Europe, France, Travel

France: Top 11 Things To See & Do in Paris

Bonjour! I’m currently sat at home enjoying my seriously high-brow meal of pasta and scrambled eggs trying to process the fact that EVERYTHING IS CHANGING OH  MY GOD HELP. UNIVERSITY IS HARD. Soooo this is not a long text about my experience, but rather a somewhat (hopefully) helpful list of the top 11 things I saw in Paris when I visited earlier this year. I spent the week of my birthday in Paris with my Mamma on our first girls trip in years and we had the best time together. Not only did we get to explore Paris and eat nutella  crêpes for every meal, but I also got to spend my actual birthday in Disneland Paris, fulfilling a lifelong dream. It was a magical, albeit slightly cold, trip. I considered writing a more descriptive blogpost about the experience, but decided that I couldn’t adequately portray it in words so here, in no particular order, are 11 Things I personally experienced in Paris that all tourists and travellers also should in a handy and short listicle form 🙂

1: Montmartre
Monmartre is a neighbourhood in Paris located on, and around, the highest point in the city. It’s considered an old artisan neighbourhood that during its glory days hosted many artists, craftsmen and musicians. In the Montmartre area the famous cabarets  Moulin Rouge and the old Le Chat Noir are located. The streets of Montmartre are full with artists selling their art, colourful buildings and the area has a very distinct feeling to it – colourful and exciting. There was just so much to look at that we spent an entire day exploring the culture, tasting chocolate from chocolatiers, visiting the Sacré-Cœur basilica and wandering the streets of this iconic area.

2: The  Sacré-Cœur Basilica

While wandering the cobblestone streets of Montmartre make sure to head to the very top of the hill and visit the La Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. This area in front of the basilica offers a brilliant view over Paris and for 8€ you can walk up to the top of the basilica, following some scarily narrow stairs to an amazing 360 degree view of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower. The visit to the top of the basilica was one of the highlights of the trip for me!

3:The Eiffel Tower

Now, I don’t really need to say anything about this staple in Paris, but I will say this: Get there early in the morning to avoid queuing for hours, visit all the levels (it is well worth the price), book your tickets online and go on a sunny day. We visited Paris during what has gone down in history as the most air-polluted week of 2015, which meant that while we got the perk of free public transport, we also experienced a lot smog and fog. The view from the tower was still beautiful and the construction awe-inspiring, but I am sure it would have been even more spectacular if we could see more of the city.


4: The Trocadero

While in the Eiffel Tower area why not head over to the Trocadero! I don’t really know how to describe what the Trocadero is exactly, but basically it’s this really cool building/fountain/garden area vis-a-vis the Tour De Eiffel that hosts a museum and the Paris Aquarium. The reason you should visit the Trocadero however is that  from the top of Trocadro you will find one of the best views in town of the Eiffel Tower  – especially beautiful  during the magical sunset hours.

5:The River Seine
When navigating the stunning architecture, narrow streets and  crowded markets there is one thing you can’t possibly miss: The Seine. Now, you may not think about the Seine when you cross it, but you will surely notice the bridges you will cross, often famous, often impressive architectural and historical monuments (Pont Alexandre II and Pont Neuf being two examples of this). If there is one thing you should do in Paris it’s walk the streets along the Seine and the weather is good, pack a little picnic and walk along the river and find a nice spot to sit and people watch. It won’t be difficult to find a little peace and quiet in a bustling city scene.

“There is but one Paris and however hard living may be here, and if it became worse and harder even—the French air clears up the brain and does good—a world of good.”

― Vincent van Gogh

6:Musee du Louvre

You can’t visit Paris and not head into a few of the world-known museums in the city. There are many to choose from, but the Musée du Louvre is one of the most popular ones. Even if you don’t want to go inside the museum itself, the building that hosts the museum and the glass pyramids outside are definitely worth viewing. The main museum area is located next to the Seine as well, so I recommend planning out a route along the Seine and see a couple of museums as well as the Notre-Dame while you are in the area.

