Fjording Ahead

As I drive along the remote west coast of Norway, I'm pretty sure I've arrived at the end of the world. The single-lane blacktop hugs a fjord with towering cliffs on each side; the only other access is by boat. Nestled at the end of the fjord is the small town of Modalen. Population: 350. Aside from its spectacular setting, the sleepy community has two main attractions: hydroelectric power and sand — lots and lots of sand.

This, to say the least, is an economic backwater. But Modalen is no longer feeling isolated. Since the beginning of the year, everyone in town...

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