|Natural phenomena and engineering skills are part of the wide range of this year's tourist stamps, and the most spectacular of the natural phenomena is surely the Northern Lights (Aurora borealis).
This occurs when positively and negatively charged particles from the sun are trapped by the earth's magnetic field and enter its atmosphere, where they collide with neutral gaseous particles. The gas is ionized and acquires extra energy which it then loses by emitting light. This phenomenon is strongest around the earth's magnetic poles, and in the southern hemisphere is called the Southern Lights. The photo on the stamp was taken from Andoya in Nordland.
Leaving the sky over Andoya, we move on to the rocky shores of Vagsoy in the county of Sogn og Fjordane, the home of Kannesteinen - the Pot Rock. The sea and waves have been beating against this rock for thousands of years, skillfully sculpting it into its present shape. This 3-metre high rock is a very popular and easily accessible tourist attraction.
Keeping to the coastline but moving southwards, we come to J?ren in Rogaland and to Revtangen, which is internationally known for its rich birdlife. Many migrating birds follow the J?ren shoreline on
their way north in the spring and south in the autumn. Revtangen is their first stop after crossing the Atlantic. More than 300 species have been registered in the area, making it one of the richest in bird species in Norway.
From J?ren we journey north again to the Stotta Fjord in the district of Meloy in Nordland. From the dis-tinctive Kunna peninsula, the fjord stretches southwest towards Gasv?r. On the west side of the fjord lies Stott-v?r and the hamlet of Stott with about 40 year-round residents. They are not alone, however. Stottv?r is located in the Saltfjell national park, where large flocks of reindeer graze.
The last of this year's tourist stamps features the Bergen Line between Oslo and Bergen, which is a hundred years old this year. The decision to start building this railway came in 1894 after years of discussion about possible routes. Its construction presented great challenges as the track would run through high-lying inhospitable areas with no roads, where the snow lies several metres deep in the winter. The work on the 5311-metre long Gravhals
Tunnel was particularly difficult and it took six years working three shifts a week to complete. Today, the Bergen Line is 527 kilometres long. The highest station on the line is Finse, 1222 metres above sea level. Steam locomotives were used until 1957. Then diesel locomotives took over until the line was electrified in 1964.