7: The Notre-Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame, famous for it’s gothic arcitecture and grandiose  windows, is also a must-see. The build started in the 1100s and was finished more than two centuries later and has since then been rebuilt and expanded regularly .You can queue to go to the top of the tower, but we opted to do that in the  Sacré-Cœur basilica instead and just popped into the Notre-Dame for a quick visit. However, during our little peak into the church we stumbled upon a service and though we couldn’t understand any of the prayers, we did enjoy the operatic singers immensely and had a lovely experience.

8:Quartier Latin
Speaking of amazing smells and adorable streets, ever heard of the latin quarter of Paris in the area around the Sorbonne Univeristy? Yum! Not too far away from Notre-Dame this lively neighborhood is packed to the brim with cute cafés, exciting food from all over the world, street markets and street artists. The cobblestone streets and eclectic buildings are reminiscent of its former bohemian golden age and  the latin quarter is also home to the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore.  It doesn’t take much to get off the tourist path in this area either so set off some time to explore. Put your map in your backpack and get lost on purpose in this vibrant and authentic feeling part of Paris.

Transport tip: When in Paris get a weekly ticket or day tickets to the metro and the RER trains. This offers you free access to pretty much all of Paris and will be cheaper than taking taxis and easier to navigate than buses. With a RER train you can also travel cheaply to Versailles, Disneland Paris and a number of other places way outside of the city.

9:Arc de Triomphe
This one  we just sort of did to check it off the list. It’s exactly like it looks like in the photos. At the very top of Champs-Élysées (which you should also walk down)  this monument is worth taking a photo of, before heading down towards the more noteworthy Grand Palais and the Petite Palais.

10: Jardin du Luxembourg

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11: Versailles
On one of our last days we visited the Chateau de Versailles. Travel like the locals do and take a metro train out to the outskirts of Versailles, enjoying lovely views of the French  countryside on your way.  Centuries of French history and famous figures have resided in the palace, most famously  Marie Antoinette who was the last Queen of the French, married to King Louis XVI, but centuries of French kings have put their mark on the palace and learning all about it was well worth the ticket price . From the moment you enter the property you sense the grandeur of it all, the golden gates inviting you into the palace and to an absolutely mind-blowing garden.  The Mirror Hall is also spectacular!

These are just some of the things we saw while touring the city of love, but there are so many museums to visit, catacombs, there’s a lovely aquarium, there’s Champs-Elysée and the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, Mont Parnasse, Moulin Rouge and more!  We saw a lot in 5 days, but not nearly enough. I think you could live in Paris and never see all of it or discover all of it’s history. I want to go back and see all the things I haven’t seen at some point and I want to see more of France, maybe Nice and Marseille and the Borduox region eventually.

What other must-see things do you know of in Paris? Tips for my next trip are very welcome! Xxx

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Europe, Sweden, Travel

10 Things To See & Do In Stockholm

Thought I would make a quick list over must-sees in Stockholm, all of which I have personally experienced. Some of these I did during the my recent trip and some of them I did during my New Year’s trip last year. Stockholm is very different in summer than in winter and personally I may have preferred it in winter time due to the amazing weather we were treated to, but either way it’s a beautiful city. More on the winter trip later! Off we go with the listicle!

1: Vasa Museum
The Vasa Ship museum was just named the 9th best museum in the world and showcases a ship that sunk just after it set off from the Stockholm harbour way way back when. THe museum has a fascinating display of facial reconstructions and histories of the people who were on board the ship, loads of artifacts and a very informative naval war section. What a treat for the curious mind!

2: Djurgården
Parks, nature and picnic places oh my! If the weather is good I highly recommend heading out past the museum area (you will understand what I mean about this if you look up the biggest museums in town on  a map) and visit the green (or white depending on the season) part of Djurgården. There are lovely walking paths great for a stroll that also gives you a nice view over Stockholm harbour and amazing thinking spots 🙂


3: ABBA Museum
Mamma Mia, here I go again! What a fun afternoon this was! Slightly over priced, but well worth a visit if you’re an ABBA fan, and frankly, how can you visit Stockholm and not be at least a little curious about this world-wide sensation? Colourful displays and beautiful interactive dancefloors/quizzes/music players makes the ABBA museum  a must-do!

