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Enigmatic ice world's unexpected warm embrace

By Sindy Chan | China Daily | Updated: 2013-12-08 07:07

Enigmatic ice world's unexpected warm embrace

[Photo by Sindy Chan / For China Daily]

"A taste of Norway" is our first ashore excursion and it begins at Urke, where life is like a poem, as described in the village leaflet: "We are approximately 53 people in Urke, 10 children, 31 adults and 12 older Urke-people. In addition we have 20-plus cabin owners There are 14 people who work here The market garden gives us fresh tomatoes and vegetables. The fjord provides fish. In the Urke Valley, goats and sheep graze freely. The local power plant gives us electricity. If we need more, we take a trip to Orsta or Alesund. But most of all, we like to be self-sufficient in Urke Enjoy the view and good life in Urke."

Nestled in Norway's narrowest valley, Norangsdalen, in the translucent beryl-color water of Lyngstol Lake, we are led to discover some stone structures remain from ancient settlements of the region.

In the cradle of the towering Sunnmorsalpene Mountains, we pay a visit to historic Hotel Union Oye from 1891 and get to taste hearty local lamb broth in the hotel's authentic rooms.

The Svartisen, Norway's second largest glacier, is another world to me as a visitor from the subtropics. With a cup of hot coffee, I lose myself in the glacier's purity, the ice-blue landscape and its reflection on the lake. Our guide explains to us in the simplest terms how nature's chisel shaped this enigmatic ice world through millions of years.

"Years ago, the lake was part of the glacier," our guide says. "Glacier recession is one of the ways the earth is talking to us."

On our return along the coast of Helgeland to the ship at Bodo, we see Europe's largest predatory bird, a sea eagle, surfing the sky. I recall I read at Torquay's Living Coasts Zoo and Aquarium: "The great auk, gone forever like the dodo Extinction is forever. Endangered means we still have time."

Related: History of Bergen

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