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Back from Cooler Climes

July 12, 2012

Worldly Birders! I’ve just returned from Paradise (aka: a trip to Norway, which included venturing to the Lofoten Islands, an archipelago north of the Arctic circle)! The trip also included inordinate amounts of pickled herring, smoked salmon, cinnamon buns, cardamom buns and plenty of fabulous coffee — it turns out Norway is the largest consumer of coffee in Europe (information courtesy Lonely Planet guide, which I think I’ve memorized, including all of their jokes, alas)!

Midnight sun (literally — photo taken at 12:15 am) in Henningsvaer, Lofoten Islands (Norway).

Yes, people, that is honest to goodness sun in the sky! And it’s after midnight! It felt both surreal and extraordinary, and for three days sleep seemed superfluous. An odd, otherworldly, colossally disorienting, yet stunning landscape. Apparently (again, I’m channeling Lonely Planet here, so apologies for factual misdemeanors) this is the land fata morgana; since the air is rarefied up at the 68th parallel, fabulous mirages that occur on the horizon and on our last day, I think I saw one. One minute, there was a mountain in front of me, the next minute it was further back, and a few minutes later it had blended into another illuminated mountain. We tried to capture it on camera:

The appearing, reappearing, disappearing magic mountain (11:30 pm, Henningsvaer, Norway)

I’m not at all exaggerating when I say the place was unreal. And you see that water? It’s about 5 degrees Celcius, and my husband decided it was the perfect temperature for swimming! There was much much more, and I’ll be posting more photos from our trip as I readjust to living in a world where the day ends at 9pm and nights happen to be dark.

On the bird front, we saw gulls galore, and for those of you who are Gull aficionados, you’ll be happy to know that Lofoten has a colony of Kittiwakes! At this point, I couldn’t really tell you what a Kittiwake looks like, but I know it’s a big deal in Southern Ontario (and distinctly remember trying to pick one out in a swarm of other gull-like creatures and giving up and wishing I could fast-forward the freezing cold morning…). But, in all honesty, I was too entranced by the northern light and too busy screaming OH MY GOODNESS THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE ON EARTH to notice any birdy particulars. Sorry folks, that’s the effect the North has on me.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. diana permalink
    July 13, 2012 11:14 am

    These pictures are thrilling! Look forward to seeing more. While you were gone, this is all you missed: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/27/scanning-the-central-park-sky-with-jonathan-franzen/ That, and some annoying weather. Welcome home!

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