4:Kungliga Operan
After seeing one opera and one ballet in what is possibly one of the most beautiful rooms I have ever been in I can honestly say I’ve seen the light. Literally: Kungliga Operan has one of the biggest chandeliers I’ve ever. The tickets come at reasonable prices in all price classes and there are a number of different shows playing at any time throughout the year so no matter the time you visit and no matter your budget   you can experience a show like no other.

5:Katarinahissen
Looking for a great view? Take the Tunnelbana to Slussen, then walk up the hill behind the station. After a number of steps up you will get one of the best views in town – and it’s free!
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6:Monteliusvägen
Speaking of great views, Monteliusvägen is a 500 -ish meter long walking path across the lake from the City Hall, Lake Mälaren and Riddarholmen and offers spectacular opportunities for evening and sunset photography. Also completely free, but completely fabulous.


7: Boat Sightseeing In The Archipelago
Technically I only went for a short ferry ride between some of the most central islands while I was in Stockholm, but can I recommend seeing The Venice of The North by boat. Stockholm is made up by islands and if you venture outside the main islands you can experience beautiful scandinavian nature. Particularly good during the summer season.

8: Gamla Stan
Oh what can I say about Gamla Stan other than GO SEE THIS. Yes, it’s full of tourists and yes, the cafés are over priced, but why are you even in Stockholm if you’re not going to see Old Town? With stunning architecture and more colours on the buildings than you can count, this cute area is made for photo ops and evening strolls. The narrow streets of Gamla Stan are lit up by fairy lights at night, what could be more romantic?


9: IKEA

Now this is on the list because 1 – the largest IKEA in Sweden is in Stockholm and well worth a visit – and 2 – the refillable drinks are only 10 kronor  and the meatballs are dead cheap and a tasty as hell. Lunch idea? I think yes.

10: Drottningholm Palace
Drottningholm Palace is on the UNESCO World Heritage list and well worth a visit. A picnic in between the  endless gardens and lively fountains is one idea. A jog around the palace grounds is another. A tour of the building a third and what about watching those fetching young guards during the changing of the guards? Yes, yes, yes and yes 😉

Any other things you think should be on this list aka that I should do while I’m there? Xxx

Europe, Sweden, Travel, Youtube

VIDEO: Stockholm Snapshots

It’s been a lovely week and I don’t want to leave the Venice of the North, but as you read this I’m already on my way back to British soil. There will be more posts about Stockholm coming up, but these past few days I have chosen to focus on spending time with Kjære and taking in the city, not really wanting to hunker down in front of the Mac for any period of time. You’ll find that most often than not, when I travel I don’t blog, but afterwards I blog more than I probably should 😛 While I’ve been here I have filmed some bits and clips when I remembered to and last night I did a quick little edit on this short snapshot video from my trip and here it is! What an absolutely gorgeous city Stockholm is! Well worth a visit! Xxx

Europe, Sweden, Travel

Hej hej, Stockholm!

It’s an overcast, but warm Monday here in Stockholm and while Kjære is preparing for his lecture I though I would post a quick post about a most amazing weekend 🙂

I arrived at Stockholm Arlanda Airport on Friday afternoon and after dropping off my luggage we headed out for a quick explore and some food. We managed to catch the sunset from Söder Mälarstrand and Monteliusvägen, one of the best viewpoints in the city. You get there by heading to Mariatorget Tunnelbana station, then walk for about 5 minutes. Watching the sun set, then the city lights slowly switch on like stars being born in the far away sky was a moment I will never forget.


After watching the sunset we headed  to Hornsgatan a couple of minutes away and the Stora Vikingen: Röde Orm Italian Restaurant. With fancy iPad menus and reasonably priced food this cute little restaurant is well away from the tourist areas and good for students!

