable. She never gives up on her dreams and her next step is to do volunteer work in South America.

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