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Who knew the Arctic Circle could be so toasty?
The Norwegian island of Sandhornøya is now home to a massive sauna that is being billed as the world's largest. Dubbed The Agora, the pyramid-shaped sauna can accommodate about 100 folks looking to break a sweat amid breathtaking views; its base-to-peak glass wall lets towel-draped tourists enjoy vistas of mountain landscape and the Arctic Sea horizon. The sauna is also used as an auditorium for cultural events, reports The Telegraph UK, and it's part of a larger mobile art project, SALT, that has set up a small compound of creative facilities on a remote oceanside perch about an hour's drive from Bodø Airport.
The SALT structures are built in the shape of traditional fish racks, and also include The Arctic Pyramid, an art exhibition space, Gildehallen, a mammoth performance hall-slash-nightclub, a cafe and a restaurant. Overnight guests can opt to rent tents and caravans, or up the ante to stay in beachside Njalla, movable house-tent hybrids that come equipped with beds, wood burns, and a glass ceiling for ultimate star gazing potential. Those constellations overhead will soon be shifting. After it wraps up its Norway engagement in 2016, SALT plans to stage its project in other northern nations like Scotland, Greenland and Russia.
It's gonna make you sweat. Sweet.
Vikings in York? Who goes to the historical, quintessential British town to experience… Norway? Well, to be fair, the vikings dominated Britain a millennium ago, and Jorvik, modern day York, was among the vikings’ largest cities—and if they weren’t defeated by by the Anglo-Saxons a certain city might be called “New Jorvik.”
Although many Brits blame the vikings for pillaging, stealing their women and supposedly burning down London Bridge (none of which are true), York celebrates their viking heritage and each year holds a viking festival at the city-famous Jorvik Viking Center, which you can visit any time of the year.
We recently attended the festival (₤10 admittance to the Viking Center or ₤18 to participate in all city-wide attractions), and here’s what we loved:
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If you've ever googled "how to get a job where I just travel all the time," listen up. Norwayyes, the whole countryis in need of someone who can take two weeks this summer to travel around their country, take pictures of it, and otherwise blog about it.
The position is officially that of VisitNorway Photojournalist, and the requirements are simple:
· Enjoy new cultures
· Live and breathe outdoor activities
· Love photography
· Be available to travel in Norway for two weeks
A round of applause for Norway.
Not only has the Scandinavian country put its famous design talent to work reworking their paper money, but they've also just concluded an open competition to revamp the look of Norwegian passports.
The winner? Olso studio Neue, whose striking, Scandi minimalist modern exterior and surprise interior won over the judges.
Unlike most European countries where you're expected to stop at old churches, fancy art galleries, and popular historical places, in Norway you venture elsewhere. You venture away from the city, away from any Monet paintings or notion of traffic.
In Norway, you sequester yourself in nature, exploring fjords, mountains, glaciers, and even polar bears. Because Norway’s scenery is insanely popular, inspiring films like Frozen and even finding itself regularly on the front pages of websites around the world. So what are these natural spots?
Last year, we ran a week-long special on the Northern Lights, publishing stories on what they are and how to take photos of them. We also, in spite of those photography tips, wrote a controversial piece about why we recommend keeping your camera at home when you go out hunting for the Lights.
Above all, though, we laid out a plan for what to eat and drink while you wait, because the Northern Lights are fickle at best, and have a knack for being extremely elusive. That is why, despite being one of the most amazing spectacles on the planet, many people are hesitant about committing their limited time and money to go in search of them.
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We’ve said our piece about how we think you shouldn’t even attempt to take photos of the Northern Lights until your second time around, but as travel writers, we do understand the urge to capture the moment. Below, we’ve put together a few tips on how to increase your chances of taking a good shot.
For those of you who either a) don’t have a sophisticated enough camera or b) agree that a camera should not get in the way of experiencing the moment, we have an alternative idea for you: Let someone else take the photo.
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The Northern Lights are obviously a big draw for visitors to the arctic, but some of you might be wondering why anyone would want to spend their hard-earned money to endure subzero temperatures and track down something that is in no way guaranteed. We totally get that, but we think there's a bigger picture of braving the cold, whether it's to Norway, Sweden, Alaska, Canada, or Finland. Here are five reasons other than the Aurora Borealis to fly north in the winter:
Shorter Days and Epic Sunsets
Again, we know that first part sounds like a bad thing off the bat, but you won't hear anyone who has bore witness to the colors in the arctic sky complaining. Various shades of blue mix with pink, purple, red, orange, and even green to put on a show unlike anything seen at lower latitudes. It more than makes up for the extra hours of darkness, and seeing the sun rise at 10am and set at 2pm is a pretty novel experience that tells well over happy hour upon your return.
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Our assistant editor, Will (aka Wake), has been busy on the trail of the Northern Lights in Norway. Below, he describes his experience, along with his reasoning for why he didn’t bring along his camera.
After a few nights of anticipation and washing down cod chips with Northern Lights beer, I finally saw the Polar Lights in all their glory about an hour outside of Tromso in the Arctic Circle. There are a lot of words to describe the evening: Powerful. Incredible. Fascinating. Colorful. Inspiring.
Let's pick up where we left off yesterday. Cod is the fish to be had in Norway, and locals eat it in numerous ways, from dried chips to fresh-caught fillets. The most interesting of the variations dates back to the Viking Age, when sailors would dry out the whole fish on giant racks and rehydrate it months, sometimes years later.
The Viking Age is a mystery to those in the United States, but such is the past of the Scandinavian countries, specifically Norway and Sweden. As seafaring people, the Vikings were just like us: They wanted, and needed, to travel light.
We couldn't believe it until we had it in our hands, the dried fish literally as light as a feather, hollow to the point that you doubted there was any meat on it in the first place. It looked and felt far from edible, but this fish served as the food source for the great Viking ships as they took to the seas. Norway's climate in the spring is what makes it possible, the salty location by the sea allowing the fish to dry out over the course of seven days through a natural curing process without spoiling.
We’re in the arctic of Norway, waiting for the Northern Lights to come out to play. As we told you yesterday, predicting if, when, or where they will appear is spotty, so the only thing to do is kick back and let the anticipation build. We’ll break down some individual adventures in specific towns in a future post, but for now, let’s run down a few Norwegian treats that will help keep your spirits high in the Arctic Circle:
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It starts with an explosion on the surface of the sun.
Huge amounts of energy are released and sent barreling towards Earth, where the particles enter our planet's atmosphere and collide with its magnetic field. When the solar storm is strong enough, the result of this interaction is what we have come to know as the Northern Lights. But as we're learning this week, it is extremely difficult for anyone to predict if, when, and where you'll be able to see them, as evidenced by all the false alarms across North America this weekend.