Transport Tip: While visiting Stockholm you should consider getting a SL transport card as it gives you unlimited travel on the Pendeltåg (Commuter Trains), Tunnelbana (Metro) and buses. While it’s easy to get around Stockholm by foot and a gorgeous city to walk, if you’re here for a long time , the transport card is a must! You can get them at any Pressbyrån kiosks.

As it happens it was also our 1 year anniversary this past weekend  and as we tend to give gifts that are experience based,  we both ended up surprising the other with almost the same thing. I knew he had always wanted to go see an opera, and he knew that I’ve always wanted to see a proper ballet and we both got tickets to see shows at the Kungliga Operan aka the Stockholm Royal Opera.  On Saturday we saw Madama Butterfly, which Kjære loved and yesterday we saw the Raymonda ballet, which I absolutely fell in love with. The Royal Opera has 50% off tickets for students and for 26 years and under so you can get a really nice deal on tickets if you have the time to go, but do book in advance if you can as they get fully booked quickly!


Before and after the shows on both Saturday and Sunday we walked around the area close to the opera. Stockholm is filled to the brim with beautiful architecture, sometimes reminiscent of Amsterdam, most often wholly unique.

Must See Tip: Gamlastan, or “Old Town” in Stockholm is a definite must-see for anyone visiting the Swedish capital, whether only for a few hours or for longer. During December and Christmas there is also a wonderful Christmas market in Stortorget, the main square in Gamlastan, that’s well worth a visit.

A quick metro ride away from Stockholm Central Station is Gamlastan. The streets of this area are an iconic part of Stockholm that attracts both tourists and locals alike.  It’s autumn and the leaves are falling in the city so we sat down in the main square in Gamlastan to take in the atmosphere and warm up with  a drink each. The glorious chocolate concoction below being mine. Who needs Starbucks when you can sit outside and breathe in the fresh Swedish air in a quaint little coffee shop in colourful Gamlastan?

It’s been a lovely weekend and during this next week I’ll be further exploring the city while Kjære is in uni as well as just enjoying my last few days of freedom before university once again takes up all my time and energy. I can’t wait to see more!

Have a good day, or as they would say here: Ha en bra dag! Xxx

2015, Europe, France, Travel

Best 21st Birthday Ever In Disneyland Paris

As I mentioned in a previous post (before the Northern Norway Mini Adventure )I have been thinking about what I want to do travel wise during the first few months of 2016. I’ve been thinking about giving myself another city break for my 22nd birthday If I can afford it and considering my options on that front made me want to tell you guys about how I celebrated my 21st birthday.  Last year I was lucky enough  that I got to go to Paris with my Mamma!

We planned it so that I got to spend my actual birthday  in Disneyland Paris as well, which is a life long dream of mine. Any birthday really, and any Disney park. I just desperately wanted to visit one of the parks. It was a first  for me and while 21 might be a little too old to drag your Mum with you to the Merchandise Machine that is Disney… well, when the opportunity arose I couldn’t resist!

We bought tickets that included transport from Paris city centre in the morning and back in the evening and off we were! As it was in March it was low season and the tickets were cheaper than they are during the summer and in spring time, but it was aslo very very cold outside.

We had about 12 hours to spend in the park in addition to the transport time of almost two hours both ways, so it was a long day, but it was also an amazing day. If we had had the time I think we would have gone two days to give us more time to queue for rides and so on, but we had a packed schedule of sightseeing the city, visiting the Palace in Versaille and only stayed for a day in the park. Looking back I’m amazed at how much we managed to cram in. We visited every part of the park (Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Discoveryland and Mainstreet U.S.A +  Studio 1) but I think my favourite was Adventureland, closely followed by Fantasyland.

In Frontierland we went on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster ride, which scared me to death, but also made me squeal with nervous excitement. I’m not big on roller coasters, but it was definitely worth the wait! Exploring caves and old shipwrecks and climbing to the top of a fake tree named La Cabane des Robinsons in Adventureland was definitely one of the highlights of the day for me as I’m an adventure fan. The pirates ship ride was also brilliant 🙂 I don’t reallly have to explain why I liked  Fantasyland do I? It was pink, had a Maze, and a giant princess castle. What more could a girl want?

