Video Of The Day: Norway Farming Country

FARMING COUNTRY” from Dvergastein on Vimeo.

I’m already a fan of the photography work of Svenn Dvergastein, so when he sent me a link to one of his newest time-lapse videos, I checked it out. Centered in Norway, in the town of Brunlanes in the county of Vestfold, the images that make up this video capture the essence of the family lowlands in Southern Norway. From milling to farm animals, from crisp blue skies to lapping water, this video gives the viewer the simple opportunity to watch Norwegian farmers at work as they utilize their short warm season to grow produce for the nation. It’s amazing.

Norway Butter Shortage

Who Said Humans Couldn’t Fly? Wingsuit Diver Alexander Polli Defies Gravity

Whoever said humans couldn’t fly has never seen GoPro HD Athlete Alexander Polli wingsuit dive. Polli is one of the top wingsuit divers in the world, spending a majority of his time trying to find the planet’s best base jumping spots and exploring treacherous terrain. This video shows the adventurous traveler peacefully gliding high in the sky above New Zealand, Switzerland and Norway.

On his YouTube page, Polli explains, “This is proximity flying with a wingsuit and proximity flying in tracking gear (tracksuit) without a wingsuit; tracking gear consists of a jacket and pants that inflate with air, which then increases push force when you move your body through the air.”

Proximity flying with a wingsuit is one of the world’s most dangerous sports, and doing the excursion without the wings is even more risky. However, watching the video above, Polli sure makes it look easy. That being said, this stunt should only be done by trained athletes.

Does Nessie’s Norwegian Cousin Lurk In Europe’s Deepest lake?

Nessie, sea serpent
Hornindalsvatnet in Norway is Europe’s deepest lake. So deep, in fact, that’s it’s never been properly explored. Nobody is even sure exactly how deep it is, with the official depth of 514 meters (1,686 feet) being challenged.

Now it appears the unexplored waters may hold a creature unknown to science. A photo has been published in the local newspaper Fjordingen showing what appears to be a serpentine critter undulating along the surface of the lake. Click on the link to see the picture. Although the image has been pirated by pretty much every paranormal website on the Net, we respect copyright here at Gadling. Instead you get this public domain image from Wikimedia Commons of a sea serpent spotted off Cape Anne, Massachusetts, in 1639. They do look similar.

The monster was spotted and photographed by three men on the shore. They say they took their boat out to get a better look but the creature had already disappeared. Their photo appears to show a serpent-like creature in the water. Two and perhaps three loops of its body are visible above the surface of the water, along with a disturbance in the water and a wake. Another disturbance in the water is visible below and to the left.

Could this be a Norwegian Nessie? Will Hornindalsvatnet become a tourist destination for curiosity seekers like Loch Ness? Also, what do you think of this photograph? Real or fake? Tell us what you think in the comments section!

Injured Hiker Sets Remote Norwegian Island On Fire

In the classic 1994 outdoor film “The River Wild,” Meryl Streep’s hapless husband manages to create a signal fire to let his kidnapped wife know that he is still alive and planning on staging a rescue effort. Upon seeing the wafting plumes of smoke emanating from the mountainside, this inevitably leads Streep to attempt to paddle a whitewater raft down “The Gauntlet” in an effort to kill Kevin Bacon. By the end of the day, Streep manages to beguile Bacon and thereby saves the life of her son and is reunited with her smoke-sign savvy husband.

This, of course, is the Hollywood version of signal fires.

Back here in reality, however, occasionally you break your foot while hiking on a remote Norwegian island, lie incapacitated in the woods for three days … and then you set the entire mountainside ablaze.

This was exactly the fortune of an unlucky hiker who recently fell and broke his foot while hiking alone on the Norwegian island of Hillesoy. In an article posted by Outside Online, a 25-year-old Canadian man attempted to ignite a signal fire in an effort to call for help; however, the fire quickly engulfed his tent and led to the blaze spreading across the forested island.

Though the man was rescued by authorities and transported to a nearby hospital, two army helicopters and 20 firefighters were needed to douse the flames, which incinerated much of the island’s foliage. Hillesoy is home to nearly 800 people, and luckily it has not been reported that the blaze affected any of the island’s residents.

While setting a blaze of this magnitude is considered illegal in Norway, considering the circumstances officials claim that the man will not be facing any charges.

[Image credit: andrusdevelopment on Flickr]

Svalbard, Norway On A Budget

svalbard on a budget

It’s impossible to travel to Svalbard on a budget according to an orthodox definition of budget travel. The standard shoestring repertoire (student train passes, cheap fast food or street food, sleeping in train stations or parks) is next to impossible to carry out in this arctic Norwegian territory.

You could come to Svalbard with your own gear and attempt to camp in the wilderness, but the supplies you’d need to survive would exceed your garden-variety tent and basic provisioning by a mile. You’d need to shell out a lot of money in advance to obtain the appropriate gear, and you’d also need to rent a rifle on the island as protection against a possible polar bear attack.

In short, Svalbard is simply too expensive to be a budget destination. It’s a territory, after all, of Norway, a rich country with high taxes. In addition, Svalbard is very remote, and consumer goods have to be shipped in at great cost. That relatively cheap supermarket yogurt on the mainland? Not quite so cheap on Svalbard.

While there is no question that the territory is not a budget destination, it can be finessed at a fraction of the average daily tourist spend. Here are five tips for keeping costs reasonable.1. First of all, don’t discount the truly exotic, exciting things that are absolutely free to observe: the landscape; wandering reindeer, wary but clearly not terrified of humans; the cultural center Kulturhuset; the gallery and art and handicrafts center in Nybyen; and the remains of earlier mining activities strewn about Longyearbyen.

2. Stay at Gjestehuset 102 in Nybyen, just up the hill from Longyearbyen. Double rooms begin at 750 NOK ($125) October-February and 890 NOK ($149) the rest of the year; dorm rooms begin at 300 NOK ($50) per bed in low season and 320 NOK ($54) in high season. The guesthouse is a lively place, with an interesting smattering of guests – extreme skiers, wildlife photographers, scientists, friends and family of residents and average tourists. The nightly rate includes breakfast. Another inexpensive option is Mary Ann’s Polarigg, with rates comparable to 102’s rates. There’s also a campsite, Longyearbyen Camping, open March through September. It charges between 100 NOK ($17) and 150 NOK ($25) per night per person.

3. Shop at the supermarket for food. Barring that, eat dinner early. Huset, the territory’s top restaurant, operates a casual cafe that offers an early-bird special. It costs just 96 NOK ($16), a mind-bogglingly inexpensive amount in these parts. It’s an all-you-can-eat situation to boot, which makes it an even better deal.

4. Book a relatively inexpensive tour. An informative city tour by taxi takes in most of Longyearbyen’s highlights. Booked through 102’s tour arm Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions, it costs 275 NOK ($46). Before winter and well into the spring there’s the thrilling option of an ice cave tour for 730 NOK ($122), also booked through Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions. The tour involves climbing a glacier in snowshoes and rappelling into a narrow ice cave.

5. Drink beer. This won’t actually save you money, but it’s surprising and noteworthy how cheap alcoholic drinks are on Svalbard. Norway’s sky-high alcohol taxes don’t apply here. As a result a single beer in Longyearbyen is about half the price of a single beer in Oslo.