Norway, the legendary Pole

Welcome to the land of fjords, trolls and black gold! The only non-member state of the European Union from the north, Norway has retained its legendary, unspoiled and domestic independence, in its character and landscapes alike. Norway lives and breathes calm and social equilibrium, boasts low unemployment figures, a well-structured social system and is a hard-working, self-sufficient and hospitable nation. In this land of sea, mountains and forests, nature exults, and contemplating the fjords, which are basically glacial valleys flooded by the sea, is possible whatever the season, be it winter sports or long, summer evenings.

Norway is also the country of winter sports with some 20,000 kilometres of pistes, skiable from November to May, and just as many quaint timber chalets dotting the landscape. Picturesque and perhaps the ultimate ski destination? Without a doubt, especially since the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, which blessed the region with a host of high-performance facilities. And just for the record – and a significant one at that - in 1888, when Norwegian explorer Fidtjof Nansen crossed the Greenland interior with a team of 40, skiing as a mode transport won global recognition.

The Aurora Borealis … One thing is certain, every single show of these celestial phenomena is totally unique and tests the patience of the visitor to the nth degree. Whilst waiting for the miracle to happen, donne your cross country skis, make a snowman, go for a walk, or set off on a sleigh-ride or snow-bike, all in the quest for a better vantage point. And if fortune is in your favour, under a clear sky and near the two equinoxes (September 21 and March 21), three green ethereal bands surge up into the night, a stream of lights like shimmering draperies, a whirlpool of mist tinged with pink and sometimes even purple-centred.

Reality or arctic mirage? Scientifically speaking, the sun is at the origin of this phenomenon. During significant solar explosions, immense quantities of particles are projected through space. As they enter the earth’s magnetosphere, they follow the lines of magnetic force generated by the earth’s core, where they enter the earth’s atmosphere.

As energy is released some one hundred kilometres above our heads, it creates the auroras, or Northern Lights. And for our last top tip, avoid full moon and well-lit spots and head instead to the Polar Light Centre in Laukvik, on the Lofoten Islands, where you will receive all the advice you need.

Journey of discovery | Published on: 13 June 2013
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