Towards the end of the day we were both tired, I was cranky due to lack of food – popcorn doesn’t really do anything to fill you up 😛 We considered taking one of the local trains that run from outside the park back into the city, but as we knew it would be the only time either of us would probably go there we ended up buying yet another batch of popcorn and waited to watch the parade in the afternoon.  When it began we heard this song about 10 times:

I felt a bit sorry for the actors as it drove me crazy after the third time and they do this every day for months at the time. The kids were ecstactic however, and I could see that the artists were feeding off of the energy of the crowd – which there was a lot of!

All in all it was one of the longest, most tiring and most entertaining days I’ve had in a while. I’m sure I would have enjoyed it even more if I had been a child, but even as a (cough technically cough) grownup I had a blast. I didn’t have time to queue for a character meet-up, but spending the day with the woman who raised me and taught me to love Disney was more than enough. I wish they had more Frozen merch, however, but the park in Paris is very Ratatouille focused, for obvious reasons. I did make a little friend while browsing the teddy bear isle though! How cute is he?! Xxx

Europe, norway, Travel

Norway: Midnight Sun Camping

It’s Tuesday night  and I’m back at work after an amazing two weeks With @SwedCar9592. He left at 3.30 am on Sunday night/Monday morning and I can’t describe how sad I am to see him go and how much I miss him already. It’s been truly wonderful and I can’t wait to see him again after he’s moved into his flat in Stockholm and settled into his year abroad.

After our brief visit to the Fisherman’s Village of Nyksund we packed our bags and went camping in a place called Bleik in the municipality of Andøy. To get to Bleik we first had to take the bus from Sortland to Andenes then wait around for a while before jumping on a local bus to Bleik. It says something about how small the place is that only the two of us and a couple from Belgium were on the bus, all four of us going to the same camping site.  Bleik is a village along the National Tourist Route Andøy and is located along one of Norway’s longest white sand beaches (there are currently three beaches all trying to claim that title, but no official measurments have ever been done). By the time we made it to Midnattsol Camping, which was to be our home for the next two days, the sun was already setting and after putting up our tent and eating we caught the cloudy sunset 🙂

After a nice long lie in in a tent we woke up to a beautiful day. I finished reading my book (Jane Eyre = it was brilliant, as one could expect), we played cards, discussed topics of no importance, laughed and lounged in our tents. With no internet to speak of and no laptops we did what campers are supposed to do and enjoyed some offline time. Okay, so he enjoyed some offline time. For me it felt like I was cut off from the world and my inability to check Facebook every 15 minutes slowly drove me mad. We went for a walk along the beach after lunch and stopped several places along the way to enjoy the sun that graced us with her presence occasionally. On one of the stops we ended up building dams in the sand for a good hour, trying to block a little stream of water for no apparent reason other than that playing in the sand is fun 😛 Our day in Bleik was full of moments and views I will never forget. The freedom feeling was overwhelming. It didn’t hurt that we watched the sunset from the beach that night. It was clear and colourful and spectacular, contrasting the stormy feeling of the sunset from the night before, but still taking my breath away.

During the night our tent almost blew away with us in it due to Atlantic wind and we didn’t sleep much, but in the morning we  dragged ourselves down to Bleik harbour to participate in what turned out to be a great experience. A couple of weeks before I had booked us in on a puffin safari with (*cough*) Puffin Safari and they took us out to a bird island (and nature reserve) where we got to see puffin, sea eagle, black cormorants and a host of other sea birds that I don’t remember the name of but do remember were feisty.  My phone camera couldn’t catch the birds properly and after a few failed attempt I gave up watching them through the lens and sat down to take it all in with no screen between me and this untouched piece of nature. The smaller sea birds dove and cawed and fought over fish while the eagles soared high above, watching over their kingdom. The birds were free and fabulous, thriving in their non-human habitat. It was a wonderful, albeit a little short, meeting with mother nature.

