Norwegian national day

17 May 2019

Gratulerer med dagen! Today is Norwegian national day, or more specifically, Constitution day. Norway received its independence from Sweden in 1905.

Over the last few months, several of our customers have been preparing for tours in Scandinavia, and especially Norway. The coastal steamer, known as the Hurtigruten, is very popular, and it's easy to see why. That's my daughter next to the M/S Nordlys, which was just approaching Kirkenes.

Norway's scenery regularly ranks as 11 out of ten, especially along the West coast, with its islands and fjords.

My personal favourite spot is called Aurlandsvangen, a small town near Flåm. There's a viewing platform up the mountain a way called Stegastein that looks over the Aurlandsfjord. I think it's the world's most beautiful spot. Check out the picture and prove me wrong.

In order to enjoy the details of the scenery without having to lug heavy binoculars around, our customers have been buying compact binoculars. Not great for astronomy, these small instruments are designed to fit in a small backpack or handbag. They're great for scenery and OK for bird watching during the day, but of course in the Arctic Summer that's pretty much all the time.

A lot of these travel binoculars use inverted Porro prisms, meaning the two front lenses are closer together than your eyes. This tends to limit the 3-D effect the binoculars give you, but Porro prisms tend to be brighter than roof prisms.

Compact binoculars also come as roof prisms, so have a "straight through" look. These are therefore a little smaller than the Porro designs.

Either one will get you a bit closer to the scenery, but don't forget to sit back and allow the entirety to envelop you. We found that being in a fjord, surrounded by huge mountains is a very different feel to Australia's wide flat outback.

God tur!