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The Far North

The far north of Europe is actually pretty fortunate regarding the weather. The reason being the Gulf stream which makes it possible to cultivate even fruits around the Norwegian fjords (pictures 2, 6). Though if you go uphill from the fjords your surroundings change pretty quickly and you will experience marvellous but very alien ice deserts like the Hardangervidda (picture 1). That’s planet Hoth from Star Wars Episode V by the way – the scenes were shot there. One of the biggest and historically most important towns in the far north of Europe is Bergen at the North Sea. For centuries it was an important port and a center of commerce, especially regarding the trade with fish. Today it is a lovely student town with a lot of culture and museums (pictures 3, 4 and 5).

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Land of the Vikings

With all advantages of modernity living in the far north is still full of challenges. The deep fjords and steep surrounding hills make it difficult to reach the hinterland, that’s why Norway is investing a lot of money in tunnels and bridges to connect also the most remote village to the urban centers of the country. While in summer the days are long, in winter the nights are never ending as well. But the fjords also have their advantages, that’s why people settled here already many thousand years ago and that’s also why the Vikings as a society flourished in the middle ages. First and foremost the fjord land is very fertile, even fruits and vegetables can grow here. We speak about a country which is situated as far in the north as Canada. The reason for the favorable climate is the gulf stream, which makes northern Europe unusual warm. Also the fjords were perfectly secured against intruders and allowed for remote but also secure villages. At the same time the location of these settlements made it necessary to develop ships and make them better. It is no coincidence that the Vikings were the first European people to set foot in America.

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Undredal at the Nærøyfjord

Undredal is a small village situated at the majestic Nærøyfjord in Western Norway. Up until 1988 the remote settlement was accessible solely by water. Nonetheless people used to live here for centuries, cultivating the rich soil and living off sheep herding. It is famous for a delicious kind of cheese named Geinost, consisting of goat milk. Also in Undredal you can find the smallest Viking church in whole of Norway, it has only forty seats (picture 6).

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