I’ll leave you today with this little clip I posted on instagram while in Bleik. There are few things as peaceful and relaxing as the sights and sounds of waves breaking on the shore. Goodnight! Xxx

Europe, norway, Travel

The Old Fisherman’s Village of Nyksund

The good weather has abandoned us completely and some our our more outdoorsy activities have been postponed, but we still managed to squeeze in a visit to the old fisherman’s village of Nyksund yesterday. Nyksund was a ghost village for years, and still feels a little eerie. Abandoned buildings in between buildings currently being reconstructed, old fishing boats, rubble from quays destroyed by winter storms and new artistic houses with angles that defies gravity. Nyksund used to be thriving fishing community, but today it is home to many artists and there are several galleries there, as well as music festivals every year. It feels like a hipsters paradise in a way and it feels like walking back into history. Driving into the tiny little village is like driving back in time. It’s beautiful. 🙂

I’m usually more wordy than this, but today I thought the pictures said more than I ever could (despite being taken with an iPhone and not my DSLR that was accidentally left  in England for the summer.) Isn’t it beautiful, even on a gray day?

We’re off camping for a few days so I’ll talk to you soon! Xxx

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Europe, norway, Travel

The Magical Trollfjord and the Norwegian Coastal Express

The morning after our Harstad exploration we were up around 6.30am to get ready and eat some breakfast before our big day aboard the Hurtigruten ship MS Kong Harald.  Hurtigruten is a fleet of cruise ships that run up and down the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes and is considered a  historical staple of Norwegian infrastructure and culture, helping to bridge the distance between the north and the south.

When taking the southbound ship from Harstad to Svolvær it takes about 10 hours, with three stops in between – namely Risøyhamn, Sortland and Stokmarknes. Stokmarknes is considered the birthplace of Hurtigruten and when they stopped there we left the ship for a brief tour of the Hurtigruten Museum – home to the largest museum object in Norway: the 1956 MS Finnmarken Ship. The sailing itself was very much all about sitting on the viewing deck and watching the beautiful world go by, but once we were off the ship in Stokmarknes we received our dose of history and facts and fun exploring for the day. The ten hours stretched on and we were both grateful for a break from the slow rocking of the boat (which may or may not have lulled me to sleep a couple of times) 😛

One of the main reasons we went on this 10 hour cruise from Harstad to Svolvær was the Trollfjord – a fjord famous for it’s extremely narrow mouth and steep mountains like nothing we had ever seen.  Huddled outside on the deck we watched the steep mountain walls around us close in on the ship and it was breathtaking. The water around the ship was impossibly blue and it was a great experience. The fjord is part of the Lofoten and Vesterålen regions and is a spectacular sight, a must-see if you ever find yourself in the area!

Until tomorrow, lovelies! Xxx

Ps: We’re not even halfway through our Northern Norway mini adventure, but I’ve already started editing the video… Think this is going to be a good one!

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Europe, norway, Travel

Norway: Harstad in A Day

We´re back from our overnight trip to Harstad and having a bit of a rest day after a couple of long days full of activities. We are watching Frozen in bed and eating lasagna like it’s our job and relaxing as much as we can before we start another couple of hectic days of  our Northern Norway Mini Adventure 🙂

As I mentioned in a previous post we took the bus from Sortland to Harstad and arrived in Harstad early enough that while shops were open, the city was still quiet. Harstad is a city in Troms County and has about 25 000 inhabitants, making it bigger than Sortland, but still very small.  Wandering through the city there is a mix of quaint old houses and new more functional built ones which gives the city an eclectic feel. In between two concrete blocks there is a small shop window from the 1960s and many places street art by some of Norways finest street artist can be found. It’s an odd mix of times and cultures in many ways, but Harstad feels authentically quirky, not really a big city, not really a small town, but containing the best and the worst elements from both.

After exploring the city and enjoying a late lunch at the pizza lunch buffet at Egon Harstad (very reasonably priced at 108NOK per person, and if you think that’s unreasonable – everywhere else was more expensive) we headed out to the Trondenes Church. The church is a 20-30 minute walk from the city centre, but there is also a bus (number 12) if you’re not in the walking mood. The day was lovely however so we walked and was treated to some lovely views on our way.

