Life, norway

Norway: Sunny Hiking and Deep Sea Fishing

Good afternoon ya’ll!

The last little  text post from our Northern Norway Mini Adventure is here!  I might do a Roundup post and I will of course be posting the Youtube Video I’m working on with clips from our trip, but other than that this little adventure is over for now. I might do a Norway Q&A at some point however if I get enough questions so if you have any please leave them in the comment section or tweet them at me!

Kjære met my family for the first time on this trip and towards the end of the trip he finally got to meet my Mamma. She made whale steak (a first for him the poor man haha) in a red wine sauce and yum! I’m not usually one for whale meat, but this was good! And Kjære approved too, which came as a surprise to both me and my Mum. He’s liked or approved of almost everything he has been introduced to, including Pinnekjøtt, which leads me to believe he will probably thrive in Sweden with Scandinavian cuisine 🙂

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We had a lovely night of introductions and over the next few days we spent time with some rabbits, some sheep, some ghosts in a 300 year old haunted shed/house and a lot of flies while hiking. We were determined to do another hike since the weather interfered with our plans earlier in the week and when the sun peaked out we put on our gear and started trekking up Øksnesheia, a 470 something meter high mountain-ish mountain. The heat took it’s toll, but the views from the top were spectacular.

We also went out fishing the very same day  and had a lot of fun wheeling in pollock after a pollock. Kjære even caught three decent sized cods in one go, proclaiming it “feels like a little one” when it was in fact three big ones that took us all by delightful surprise! I haven’t been deep sea fishing in years and I had forgotten how fun it was and how good the fish tastes when you’ve caught it yourself. We cooked some in the evening, but left gutting the rest of it (we caught quite a lot) for the next day. Gutting fish involves removing the head and the intestines which is not for people prone to gagging at disgusting things. I won’t go into more detail than I already have, but trust me when I say it’s not a pretty sight. The sunset we were treated to while fishing was however stunning beyond words.

We had a wonderful few days visiting my Mamma and I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday in my home region. Getting to spend time with loved ones and getting to see my country and my hometown through SwedCars eyes was also grand. It’s easy to stop appreciating the views and the food and the opportunities for activities we have when it’s so accessible. These two weeks have been just what I needed to get my spirits back up for this last month of work before uni starts again. Thank you to everyone that helped make it happen, but especially my Pappa, Mamma, Farmor and Kjære.

Next up on the blog is my to Paris in March 2015 and London in February 2015! 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

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