Saturday, 22 August 2009

Northern Norway

We left the farm at Tromso a week later than we orignially planned, but even then it seemed a little too soon. Luckily we had a long journey South through some of the most amazing landscapes in the world. If you get 'scenery overload' by looking at the following photos then you will know exactly how we felt! We hugged the west coast of Norway for the first part of our southward journey and went quite far off the beaten track jumping between ferries and using the local (errrr infrequent) busses. Here are some photos of our trip.

Norwegian bus drivers are the nicest in the world! We hopped off a ferry and onto a bus and said to the driver that we'd like to get off at a nice camping spot. We were the only people on the bus so he just decided to give us a little tour, suggesting campsites along the way. We setted on this one overlooking the small fishing community of Husoy.

It was the perfect spot and even had ripe mountain cloudberries (delicious on their own but also VERY nice cooked in whisky with vanilla ice cream).

We watched harbour porpoises fishing in the still water.

And then watched the sun setting at about midnight.

And felt very small.

Are you getting scenery overload yet...

Packing up we wondered whether we would be able to find another camping spot this lovely... we needn't have worried... this is Norway!

So, one equally brilliant ferry followed by one equally lovely bus driver and we ended up camping here! People say it is expensive to travel in Norway but they are missing a trick when you can camp here for free. OK there was no shower... or toilet...but the sea was 18 degrees centigrade!

Neil trying to think of reasons why we should go home to britain and start looking for jobs...

We ended up having to hitch hike to leave this placebut nobody wanted to take us... this became a bit of a problem when we walked as far as the tunnel and got too scared to walk through it! They are very narrow, dark and long.

We took another beautiful ferry from the island of Senja to the Island of Andya. One of the symptoms of scenery overload is wearing shorts at 69 degrees North on the open sea.

While we were on the ferry the fog started to roll in...

... and stayed with is all evening. We put our tent up on a beach in the fog and when we woke we realised the beach was surrounded by beatiful high mountains (...SCENERY OVERLOAD!!)

This pointy rock is a huge puffin colony.

And kittiwakes nest on rooftops here! They deserved an ASBO for being so noisy.

...don't walk directly beneath here.

Andenes is a hotspot for whales watching because there is a deep water trench where the whales feed. It is mostly sperm whales like this one.

All the fishermen had been paid not to fish this summer because they were doing seismic testing for oil (boooooooooo) so we wondered what this boat was doing. It was a whaling ship. Whale meat is sold in most shops and eaten by most people... but much of it seems to go into burgers for tourists so they can say they have tried it. Needless to say we weren't tempted (puffin pizza might have been quite good though ;)). Funnily enough puffin was banned 10 years ago as a commercial product but whalbiff keeps on going because of the jobs at steak.

After a few more ferries, a few more busses (yes, all lovely drivers in stark contrast to Scotland), we ended up on the Lofoton Islands. This is Svolvaer, the largest port on the island.

It is a mecca for rock climbers who jump between two rock pillars on this cliff face high above the town.

The islands are geared towards fishing and many of the traditional fishermens houses with their huge triangular cod drying racks are still beign used in the same way today. There had just been a demonstation against oil drilling, which the Norwegian government has permitted quite close to the islands in the near future. The same week there was a large oil spill near Bergen and locals are rightly worried about their livelihoods. The area hosts one of the largest cod fisheries in Europe every winter and the marine life including killer whales is a big tourist attraction. Unfortunately we had to leave Lofoton before we had had a proper chance to explore. We had a 26hr train to catch....

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