Trondenes Church is the northernmost and oldest medieval church in Norway, dating back to the 1200s. During the day the church is open for visitors, but we got there too late and spent the evening wandering the church grounds instead. For me this was also a walk down memory lane as I used to live in Harstad as a child and have fond memories of the place. The area around the church was used as a prison camp for Soviet soldiers during WWII as well, and the remnants of the camp along with the war memorial were heartbreaking. During the war Hitler tried to build his Atlantic Wall along the Norwegian coast and the Nazis had a massive presence all over Norway, including Harstad. Due to the fortifications of one such post of the Atlantic wall there are several enormous cannons, aptly named the Hitler-Cannons, not too far away from the church. As we walked around the ruins of the prison camp, reading the information boards and seeing photos of the actual camp it hit us how many small battles were fought that the history books don’t talk about. The church and the visitors centre are well worth the visit if you’re in the region!

The walk back to the hotel we were staying at for the night, the Scandic Harstad, seemed longer than the walk there and we were two tired explorers that headed to bed early, getting ready for an early morning. Yesterday we took the 8.30 southbound Hurtigruten from Harstad to Svolvær and a post about that is coming tomorrow!

Goodnight, lovlies! Xxx

Europe, norway

Strandheia 647 MASL & Norwegian Hiking Culture

If there is one activity that is both cheap, offers amazing once in a lifetime views and that we have an abundance of where I’m from… it’s hiking. Vesterålen and Lofoten (regions sort of explained here. Keep in mind that a lot of the time people say Lofoten, when they actually mean Vesterålen. Tourists tend to merge them together because Lofoten is more famous.)  have been called the most beautiful archipelago in the world by both National Geographic and the Huffington Post among others. There are places to surf, places to cycle, places to fish and a lot of places to wander. On almost every mountain there are trails and many peaks has their own troll saga as its creation myth.

Norwegians, and Northern Norwegians in particular (more on this north/south divide in a later post), are notorious hikers and trekkers.  Spoiled for views as we are we don’t always hike for hours upon hours for the breathtaking views,  or the eerie quiet around you when you sit down at a mountain summit and can hear nothing but your own breath, a lonely bird tweeting and the wind…

No, we walk just to walk and hike to hike. We often do it purely for the exercise on trekkings routes we’ve already done time and time again.  Which is odd, considering how many beautiful trails and treks we have to choose from. That’s not to say we don’t post a photo on Instagram now and then if the view is particularly nice on said well-walked hiking route (example of this above haha), but the view is not the focus, completing the trip is. In a slightly meta way, the  walk itself is the aim of the walk.  If you’re in Norway doing a hike popular with tourists (like the Queens Route) you can easily tell the difference between a Norwegian and a foreigner. The Norwegian people power walk full steam ahead like race horses eager to get to the finish line, while everyone else actually enjoy the sights and take their time 😛

This whole post was intended  as a  brief account of our hiking trip up to Strandheia, 647 meters above sea level. Which at this point is probably worth mentioning that we did. Yesterday I made Kjære climb up a steep rocky mountain like some sort of Indiana Jones and I expect some of his muscles will ache tomorrow, but then again, so will mine.  By some miracle the weather is staying good, with sun and decent temperatures despite the weather forecast proclaiming otherwise and we took full advantage of that as we walked and bear-climbed our way to the top of a beautiful, beautiful mountain (view as seen above). Slight sidenote, while trying to figure out if “bear-climbed” is an actual way to describe someone climbing in English (it’s not) I found this video of actual bears rock climbing. You’re welcome.

By the time you read this Kjære and I will be on a bus from Sortland to Harstad for the day, then off with  a Hurtigruten AS ship to Svolvær at 08.30 tomorrow morning. When taking the ship from any northern stop south bound to Svolvær you get to see the magical Trollfjord up close and we can’t wait!

The Northern Norway Mini adventure continues! Xxx